tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Dec 03 18:23:54 1993

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Re: HaghmoHwI'Hom vInIDqa'

batlh choja', Will Martin quv:
=> And finally, charghwI' came up with
=> {qechraj QaQ law' qechwIj QaQ puS 'e' teHchugh}
=> Hey, everything goes when the grammarians are away!! (Ooh, I just know
=> I'm gonna be in hot water when Qanqor returns)
=> charghwI', your sentence is WRONG!!!            There! I said it!! Ha!!


1, the grammarians are not away; Mark, at least, is definitely posting. 2...
Hm. I was reading my list printouts last night. Noone here is likely to
agree with me, but I miss Kloko. I found his contribution here much more
valuable than those here who took offence at his sarcasm. I also think
people overreacted by kicking him off the list for being abusive.

Nonetheless, Guido, do settle down. Klingonists may find it easy to get aggro
with each other, debating the black hole that is >tlhIngan Hol pab<, but
just because charghwI' made a mistake (in which I agree with you) is no
good reason to jump down his throat.

=> If your intent was to make {'e'} the subject of {teHchugh}, then
=> you are unfortunately mistaken. It's a somewhat obscure error.
=     If you think I was trying to make 'e' the subject, then YOU are wrong.
=It was the object. My sentence fragment plainly translates to "If it is true
=that your idea is better than my idea..." I could have stated an explicit
=pronoun for the subject, but that hardly seems necessary.

charghwI, you're transcribing your sentence from English word for word,
and it's highly unlikely that this will work for Klingon. First, I doubt
any grammarian would consider this "that"-clause a direct object, since
they wouldn't even consider "to be true" transitive. On a semantic level,
"that blah blah blah" is the first --- and only --- argument of the
predicate "to be true"; and you can't have an argument be an object, when
you don't have one being a subject. (*) Second, on a syntactic level, the
"it" in "it is true" is a dummy variable, and a trick peculiar to English
and a few other languages; it means nothing, and we have no reason to
suppose the mechanism would carry across in Klingon. The that-clause is
analysed typically as a sentential complement.

( (*) Blatant untruth, I admit. What I mean is, in most grammars, and, the
null hypothesis would go, in Klingon, if a verb has an object, it also
has a subject, present or implied; and I fail to see how "to be true"
can have two arguments. Lojban uses as its second argument "according to",
and one could argue this, but this is not the role chargwI' has posited
for teH's object, and in Klingon this would more likely be expressed
as -vaD: "This is true to me" --- "jIHvaD teH mu'tlhejvam".)

What you're really doing is making teH a copula. Just as we can say
loD moj puq, or petaQ ghaH DureS, you propose we can say 'e' teH mu'tlheghvam.
There's no semantic justification for this --- "to be true" is typically
analysed as a one-place predicate, like most adjective-based copulae
(compare: *Dochvam SuD HuDvam, where SuD has as much call to have two
arguments as teH). There's no syntactic justification... TKD says
"true, to be true"; if this odd behaviour were possible, where teH meant
both "is true" and "is", it should have been flagged; and I doubt there's
any crosslinguistic justification: can anyone name a language in which
"is true" behaves in this fashion?

charghwI' is not... wrong per se. Anything is theoretically possible in
Klingon, I suppose, and with the absence of sentential subjects, there
may have been functional pressure on "'e'" to fake this role. But far
from being the obvious means of expression he seems to think it is, this
means of expression is actually quite deviant, and the onus would be
on him to justify it. I, for one, find 'e' teH 'oH hard to justify; I'd
be interested to see what Qanqor says, chegh'eghDI' (if anyone's noticed,
that chegh'egh is a Lojbanism: I reason that you return things, or
return yourself).

"Relax." -- "yIleS." [Three seconds pause.] "Stop Relaxing!" -- "yIleSHa'!"
                                  --- the Conversational Klingon tape.
   Nick "I am not a Klingon. Much." Nicholas.
nIchyon jIH. nIchyon SoHbe'. nIchyon ghaHbe'. nIchyon tlhIHbe'. nIchyon jIHqu'.

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