tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Feb 20 13:54:13 1999

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Re: ma'veq: It's official

I'll try my best to respond calmly here.

ja' loD Doq:
>...don't you see how by limiting
>the number of suffixes that can be put on a combination of words, one
>limits the amount of combinations that can be made? It's not a rebellion
>against grammar, it's a simple multiplication problem.

I don't follow you.  Claiming that you can better express yourself by
ignoring the rules of the language *is* rebelling against grammar.

I can't argue with your claim that permitting aspect suffixes on the second
verb makes it easier to find a "Sentence as Object" phrase that matches a
particular idea, but I can point out that it's irrelevant.  When one is
speaking "proper" Klingon, the second verb in a Sentence as Object
construction simply does not take an aspect suffix.

Not even in the Sakrej region.

>As for the correctness of the
>statement one chooses, well... they can't all be gems. If one really wants
>to be clear, then one is going to have to sound like an under-educated
>babbling fool.

If you really think that breaking rules of grammar increases clarity,
you're probably going to find yourself considered rather unclear at times.
Breaking the rules on purpose is useful at times when one has a desire to
emphasize a particular shade of meaning, like putting the number suffix
{-logh} on the word {pagh}.  It has an obvious meaning, but it's a weird
thing to say and focuses attention on the way it is constructed.

Sounding like an under-educated babbling fool usually just makes one sound
under-educated and foolish.  If *I* really want to be clear, I make sure I
am using nit-picky, pedantically perfect grammar.  If I want to be
*clever*, I might intentionally break a rule, but I generally do it with
the explicit recognition that some people might not be able to make sense
of what I meant.

>Just look at clipped Klingon: Everyone on this list could agree that
>clipped Klingon is correct. C'mon! It's blaringly incorrect! The only
>reason why anyone accepts it is because it makes sense! No one would add
>prefixes that aren't necessary, when time is not a luxury.

Clipped Klingon is correct Klingon in particular situations.  It is not just
"broken" grammar, it is specialized grammar.

>Clipped Klingon
>sacrifices correctness to save time, just like contractions (which, by the
>way, are also incorrect grammar).

Contractions *are* correct grammar.  "I've" and "you'll" and "don't" are
all perfectly acceptable in standard English.

>Why is it so unreasonable for someone to sacrifice correctness to gain
>clarity? And don't just tell me, "because it's wrong."

If it's done when there's no other clear way to express an idea, then it
*might* be reasonable, but only in that one case and not as a general
habit.  Sacrificing correctness makes one "sound like an under-educated
babbling fool" most of the time, and insisting that it's the "correct"
thing to do regardless of the grammar makes one sound like an arrogant
under-educated babbling fool.

>Oh! And here's another:
>"These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise... (you know it) ... and
>to boldly go where no one has gone before."
>There's some more incorrectness for you. One can't split an infinitive like

"Never split infinitives" is one of the "rules of grammar" that really
isn't a rule.  It's something that started as a style guideline and made it
into the textbooks, and has been drilled into countless students' heads by
well-meaning but misguided teachers.  (Now that it's programmed into
Microsoft Word, we'll probably never be rid of it.)

>But, in this case, Pikard did it for emphasis. If Pikard can break
>the rules for *emphasis*, why can't I break them for clarity?

Patrick Stewart as Picard (note spelling) did it for continuity, not for
emphasis.  It was originally William Shatner's line, nearly two decades
earlier.  Shatner didn't do it for "emphasis" either.  The speech is
written that way to have a consistent style.  "To seek out...
to boldly go...."  To insist on putting the adverb before the infinitive
would break the pattern, and it still wouldn't make it any more
grammatically correct than it already is.

As an aside, one can't easily say "one can't" in grammatical Klingon.  It
is another example of something that native speakers of English sometimes
find lacking and restrictive in Klingon.  Does it bother you too?  If so,
the proper response is "deal with it."  There are many common phrasings in
English that are awkward (if not outright impossible) to translate into
Klingon, and vice versa.  The underlying ideas are usually easy to
represent in both languages, without resorting to ignoring the rules of

-- ghunchu'wI'

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