tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Feb 08 07:21:04 1999
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RE: Dreaming in Klingon
> I had another dream in Klingon last night. I don't think
> Kahless was there, but rather it was probably a result of
> chatting on the phone with Captain Krankor for an hour
> earlier in the evening.
> The reason that I mention it is because in the dream a
> grammatical question came up. I don't know that there's
> a right or a wrong answer, but I thought I'd post it and
> get input from wiser voices than my own.
> We know of course that the rule for when to use -wI'/-wIj
> hinges on the question of whether or not the object in
> question possesses language. I've always liked this rule
> because it reminds me of the classic Cartesian argument
> that language is a requirement for a soul, and that anything
> without language is not human and just an animal at best (the
> implications for prelinguistic children and mutes are left
> as an exercise for the reader). Now, here's my question:
> How would you refer to a person -- say for example, your
> captain -- if that person was dead? Would you use -wI' or -wIj?
> If you take the position that the captain was capable of speech
> while alive, and that such an attribute should be considered
> permanent once applied, then you'd go with -wI'.
> But if you go with the comment established in TNG that a
> lifeless body is just a shell and possesses nothing of the
> original owner, then I imagine you'd use -wIj, with no insult
> implied to your captain, because here's not there any more,
> that's just his body.
> This has probably been asked and answered before, but I just
> woke up, and the Klingon dream is still ringing in my head, so
> I thought I'd better post.
I think you have to go with <-wI'>. When talking about your dead captain or
aunt or barber, you're talking about the *person*. The person has *not*
become something incapable of speech; he has ceased to exist (in this
universe, anyway). If you're talking about the corpse - <lom> - use a
generic suffix. If you're talking about the person, use the language capable
suffix, just like you always did.
ghobe'. lomDaj neH vISam.