tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Jun 30 13:49:30 1999

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Re: KLBC: Is this correct?


	Hi, I'm Captain Krankor, Grammarian of the Klingon Language Institute
and founder of this list.  I'd like to elaborate just a bit on what charghwI'

	The problem is, Klingon is not like French.  French and English are
very closely related, so often things can translate one-for-one, even idioms.
Klingon was deliberately constructed to be odd, unusual, and alien, so you
frequently just can't *say* what you want directly, you have to "recast" it
into a more Klingon form.  In other words, you typically don't translate
words, you translate *concepts*.  What you are trying to do, though, is
translate *words*, which is a doomed approach.  For instance, you want
"collective", so you find the verb "to collect".  Well, yeah, the *words*
look the same, and certainly the english word "collective" has a common
etemology with "collect", but in truth, the actual meanings of the words as
they are actually used have nothing to do with each other.  To get at the
Klingon, you have to get at the *concept*, and the *concept* of "collective"
has nothing to do with collecting, it has to do with a *group*.  As such,
you probably would want to end up using the Klingon word ghom in some way.
Even so, ghom is not *exactly* a collective, so you might have to add a bit
more to it.  And this is why charghwI' was stressing that you need to really
learn the language, because there is no silver bullet or magic pill to
translate a phrase like that.  You have to really get clear on what the
concept is you are trying to express, and be knowledgable about what tools
Klingon gives you to express those concepts.  This also means that there is
often no simple answer.  I'll bet that charghwI' and I, if we tried ourselves
to translate your phrase, would come up with two totally different answers,
and the rest of the group here could come up with five or six more.  Of course,
part of this is because you haven't picked a simple phrase.  If you had
asked for "the red book", that would be much more straightforward.

	Now, to answer some of your more direct questions:  There is a suffix
which will turn a verb into a noun of about the right meaning to make
"communicate" into "communication".  The suffix is -ghach.  However, it has
a long and ugly history, such that today it is very nearly taboo in Klingon
speaking circles.  Still, I for one don't buy into the taboo, so I will
freely cite it.  Still, it has a usage rule associated with it, which requires
that it not be the lone suffix on the verb.  Probably the best way to
say "communication" is QumtaHghach.  Still, we have no context here of how
you are trying to use it, and there are lots and lots of sentences where the
English might use "communication" where the Klingon would more likely reform
the sentence and use Qum as a verb.  For instance, if the English said
"You and I have a communication problem", I would probably render that in
Klingon as simply:  maQumHa' jIH SoH je (literally "You and I miscommunicate").
In Klingon, context is everything.

	It is also not quite true that you can use any verb as an adjective.
Actually, only so-called 'stative' verbs can be used that way.  Stative verbs
describe a state rather than an action.  For example:  bIr (to be cold),
Doq (to be red or orange), jaq (to be bold).

	All of this is explained in The Klingon Dictionary.  charghwI' is
quite correct, you need to get a copy of this book first and foremost,
and second you need to get Klingon for the Galactic Traveller.

		--Captain Krankor

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