tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Feb 28 20:47:53 1994

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KBTP: Response, Jonah v2

>From: [email protected]
>Date: Mon, 28 Feb 94 23:59:07 EST

>Overall, ~mark has improved gargantually since his Jonah v1. As he admits, it
>is much more naturally and smoothly flowing.

Thank you!  It's in no small part due to comments like yours.

>I do have some comments, in addition to Nick's. I'll leave any grammatical
>mistakes to Krankor or yourself to find in a rereading or two. These are
>comments on stylistics, based on how well I thought your words flowed and how
>well I understood it.

Krankor won't be reading this, 'I'll wager, so I'll have to haul out my
fine-tooth comb.  I've no doubt there are some nasty grammarical booboos

>> =2=<<SuH yIHu'! *nInvey*Daq veng tInDaq yIghoS 'ej 'oHvaD yIjach
>> mIghtaH chaH 'e' vItu'pu'mo' jIH.>>
>Here your appositive is locative, the noun and its identifying appositive
>both tack on {-Daq}. They agree with each other. This also happens in Latin
>and maybe Greek (all free to correct me on that; I don't know Greek). But,
>anyways, without proof of appositives in Hol, I can't say I like it

Actually, even if you don't trust appositives, they make more sense if they
have "-Daq" on them; they're closer to seeming acceptable.  If you think
about it as though words with "-Daq" on them fill the "locative place" of
the sentence (Yes, Nick, some Lojbanic thought here), then flagging *two*
nouns with "-Daq" somehow crams both of them into that place.  It doesn't
necessarily imply that they're the same, but it does imply that they both
fill that place: go to Nineveh, go to the big city.  Appositives in subject
or object places don't have that to fall back on, since they could be in
noun-noun constructions or unmarked other places (like nouns of time), but
case-marked nouns can get away with it more.  That make any sense?

>At the end of this first line, you wrote {'oHvaD yIjach}. It sounds like he's
>speaking to the city. Why not say {nganDajvaD yIjach}. Oh, well.

Well, the text talks about crying out to the city, not its inhabitants, and
it makes sense anyway.  Metonymy is common in many languages.

>One thing about that second line, it is a quote which God tells Jonah what to
>say to the Ninevites. It translates "Tell them THAT I have observed their
>evil." However, (as Nick has also pointed out before) Klingon doesn't seem to
>have indirect quotes, and even if so, Okrand gives no word as to how to
>distinguish one from the other. In a direct quote, the speaker mimicks
>exactly what is being said. Since that second line is what God tells Jonah to
>say to the Ninevites, I'd have translated it as: {chaHvaD yIjach <<SumIghtaH
>tlhIH 'e' tu'pu'mo' joH'a'>>}. "Say to them, 'God has observed your evil.'"

Ah, but it doesn't say "Say unto them that God has observed your evil,"
neither in the original nor in my translation.  That wasn't what I was
trying for.  I was saying "cry out to them, for I have seen their evil";
i.e. I'm not saying what you should be crying out, but the reason you're
crying whatever it is is that I have seen their evil.  There are no quotes,
direct or indirect.  Hmmm... Upon reflection, maybe the Hebrew could be
read as an indirect quote, but it doesn't have to be, and I choose not to.

>> =5=Haj beq, 'ej joHpu'chajvaD jach Hoch,
>I see your using {Haj} instead of that awkward {ghIjlu'}. maj, qanaD.
>{joHpu'chajvaD jach Hoch} This is unusual. That {-chaj} on the object refers
>to the subject {Hoch}. We don't know what it refers to until we hear the
>subject. It's what one might call a reflexive possessive (which Klingon
>doesn't really have). You probably shouldn't use a possessive
>pronoun-suffix-type thing until you know what it is refering to. That's what
>an ANTECEDENT is, something that comes BEFORE the pronoun. Now, don't get
>into a frenzy. I know some languages do use some system of precedents, in
>which the pronoun comes before the noun to which it refers. But I'm not sure
>how these languages operate, and I don't think Klingon operates this way.

Oh, come, now.  Cataphora is not rare at all.  For its part, English uses
it a great deal (see?  "for its part"?  And "it" referred to English, even
though it preceded its antecedent.  "In his right hand, the seated figure
held a large pen." Does that sound alien?).  Especially for this sentence I
think it works even better, since the antecedent follows the pronoun so
immediately and you're not sitting there waiting for it until the end of
the sentence.  Longer separations make it harder, but when it comes right
after, you hardly notice the possewssive until you've already heard the

Actually, my problem with that word had to do with the fact that "Hoch" is
grammatically singular and also that it's a distributive possessive: each
man called out to his god.  Had I used "-Daj", though, it might have
sounded like they were all calling to one person's gods or something...
This seemed the safest course.

>This deserves a bit more discussion, imesho. If I think about it I'll write
>up something under a seperate subject for it later.

Make sure you remember how common cataphora is in familiar and unfamiliar
languages when you do...

>> chaq maHvaD belchoH joH, vaj maHeghbe'.>>
>Your using two verbs without any sort of subordinate clause marker or
>conjunction. {vaj} is not a conjuction, but an adverb. The English "so" often
>serves to connect two sentences. "I lost my helmet so I went searching for
>it." *{mIvwIj vIchIlpu' vaj vInejchoH} is illegit. It should use {-mo'} or

Hmm?  Oh, you think it's one sentence?  You know better than to trust
punctuation, it's there to make it easier for my English-reading eyes to
make sense of it.  Even as "yoH HoD 'e' vISov" is properly two sentences
with 'e' a pronoun referring back to the first (yoH HoD.  'e' vISov), and
we write it as one, this is also.  "chaq maHvaD belchoH joH.  vaj
maHeghbe'".  "Maybe God will be pleased for us.  Therefore, we won't die."
Pragmatics would bind these sentences together and make the "chaq" make
sense across both of them, but the grammar is okay.  I suppose something
like "'ej ghu'vetlhmo'" would work better for you, but I'm not sure it's
necessary in all cases.

>> 'ej nuq 'oH qorDu''a'lIj'e'?>>
>I've long wondered whether a family (or in this case, a qorDu''a'/tribe?)
>should be considered sentient or not. qorDu' is a collective unit of sentient
>beings. So, why not {qorDu'lI'}.
>This is a good time to express my opinion on what distinctions we should make
>with this sentient/nonsentient noun business. 1st, I doubt that talking
>computers would be called {De'wI'pu'}. Also, "my mute sister" probably would
>not come out as {be'nI'wIj} (unless of course I was prepared to get into fist
>fight with my mute sister over the derogatory reference.)
>I believe the original definition of 'sentient nouns' in Hol was any noun
>that refered to a Klingon. This definition held until Klingons came into
>contact with beings from other planets. Then it was necessary to alter it to
>fit any creature with which the Klingons had certain characteristics in
>common. Klingon grammarians probably chose "ability to use language" as an
>arbitrary indicator of what was sentient and what wasn't. And even this
>definition is vague. Would for example Klingons consider humpback whales
>sentient. I mean, they do have language. Even mongooses (mongeese?) have
>language, albeit one with a 30-word vocabulary. But they do communicate with
>each other. But refraining from any further philosophizing, I believe that
>the definition of what's sentient is not as rigidly defined as "something
>that can communicate to fellow members of its species."

My definition of "sentient" agrees pretty closely with yours.  Speaking
computers would be "De'wI'mey" if they were just PCs with speech-synthesis
chips, but I'd call artificially intelligent, self-willed machines
De'wI'pu' (and refer to them as chaH).  However, note that families aren't
sentient; it's the *people* who are.  A heuristic I like to use to put this
in perspective (just a heuristic to help my thought-processes, don't go
accusing me of making Klingon into English) is to consider what pronoun
we'd use in English for the word.  We in English have something very close
to the ghaH/'oH separation in everyday speech.  We generally use "it" for
animals even though they have a particular sex; we don't feel comfortable
"personalizing" the creatures by giving them "he" or "she" pronouns.  On
the flip side, we feel a great reluctance to use "it" for humans of unknown
sex (nobody says "Everyone is to bring its book") or for eunuchs (which are
arguably sexless) or for science-fiction/fantasy beings who have no sex.
We feel compelled to call them "he" or "she" or *something*, but not "it".
"It" is for objects, for the non-sentient.  Note, then, that in English, we
call a family "it".  "Her family is large, but not so large that she
doesn't know everyone in it."  Families don't interact as sentient
creatures, they don't have a culture as families: they have a culture as
aggregations of family members.  This one is arguable, I'll grant, but at
least in some cases, I think "-lIj" is appropriate for families.

>Also: What's wrong with {qorDu''a'lI' nuq}? We have undeniable evidence on CK
>that {nuq} can be used in this way, so why do some of us stubbornly stick to
>the unnecessarily verbose {nuq 'oH ...-'e'}?

Oh, I have no problem with qorDu''a'lIj nuq.  But it's the nature of
writing to vary styles here and there.  I sometimes like the verbose,
mouth-filling "nuq 'oH ...-'e'" construction, maybe to alternate with the
other.  Perhaps I used it too exclusively here, but I think it has its
place from time to time.

>> =16=vaj joH'a' luHajqu' loD, 'ej joH'a'vaD nob lumeQ, 'ej 'Ipmey 'Ip.
>Uh, oh. Here you've used {meQ} intransitively. However, I would wager that
>{meQ} is intransitive since it can be used adjectivally, as heard on CK in
>{Ha'DIbaHmey meQ}. I realize we still have no place to say whether SOME words
>can be adjectives (like {tlha'} or {ba'} for example), but we know {meQ} can
>be an adjective. However, due to some of the recent arguments over the
>adjectival use of {pegh}, an unquestionably transitive verb, I will not make
>any sort of stand as to whether you should have said {lumeQ} or {lumeQmoH}.
>Personally, I'd choose the latter, tho I don't know why. Just seems better to
>me, for some obscure reason.

Hmmm..  You have a good point here.  I think I should change this to
meQmoH.  The existence of the -moH suffix makes it hard for me to believe
that there are many Klingon verbs whose transitive and intransitive uses
have the same form.

>Your usage of {bIQ'a' Ha'DIbaH tIn} reminds me of C.K.Ogden's Basic English,
>which, like E-prime, is a modified form of English. It was designed to help
>foreigners with English's large vocabulary, which Basic English reduced to
>about 850 words. It was claimed that this could be just as expressive as the
>30,000 words commonly used by native speakers of English. Needless to say,
>Basic English was a total flop. Such words like "watermelon" would have to be
>described by such convoluted constructions as "a green, egg-shaped fruit with
>red stuff inside." But anyways, that's what "large oceanic animal" reminds me
>of. Of course, nothing against you, ~mark. It's an excellent use of the
>available resources, without any sort of word for "whale," or "shark," or
>anything that might live under the ocean and be large enough to swallow a man
>and then spit him up on the beach after 3 days.

Thanks!  Hey, I try the best with what I have.

>> 'ej qaStaHvIS wej jaj wej ram je bIQ'a' Ha'DIbaH burghDaq ghaHtaH *yona*.
>I don't think your using {jaj} quite correctly. {jaj} means the time period
>from one dawn to the next. {pem} is the word you're probably looking for.
>{qaStaHvIS wej pem wej ram je...}

You're absolutely right.  pem is *much* better.

>> 'ach chIrghlIj quv vInejqa'taH
>Whatever happened to the {-lI'} aspect marker. It's so rare on the list, for
>some reason. In this case, the searching is done with a known purpose in
>mind, so this is a good opportunity for the practically forgotten {-lI'}.

Hmm.  I didn't forget "-lI'", I actually try to use it.  I'm less convinced
about this than some of the other arguments I've been making against your
criticisms, but I think I like "-taH".  I don't intend to emphasize the
transitive, bounded nature of the searching.  It seemed to me that "looking
to your temple" (or looking for?  I may have wound up changing the verb a
bit) was more an end in itself than something to be done and it gets

>> =10='ach tlho' ghogh vIlo'taHvIS qatoy' jIH'e',
>Try the purpose clause marker here. It sounds better, indicating a more
>specific relationship between the two verbs.
>{'ach qatoy'meH ghogh tlho' vIlo' jIH'e'}

Yes, works much better.  You're right.

>>=11='ej bIQ'a' Ha'DIbaH ra' joH'a', vaj puHDaq *yona* SopHa'.
>Here's another case of that double-verb problem. {vaj} just is not a
>conjunction, sorry to say.

See above.

>>wej jaj poQ lengDaj.
>YES! Much better than the {wej jaj nI'..} construction of v1.

I sorta liked the first one, but it just didn't work generally enough, my
own feelings notwithstanding.  It was really an Esperantism.  

>In 1.13, 3.8, and 3.10, you used {chegh'egh}. Why? I think {chegh} by itself
>is more appropriate.

Iffy.  I've been using chegh'egh a while.  Again, it boils down to whether
or not "chegh" is transitive or intransitive.  If chegh means "to return
something", then we have to use "chegh'egh".  If checgh means "to come
back", then the transitive meaning is cheghmoH.  Anyone got a canonical use
of this verb?  Nothing springs to mind.

>These are just some suggestions, only my opinions. You'll never be able to
>make your translation perfect. You'll just have to make do with what you
>think is right for now. And maybe in a number of years, someone will call for
>a RAKV (Revised Authorized Klingon Version) Bible.

*smile*  That's the hope, I understand.  Thanks for your comments, I need
all the help I can get if I want to make this close to satisfactory at
least to my own standards.

>Guido#1, Leader of All Guidos


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