tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Feb 05 09:42:38 1999

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Re: Klingon pleasantries

On Thu, 4 Feb 1999 18:25:38 -0800 (PST) David Trimboli 
<> wrote:
> Now, I could live with this, if it weren't for the fact that we've got a TON
> of sentences from Okrand which blatantly ignore this rule, yet came along
> LONG before it.  Perhaps Voragh will be interested in listing them.  (Okay,
> I admit: I don't know if it's a ton.  But I get the impression there's quite
> a bit. 

I think this is worth some research. I don't think there are 
that many examples that are relavent.

> The one I think of readily is {naDevvo' vaS'a'Daq majaHlaH'a'?} "Can
> we get to the Great Hall from here?" [Power Klingon]  According to the new
> rule, this should mean "Can we go in the Great Hall from here? [Can we be in
> the Great Hall and go, from here?]")

You may very well be completely accurate here and the sentence 
may be right. The {naDevvo'} likely makes this grammatically 
different from the same sentence without {naDevvo'}. It is clear 
when you have {X-vo' Y-Daq} that you are implying motion from X 
to Y. Two locations and a direction between them. Something 
happens in that space. What is it? {majaH}. That pair changes 
the nature of the locative. You are no longer talking about 
{naDev} or {vaS'a'}. You are talking about the space between 
those points, including a time reference where {naDev} is 
earlier than {vaS'a'}. It is a vector. The action occurs in that 

There may be other examples where the {-Daq} is the destination 
of a verb like {leng} or {jaH} and the verb is "improperly" used 
intransitively, but I don't think this one counts.
> So, when we see another example like {ghorgh pa'wIjDaq jIchegh} "When can I
> return to my room?" from Conversational Klingon, I can only assume that
> {chegh} is one of those motion verbs, and as such includes the locative
> concept in its meaning. 

In the interview, Okrand did not say that {chegh} was like 
{ghoS} and the others. He explicitly said in the interview that 
the best way to learn about how verbs in general are used is 
through observing usage. He did not want to give anyone the 
license you now seek to grab a rule and tell HIM when it 
applies. In this case, I think he is right and you are wrong.

Note that I do not always think Okrand is right. I tend to be 
one of the first people to point out his mistakes when I find 
them. This time, I don't think he is mistaken. This time, I 
think you ARE mistaken. I don't think {chegh} belongs to this 
set of verbs. Why?

{ghoS} refers to motion along a path.
{jaH} refers to motion along a path.
{leng} refers to motion, sometimes along a path, sometimes 
aimless. It behaves like {ghoS} and {jaH} only when it implies a 
path towards a goal. Note that {jaH} and {ghoS} also can be used 
intransitively where the path is somewhat vague.

{paw} refers to the end of what had been motion. The path to the 
arrival is less significant than the completion of the motion. 
It does not likely behave like {ghoS}.
{vIH} refers to motion, but it typically doesn't focus on a 
specific path. It is a contrast to a state like {ratlh}. Since 
"move" is just the tag to help you look it up and the "real" 
definition, according to Okrand in the interview, is "be in 
motion", likely {vIH} could be used adjectivally and can't take 
any object at all.

Why think {chegh} belongs to the {ghoS} group and not the {paw} 
or {vIH} groups? Maybe it is unique. Whatever the case, it is 
VERY presumptive of you to decide what kind of object it takes 
with no canon examples to point to, no explicit description in 
the interview, and a vague definition gloss like "return". I 
think you are WAAAAY off base to get wrapped this tight over 
this verb in particular. You have no argument. That doesn't 
diminish your passion, no matter how misdirected, but please 
realize that you have no rational grounds for assuming that 
{chegh} behaves like {ghoS}. You are making that up. It is a 
fictitious relationship created in your mind and it has no basis 
in anything Okrand has ever presented to us about the Klingon 

According to MY presumptive interpretation, he tells us that 
each verb has its own relationship with certain nouns that can 
act as direct objects for those verbs. Since I realized that a 
year or two ago, it has been my mission to dig out what these 
relationships are for as many verbs as possible. I never assumed 
that I could grab any rule and confidently apply it to a verb I 
had not seen used in canon the way you are now applying the 
{ghoS} rule to {chegh}.

> That means that it would correctly be {ghorgh
> pa'wIjDaq vIchegh} or {ghorgh pa'wIj vIchegh}.  Unless of course someone
> wants to go and explain why {chegh} should be an exception to the rule . . .

{chegh} is not an exception to any rule. There is no rule 
applying to all verbs of motion. Erase that false concept.

Instead, recognize that every verb *IN EVERY LANGUAGE* has a 
limited set of nouns that can act as its direct object. The 
relationship between that verb and those qualified nouns is 
different from one verb to another.

When you orbit a planet, the relationship between "orbit" and 
"planet" needs a preposition if you used the verb "go" instead 
of "orbit". Some English verbs imply prepositional relationships 
between those verbs and those objects.

That's what the {ghoS} thing is like. Certain arbitrary verbs 
have a locative relationship with their direct objects. There is 
no rule defining which verbs have to be a member of this set of 
verbs with this relationship to their direct objects. It is 
arbitrary. You can't tell from the glosses which verbs have this 
link to their direct object. You just have to learn which verbs 
have this relationship.

In the interview, we listed what are likely to be most of the 
verbs which have this relationship. {chegh} was not on the list. 
Maybe someday it will be shown to belong on the list, but that 
has not happened yet. Membership on the list is arbitrary. This 
relationship between a limited, arbitrary number of verbs and 
their direct objects is not a RULE to be applied to ALL verbs 
involving motion. You are COMPLETELY WRONG when you make that 

We are not describing a grammatical rule so much as we are 
describing an exceptional class of verbs with an exceptional 
relationship to their direct objects. This is not something that 
you can generalize about for any verbs not on the arbitrary list 
of verbs with this relationship to their objects.

OKAY? DO YOU GET IT YET? Is there any way I can describe this 
more clearly? What part of it do you not understand (besides 
ignoring everything I'm saying and start rambling on more about 
this new rule and how it has to apply to all verbs of motion 
including {chegh}).

You ask what is so exceptional about {chegh}. You miss the 
point. {chegh} is not the exception. {ghoS, jaH, leng} and those 
other verbs explicitly spelled out in the interview are the 
exceptions. You can't arbitrarily tell Okrand that he has to 
include {chegh} with these other exceptional verbs just because 
YOU think the glossed definition makes it a similar verb.

> .
> Interestingly, the only example that I know of that benefits from the new
> rule is the line in Star Trek III by Kruge: {jolpa' yIjaH!} "To the
> transport room!"  Otherwise, I've always had to rationalize it as Clipped
> Klingon (which actually makes sense, since the English is similarly
> clipped."

Hmmm. That does benefit. I had not noticed that one. Thanks.
> SuStel

charghwI' 'utlh

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