tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Apr 26 08:58:00 1999

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

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

Re: Recast (Was: Clause ordering)

ghItlh juDmoS:
> {Hung SuqmeH thlab jeghqangDI' vay' Hung tlhab chaq ghajlaHbe'}
> "If someone is willing to sacrafice freedom for security, he can have
> neither."
>  [snip] 
> ...but would'nt you need a pronomial prefix on ghajlaHbe' to identify
> the subject? Should'nt the use of vay' be here? As in :
> Hung SuqmeH tlhab jeghqangDI' Hung tlhab chaq ghajlaHbe' vay' ??
: As I understand tlhIngan Hol, both positions are valid. Probably
: the best way to indicate the subject would be to use {vay'} in the
: {-DI'} clause and {vay'vam} "this somebody" as the subject of the
: whole sentence, thereby showing your speaking of the same person.
: (You'll have to ask the grammarians on this.)

Though I'm not a Grammarian, here are my {cha' DarSeq}:

{vay'vam} is unnecessary, not to mention ugly.  So long as there is only one
person (or possible subject) referred to IN THE SENTENCE, the 3rd person
subject of the second verb {ghaj} can only be the same subject as the first
verb {jegh}, so there is no need to repeat it.  Don't make things more
complicated than they need to be.  Who else could the second verb refer to,
unless you've been talking about several different people?  

Stylistically, I prefer juDmoS' first variant, with {vay'} at the end of the
first clause, even though dependent, but both are grammatical and
understandable to the careful reader/listener.  If you really want to stress
that {vay'} is the subject of your complex sentence, or you're afraid a
careless reader/listener will lose track of it over several clauses, tag it
with {-'e'} *not* {-vam}.

However, juDmoS has a bigger problem:  So far as we know, {jegh}
"surrender" is
not transitive in Klingon; that is, it doesn't take an object, so *{tlhab
isn't possible.  Just because "surrender" can take an object in English,
does'nt mean it can in Klingon.  Transitivity issues are one of our biggest
problems with the language, not having real native speakers to ask.  Okrand
discussed {jegh} briefly in TKW (p. 89): 

 In Klingon, the word for "surrender," {jegh}, also can be translated as 
 "give up," in the sense of abandoning a project.

This isn't much help, since "give up" and "abandon" can also take objects in
English in certain contexts.  When Okrand's explanations are vague, we then
have to see how he has actually used the word:

 bIjeghbe'chugh vaj bIHegh 
 Surrender or die! TKD 

 jeghbe' tlhInganpu' 
 Klingons do not surrender. TKW 

 paghlogh jegh tlhIngan SuvwI' 
 a Klingon warrior surrenders zero times. (sic) KGT

 not jegh tlhIngan SuvwI' 
 a Klingon warrior never surrenders. KGT

 jIjegh ghe'torvo' narghDI' qa'pu' 
 I will surrender when spirits escape from Gre'thor. KGT

Intransitive every time.  Sometimes we just can't tell from the one or
gloss in TKD or KGT, and many words have never been used in context by Okrand
in canon, so we're still unsure about them.  {jegh} does not seem to be one of
these, however.

So how do we render the thought?  Try {mech} "trade" - which has never been
used in canon so here too we don't know if it can take an object - or, even
better, {tam} "substitute, exchange", which has also appeared in context with

 boq lucherDI' tlhIngan wo' romuluS Hov wo' je So'wI' cham Suqpu' tlhIngan 
 wo'. chaq tampu'. chaq romuluSnganpu'vaD pIvghor cham lunobpu' tlhInganpu'. 
 Cloaking technology was gained through an alliance with the Romulan Star
 Empire, possibly in exchange for Warp Drive technology. (SkyBox S33)

Also consider {lon} "abandon", which we know does take an object in Klingon:

 may'Daq jaHDI' SuvwI' juppu'Daj lonbe' 
 When a warrior goes to a battle, he does not abandon his friends. TKW

Although not as vivid as "surrender", I think "abandoning one's freedom" is
still good Klingon imagery.  

(BTW in this last example, notice how Okrand put the subject {SuvwI'} at the
end of the first dependent clause - for clarity - and didn't feel the need to
repeat it after {lonbe'}.)

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

Back to archive top level