tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Mar 03 06:06:09 1994

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this 'n' that

Some quick odds and ends:

>>     It is probably not a grammatical requirement, but I find it much easier
>>to read such complex sentences if the dependent clauses preceed the main
>>clause, unless they are grammatically linked to the subject (like a relative
>>clause attached to the subject). It more readily disambiguates whether a noun
>>is the subject of one clause or the object of another, and as I go left to
>>right, the verb suffixes let me know where all the pieces fit. I could read
>>your original sentence, but it took some unscrambling before I could do it.
>>If I had heard it instead of read it, I would not have the option of that
>>kind of unscrambling without a significant pause.
>>     It is probably just a matter of style. Do others agree? Am I strange in
>>this preference?

>No, you are NOT the only person like that... Anytime someone puts a subordinate
>clause AFTER the main clause, I go "huh?"... until I relaize just what they 
>were doing.  Unfortunately, the KD distictly says that a subordinate clause 
>(except for those using -meH) can go either place.  (p. 62)
>--HoD trI'Qal
>  tlhwD lIy So'

I would emphasize strongly that both ways are legal, and indeed,
neither has inherent stylistic merit above the other.  I can
understand that one may be easier for an English speaker to
understand, but that's no reason for people to change their styles.
It is incumbent on one to learn to understand it either way.

>>For "revenge is a dish best served cold":
>>bortaS jabnISlu'chugh, nay' bIrjaj.
>>I assume I have done "-jaj inversion" correctly here?

>>-QumpIn 'avrIn

>Um, we really don't have any evidence for a global "-jaj inversion."  I
>think our esteemed Krankor, author of the article which discussed it, would
>be the first to admit that these inversions represent old, fossilized
>forms, and for newly-coined usages of "-jaj", there is no evidence that
>they should be be reversed.  In fact, he *does* say so (HolQeD 2:4, p.7: "I
>say the rule [of -jaj inversion] 'can be applied' to all given -jaj
>sentences.  That is not the same as 'must be applied.'... No, the
>implication is that this is a special rule for specific, ritualized
>utterances."  So far as Okrand told us about the use of "-jaj", aside from
>toasts which are specifically flagged as unusual in the tape, there is
>nothing special about -jaj that makes you have to reverse word-order.  So
>for sentences you coin, unless Okrand tells us different, leave the
>word-order alone.


Somewhat ironically, I'm going to come out on 'avrIn's side here.
Sort of.  With a whopping big caveat.

Everything mark says here is absolutely true, and there is normally
no special rule for -jaj.  However:  One could claim that a this
particular saying about revenge indeed *is* an old, fossilized
utterance.  Someone help me out here:  Isn't the saying (in the
English version) quoted in one of the strek movies (by Spock, maybe?)
and referred to as an "old Klingon proverb"?  Well, if it's old,
then one could argue it might use the archaic -jaj rule, and I could
see how someone might want to do that, just for fun.  However:


If you're going to invert things on that basis, it behooves you to
tag it for us explicitly, so we'll know that that's what you're up
to-- since the inversion is certainly not the normal rule.

Of course, on the other hand, if we're claiming it's old and
fossilized, why not use the canonical version (given in TKD).  I
admit that I never liked the translation much, and I can see someone
wanting to try it another way, but I suppose it's rather hard to
simultaneously offer a fresh approach AND claim it's an ancient
classic. {{:-)

>I don't have my dictionary with me, but wouldn't a good Klingon
>insult be something to the effect of "Tribbles like you"? :-)
>Rob Lent

Hey, I like that!  nIparHa' yIH!


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