tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Oct 21 07:31:00 1993

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Punctuation revisited

>From: j.guy@trl.OZ.AU (Jacques Guy)
>Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 10:21:21 +1000 (EST)

>> blanks.  Just as we go easy on ourselves (or Okrand goes easy on us) by
>> writing the transcription in Roman characters from left to right, we (and
>> he) go easy on us by putting in spaces.
>Objection, Your Honour! If we really wanted to go easy on our
>weak selves, we'd do away with the need to hit that <Shift> key
>one googol times per blue moon. And we could even write like
>true Klingons: one letter per phoneme, not two, not (*RSI*) three!

Probably, but there are other considerations.  Okrand chose to have mercy
on non-linguists by making those digraphs rather than expecting folks to
remember to pronounce "f" as "ng" or something, and used capitals all over
the place for... reasons of his own.  Were these things good moves?  Maybe
not.  I certainly could have lived with a few fewer capitals.  Still, the
danger in changing them is the possibility that new recruits will be unable
to follow the text we use.  Okrand's standard is published and well-known,
and new speakers will know it, whether or not they, or we, like it.  Any
change we make won't have that advantage.  Punctuation, though, while it is
a deviation from the text we have, would not confuse any new recruit who is
familiar with English punctuation (and let's face it, we're not trying to
convert the world like some conlangs.  I doubt if TKD has been translated
into anything).  In fact, I don't recall that there was ever a decision to
use punctuation here.  It was just something people did unconsciously, and
I never noticed that the canon didn't use punctuation until someone pointed
it out just recently.  I suppose in that sense it can claim that nobody
objected, which I'll grant is a pretty weak claim.


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