[tlhIngan Hol] some thoughts about canonicity

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Sun Jun 26 13:02:32 PDT 2022

On 6/26/2022 2:00 AM, De'vID wrote:
> When the first edition of the paq'batlh came out, two points would 
> often come up when something from it was cited as evidence for or 
> against a particular opinion. The first was that it had questionable 
> "canon" status because it wasn't "purely" from Dr. Okrand, due to 
> lines having been changed on the advice of KLI members.

I believe the concern wasn't that it was changed on advice; the concern 
was whether Okrand reviewed those changes or just accepted them. The 
editorial process wasn't transparent. It has since become clear that 
Okrand was paying close attention.

> The second was that it was poetry (being something like the text of an 
> opera) and not prose, and it wasn't always clear whether a grammatical 
> construct or particular phrasing was standard or poetic.

That remains a true point, though it's not as black and white as some 
make it out sometimes. Poetry isn't completely ungrammatical and 
chaotic; it just sometimes uses otherwise ungrammatical or at least 
uncommon grammar for the sake of art. It's fine to point to something in 
/paq'batlh/ as evidence for a particular grammatical claim, but if 
that's the only evidence it should be accompanied by the caveat that 
it's poetry and might conceivably be nonstandard.

> I think neither has really changed with the 2ed.

I think the thing that has changed is that you've shown us the process 
that Okrand is using to revise it, and we can see that he is considering 
it very carefully.

> I know that the original edition of the paq'batlh was revised during 
> two qep'a' based on comments from members of the KLI. I don't know 
> whether the contribution was evenly distributed or heavily weighted 
> towards one or a few people. (Maybe someone who took part can comment 
> on this.) But for the 2nd edition, I have definitely had much more 
> input into the Klingon text than anyone other than Dr. Okrand. Maybe 
> in some people's minds that makes its "canon" status more questionable.

I, for one, don't. It was never the editor; it was whether Okrand 
knowingly accepted the grammatical implications of his text as edited by 
someone else. That's not to say I consider him incapable of overlooking 
an error or grammatical consequence introduced by someone else, just 
that it's as "canonical" as anything else.

> If anyone wants him to clarify anything, it would be really helpful if 
> you do the background research for him first.

It often happens that someone asking him for a clarification asks their 
question in a way that suggests an answer. Presenting the whole picture 
as you do is the best approach to get an informed answer.

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