tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Mar 08 03:45:20 1994

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Re: Noun-Noun Construction

>> NO no no no no no no no no!!! If you use {HeghmoH} as an adjective, it's
>> ambiguous. {tar HeghmoH} does NOT mean "fatal poison," it means "He/She
>> causes the poison to die" which is a fatal thing to say to a Klingon.
>> Unless of course you wished to complement him/her on his/her great
>> tolerance to some ingested toxin.
>> {tar tlhutlh rIntaH ghaH 'ej ghaH HeghmoHbe' 'oH
>> 'oH HeghmoHqu' ghaH}
>> Guido#1, Leader of All Guidos
>     I can see that this is ambiguous if you were simply presented >with a
>sentence fragment. In context, it would not be so ambiguous:
>               tar HeghmoH tlhutlhpu' ghaH
>     Meanwhile, your interpretation of HeghmoH ignores the entry in >the
>list in TKD. In particular, I find it interesting that {-moH} is commonly
>used to change an intransitive verb into a transitive one, but in this
>the definition in TKD has {Hegh} as intransitive and {HeghmoH} >ALSO
>intransitive. You are interpreting {HeghmoH} to be a synonym for >{HoH}, and
>while you got there through a logical use of the suffix meanings, you >don't
>have much of a case, since {HeghmoH} does not mean "kill". It >means "be
>fatal", and in the English-Klingon side, it says "fatal, be fatal", which
>fits the pattern of "adjective, verb" definitions described on the clear
>surprisingly controversial passage in the word list introduction on >pages

*Sigh*.. I posted about this before, but obviously you weren't paying very
good attention, young man! I'll repeat:
Okrand did _*<NOT  DEFINE>*_ any word in TKD. You can't use one language to
DEFINE the words of another. It simply doesn't work that way. All you can do
is list whatever word in xenotongue and give that word's most accurate
English *synonym*. Sometimes it takes several English words to carry across
the general jist of a certain word. The German word "lustig" has no real
English equivalent; it is best to describe it as close to "happy, merry,
funny, etc." Similarly, English words cannot be defined by the words of any
other language. It is silly to think that languages work like that-- as silly
as it is to think that X number of words in an English sentence must
correspond to X number of words in the same sentence in another language.

Just because TKD says {HeghmoH} means "be fatal," we shouldn't conclude that
they have exactly the same grammatical characteristics. A more accurate
translation would be "be fatal to [someone]," as in {Do' yIH HeghmoH Hapvam},
"Fortunately, this stuff is fatal to tribbles." Tell me who in their right
mind would interpret this sentence as "This matter/stuff of the fatal tribble
is fortunate."? 

Secondly: Contrary to what many people would like to believe, pgs. 78-79
don't say anything about which Klingon verbs can be used adjectivally. Thus
quoth TKD: "For example, English adjectives (e.g., /bold/) correspond to
Klingon verbs, most accurately translated using the English verb /to be/
(e.g., /be bold/).All such words are entered [notice- he wrote 'entered' and
not 'defined'] with the adjective first, followed by the accurate translation
[which is not the same as a 'definition'] (e.g., /bold, be bold/)." All he
says is "English adjectives correspond to Klingon verbs..." It does NOT say
*"Klingon verbs with /be/ in their definition correspond to English

>     I think there is a pretty strong case for using it adjectivally, so
>as it is used without the Type 5 noun suffix.

Since when do we consider something an adjectival only if it tacks on a type
5 suffix. Sure, if you do that, the fact that it is an adjectival will be
unquestionable, but we shouldn't say "Now remember, we think that {HeghmoH}
might be used as an adjectival, but if you use it that way, be sure to tack
on some type 5 suffix, so we know that's how you're using it." NO! My
assumption is that if you have to add some petty marker to clarify that it's
an adjective, then it might as well not even be an adjective.

Elsewhere in TKD, and on the tapes, there is the strong implication that the
only suffixes that can be tacked onto adjectivals are rovers like {-qu'} or
{-be'} or {-Ha'} (tho probably not {-Qo'}, mainly for semantic reasons, tho
the case is easily debated).

Guido#1, Leader of All Guidos

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