tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Mar 03 05:52:13 1994

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

No Subject


>ghItlh Qanqor:
>> HIq jab'a' Qe'vetlh 'e' vISovchu'be'
>> I submit that, after smoothing, it comes out as:
>> "I'm not sure if that restaurant serves liquor."
>> Mow I am *HARDLY* claiming that somehow the -'a' suffix suddenly
>> means "if".  This is just smoothing.
>We know, Krankor. But what you ARE implying is that the interrogative suffix
>used in this manner is equivalent to our "whether," which is quite ingenious
>of you, I might add.
>"I don't know *if/whether* that restaurant serves liquor."

Well, it depends on how you mean "equivalent".  I am not in any way
changing or extending the meaning of the -'a' suffix.  I am using it
to ask a question, just like normal.  But it is question that I'm
throwing up as a lob so that I can grab it with 'e', in the usual
fashion.  On any other 'e' sentence pair (and again, remember that
'sentences' which use 'e' are really two sentences), the first
sentence is really just thrown up as a lob so you can make your
point about it in the second.  So, when we say:

tlhIngan Hol wIjatlh 'e' lumuS  "They hate our speaking Klingon"
                                "They hate it that we speak Klingon"

*really*, we're saying:

tlhIngan Hol wIjatlh 'e' lumuS  "We speak Klingon.  They hate that."

But clearly the *only* reason we are saying the first sentence is so
that we can talk about it in the second.  There is no reason this
should be any different if the first sentence is a question.  It is
a real, live question in Klingon, but it's just a setup for the
second sentence.

So, in short, the overall meaning of the technique yields something
akin to "whether" in English, but this is not the same as saying
that the -'a' suffix takes on the meaning of "whether".

>Kevin responds:
>	My original post on this subject argued that most phrases that
>would involve a relative pronoun in English (except for "which") are
>best translated by rewording.  Since I am still not convinced that
>question words lose their interrogative character during smoothing, I
>would translate it as follows:
>yuchlIj Daq vISovbe'
>This formulation needs no relative pronoun or the 'e' pronoun.  I would
>rather use a sentence which we know will definitely work than one whose
>syntax is questionable (no pun intended).

The syntax is not questionable.  It follows every rule in the book.
The only requirement for the antecedant of 'e' is that it be a
sentence.  A question *is* a sentence.  We might argue about
meanings, but if you are going to claim it is unsyntactic, then show
me a rule which it violates.

And again, I am NOT promulgating this technique as necessarily the
best.  In particular, yuchlIj Daq vISovbe' is perfectly fine and I
have no problem with it.  A language is only enriched when there is
more than one way to say a thing.


Back to archive top level