tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Feb 23 13:49:08 1999

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Re: jIQIp'a'

voqbe'wI' asks:

: >>... jupwI'vaD <nuq?> vIghel.
: In my notes we have two words for *ask a question*: *ghel* and *tlhob*. I 
: always though the way *ghel* works is 
: 	<asked one>vaD <question> [..]ghel
: the question asked stands in as the direct object of *ghel* and the person 
: asked can be stated as indirect object marked with *-vaD*
: and *tlhob* works like
: 	<asked one> [..]tlhob
: the person asked stands in as the direct object of *tlhob*.

Short answer:  We're still a mite unclear as to all the differences between
these two verbs.  In KGT {ghel} is glossed "ask (a question)".  In the
original edition of TKD, we have {tlhob} "ask", which was expanded in the
addendum to the 2nd edition as "request, ask, plead", i.e. "ask (request)".
 This implies that {ghel} is used when a asking for information (e.g. The
tourist asked the guard, "When does the shuttle for Praxis leave?") and
{tlhob} is used when asking for a favor (The tourist asked the guard to
carry his luggage to the shuttle.)  BTW, the two meanings of English "ask"
is a common source of confusion to beginning students of Russian learning
to differentiate between *sprashivat'/sprosit'* (ghel) and
*prosit'/poprosit'* (tlhob).

Canon is problematic though.  While {ghel} is still unattested, and
consequently we don't know whether it's used with or without {-vaD}, Okrand
has used {tlhob} twice:

	juDev 'ej Dujvam ra'wI' DagheS 'e' vItlhob 
	I ask you to lead us as commander of this ship. 
	("I request that you lead us and that you assume the duties of
	  commander of this ship.") KGT

Clearly a request for some action on the new commander's part.  No problem

	lutlhob <<naDevvo' vaS'a'Daq majaHlaH'a'?>> 
	They ask him, "Can we get to the Great Hall from here?" PK

This sure looks he's asking a question.  Perhaps this can be understood as
a request for help, followed by the actual question which the tourists asked: 

	They ask him [for assistance]: "Can we get to the Great Hall from here?"

>From a descriptive linguist's point of view, there may be some areas of
overlap between the two verbs for some Klingon speakers.  

In real life, of course, Okrand recognized the possible confusion only
after he wrote the first edition of TKD, which is why he amended the gloss
in the Appendix to indicate which meaning of {tlhob} he originally intended
and, in response to our repeated requests (ha!) for help, in 1997 came up
with {ghel} for KGT.  I suspect Okrand would have used {ghel} in the second
example if he were doing it today.  But he didn't, and we're stuck with it.

And to complicate matters we have {yu'} "question, interrogate", also
unattested in canon.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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