tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Dec 02 07:10:59 1993

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Re: HaghmoHwI'Hom vInIDqa', and a J'accuse at Okrand



batlh Duja' DSTRADER@delphi.com:

={chalHa'DIbaH wamghachvaD Ha'DIbaH..} comes out much clearer as
={chalHa'DIbaH wammeH Ha'DIbaH} "The animal for hunting birds".
=After all, that's what {-meH} is for, qar'a'?

True, though just to be on the safe side, I'd say wamlu'meH. People don't
keep an animal so that it may hunt, but so that they may hunt with it. But
this is pedantry.

=You used {qaStaHnIS} twice in your revised joke. How could you do that??
=The n isn't even next to v on the keyboard. There's a big fat b in between.

As a prodigous typo-ist and misrememberer of Klingonalia (I've been 
consistently using va' for va, ta' for tay', and Du- for mu), I'm not too
sure I like the tone of this ;)

=This is quite a coincidental typo. Anyways I am glad to see that you did
=_*NOT*_ write {jajDaq}! Let's get it straight, people- {-Daq} is LOCATIVE,
=okay. It's spacial. Let's make sure we follow qoran's example, okay?
=Thank ewe!

Such an... expansive way of putting it. In any case, this is old hat; the
"qaStaHvIS wa' ram" example from the TKD cheat sheet was discussed here
a while back; this is hardly qoran's example.

=I did see {jaj tlha'} for "day which follows". I'm not sure. But Okrand
=gives no real specific rules for which verbs can be used adjectivially.
=This is imesho a borderline case and I won't argue about it.

Unless I see a rule to the contrary, any stem verb looks like fair game
as an adjective to me; admittedly, the resulting ambiguities do discourage
extensive use of them.

=I also saw {wamwI'pu' latlh} for "other hunters". {latlh} is listed as
=a noun in TKD, but I've seen it more and more turn up as an adjectivial.
=The same for {Hoch}. It's most likely in my opinion that these are correct
=usages, because TKD is admittedly insufficient on such information.

I would side with Mark in favouring a *very* loose interpretation of noun-noun
compounding (which, after all, is characteristic of such compounding in
most languages), under which there is nothing implausible in interpreting
Hoch and latlh as nouns. I thus used "wanI'vam latlh" for "anything but
this" in my _Much Ado_: "the this-event's different-one". Flexibility in
semantic interpretation, rather than in part of speech assignment, is the
key. This is why extensive use of direct objects in Klingon makes sense,
where languages like English favour indirect objects: when preposition
equivalents are so cumbersome, few, and vague, it makes sense to compact
as many predicates as possible in such a way that their second argument
will be a direct object, rather than anything else. I think this widespread
use of direct objects in both Klingon and Esperanto is no accident, and a
functionalist account of this phenomenon would prove quite useful. In
fact, a functionalist cross-linguistic survey would really illuminate our
understanding of Klingon.

This in fact reminds me of the Beesely-Yampell kerfuffle on transitivity
earlier this year. On the one hand, the latter's refusal to accept that
there might be a point to analysing Klingon in transitivity struck me
then, and still strikes me, as exasperating and belligerent. To my
embarrassment though, his conclusions were absolutely correct: there's
nothing to say that Klingon might not fuzz over the distinctions English
makes between direct and indirect object: "qanob" was proof of this,
as are the ditransitive verbs of speaking, and much usage here. Nothing
in the TKD says verbs can't take direct objects when they make sense,
and unless Okrand comes up with an edict (may he never!), nothing should
stop us from exploiting this. In this case, the transitive/intransitive
dichotomy would be much fuzzier than it is in English, but even in English
it is fuzzy enough.

=Now, as to how you might say "if your idea is better than my idea"...
=It's perfectly easy to translate this if not for that aggrivating
=little "if". The main problem of sticking {-chugh} into
={qechraj QaQ law' qechwIj QaQ puS} is that there is no real verb to
=stick it onto. 

Oh? If Okrand can see fit to translate "A Q law' B Q puS" as "A's Q is many,
B's Q is few", I could thing of more audacious coinages than "If A's Q is
many, if B's Q is few" = "A Q law'chugh B Q puSchugh"

=We still don't have a way around THIS, but I'm sure we will eventually
=if Okrand keeps up the good work and doesn't slack off or lose interest
=altogether.

Okrand. Ha. You know, I was looking through a bibliography of SE Asian
linguistics (for my research assistant job) yesterday, and fell across
Okrand's name in a 1974 article (some historical reconstruction stuff); I 
felt like throwing the book across the room. I know it is unreasonable of me 
to be pissed off at him; when he got called to make up Klingon, he was under 
no obligation to sign his life away. 

But it has always been the case that if someone releases
an artificial language to the public, they are also the language's biggest
afficionado. If Okrand followed precedent, he would be *running* the KLI,
or, at least, *he* would be writing grammar articles in HolQeD, rather
than us getting second-hand exegesis from Qanqor (Qanqor vIquvHa'moH 'e'
vIHechbe'; 'ach ghu''e' vIHechbogh Sovba' Qanqor: Hol 'ongwI' ja'ghach
potlh law', Hol 'ongwI' ghojwI' ja'ghach potlh puS.) Instead, for over
a year, he's deigned say nothing official to this community but a brief
letter of salutation perpetuating this infernal "I only interviewed
Maltz, I dunno much about Hol" conceit, and we've had to make do with
crumbs of information relayed to us by a chosen few. Eli's much vaunted 
mission to ask Okrand similarly came to naught, and we were never told
what became of it. 

As far as we can
tell, he doesn't seem fanatical about the language. That's bad enough.
But that those who *are* should wait on his (who isn't) word on what
to do with the language is intolerable. Why still wait for Okrand? Are
we to use Klingon, and find mechanisms like "qaStaHvIS" and "lo'taHvIS"
and exploit them and have them take root, only to be told tomorrow that,
lo and behold, Klingon has an instrumental or a temporal conjunction after
all? Do we need to wait any more? I say no. If Klingon's grammatical
machinery seems impoverished to us, then the onus is on us to express
ourselves in such a way that it not be constrictive. There are many
languages on this planet with a much more "impoverished" grammar, that
hobble along just fine. There are still
real gaps in Klingon grammar; but having knuckled down and tried to
use it, I doubt they're as many as many of us (including me) have complained.

If Klingon is to prosper, the only honourable thing for Okrand to do is
to sign over the right to extend the language to the KLI --- which is
the only body fit for the task, which is the only body which knows what
the community of speakers wants, while at the same time continuing to show
the responsible conservatism it has and ensuring that any extension to the 
language
is prudent and nondestructive. Only an actively participating body like
the KLI can monitor usage and responsibly extend vocabulary (hopefully,
mostly by compounding rather than new stems --- Klingon must have its
_Fundamento_ intact as much as possible.) Someone removed from the
community, even if the 'ongneSwI', is not going to serve it best.

It has to be so, if Klingon is to sustain a speech community. Only public
domain languages become used languages. If it does not happen,
if it is to remain a plaything, then any work being done on the language
is for nought; ever fearful of Okrand's next imprimatur, we'll continue
being unable to say anything about Klingon with certainty. Which cannot
make for a usable language. And that's what we must ask ourselves. Do we
want a language we can use? Or a linguistic plaything, subject to further
reports from Starfleet (when they come), which could annul most of what
we've done with it?

(And a PS. In Esperanto, we have good reason to be fearful of the _lingvopapo_,
the language pope (which sounds suspiciously like _pabpo'_). I'm not going
out of my way to annoy Qanqor, but I firmly believe that, if the KLI were
to receive such a responsibility, I would not want it entrusted to one
person. Languages cannot be entrusted to one person. Not worthwhile ones.)

Anyways, that's food for thought. I think it's about time that a debate
on what we want for Klingon took place --- we've got to know if there's 
going to be any point to a Klingon literature, and projects like the Bible
translation are a huge investment of time, that no participant will want to
see go to waste because the language gets stifled or dries up. Also note
that, in a big way, published Klingon texts like the Bible and Shakespeare
will in their own right set expressional and grammatical norms for the 
language, and as such will undermine or supplant a lot of the authority
Okrand or pabpo'pu' currently have. I'm somewhat wary that some here
might take offense, 'ach jIqoy'qangbe'.

Savan.

-- 
 @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
   Nick Nicholas. Melbourne University, Australia.    nsn@krang.vis.mu.oz.au
                                    ---
"Some of the English might say that the Irish orthography is very Irish.
Personally, I have a lot of respect for a people who can create something so
grotesque."
-- Andrew Rosta <ucleaar@UCL.AC.UK>, <9307262008.AA95951@link-1.ts.bcc.ac.uk>



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