tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 08 11:47:59 1993
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Re: You Body-part You!
Doch tlha' jatlh nichyon:
: One thing you learn in pragmatics; languages have impressive taxonomies,
: much more so than our -mey/-Du'/-pu', but they really come into their own
: when people toy with them to get an effect. Thus Australian Aboriginal
: languages have lots of different kinship terms, depending not only on
: how you're related to the referent, but also on the addressee: you use
: a different term for "my mother" if speaking to your dad, or your kid. What
: intrigues me is that you can use the seemingly wrong term to get an effect
: --- to be impolite, friendly, deferential, whatever.
This is very similar to the honorific language in Japanese: depending on the
honor level of the referent, one choose a polite, humble, or honorific verb,
and depending on the honor level of the addressee, one chooses a way to
conjugate that verb (as well as pronouns and other stuff).
: (If anyone says "I doubt we will learn anything about Klingon from Australian
: Aboriginal languages", I'm going to pick up those "loS betleH jej" I mentioned
: in my Klingon 12 Days of Xmas, and... whatever.)
'ej 'e' Data'chugh, retlhlijDaq cha'Dichli' jiH. 'iwlij jachjaj. ;>
: Anyway, it seems a worthwhile pursuit to me to consider such effects in
: Klingon. What would it mean if, in a fit of anger not unlike one I had
: earlier today, I called people "nuvDu'"? Would it mean "you tools!", since
: nothing is less independent and free-willed than a body part? Or would it
: be a term of endearment, since nothing is as dear to one as one's body
: parts? (Thus the Greek salutation: "Welcome, my eyes twain!" --- meaning
: "Hullo there!") Anyone?
Hmmm....perhaps we could insult people by calling them >nuvmey<, or indeed by
using >mey< on _any_ language-users that come up in the conversation, since
using the non-sentient possessive suffixes insults the _addressee_ (or perhaps
the possessed), not the possessor (>joHwij< insults my interlocutor (or perhaps
my lord (!)), not me). >mujang vay' neH'a'?<
: "Relax." -- "yIleS." [Three seconds pause.] "Stop Relaxing!" -- "yIleSHa'!"
: --- the Conversational Klingon tape.
: Nick "I am not a Klingon. Much." Nicholas. email@example.com
: nIchyon jIH. nIchyon SoHbe'. nIchyon ghaHbe'. nIchyon tlhIHbe'. nIchyon jIHqu'.
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