tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Feb 08 07:21:04 1999

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RE: Dreaming in Klingon

jatlh Lawrence:

> 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.

HoDma' DaSam'a'?
ghobe'. lomDaj neH vISam.


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