tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue May 11 13:15:58 1999

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[compound questions]

muHwI' wrote:

: I only gave this as an example, perhabs it was no good choice. I came up
: with this question when I asked qabrIQ "Is it a riddle or a question?".
: Is there a way to say this in klingon as short as possible (asap :-) ?
: We have no word for "question", so let's use something else:
:   "Is that a targ or a cat?" 
:   {targh 'oH'a' pagh vIghro' 'oH'a'}
: I use {pagh} because it cannot be both...

{pagh} links sentences; use {ghap} "either/or" to link nouns:

 targh vIghro' ghap 'oH'a'?
  "Is that a targ or a cat?" 

See the example from "Conversational Klingon":

  HIq qIj reghuluS 'Iw HIq ghap jab. 
  They serve black ale or Regulan bloodwine.

The question of course is simply:

  HIq qIj reghuluS 'Iw HIq ghap jab'a'? 
  Do they serve black ale or Regulan bloodwine?

It's interesting that the "zero prefix" ("they [do something to] them") is
used.  Although the answer must be singular - either one or the other is
served, not both - the two choices together seem to be considered a plural
object in the sentence.  

ghunchu'wI' and I disagree on how to ask the compound question: "Is that a
targ or is that a cat?"  I think that

  targh 'oH'a' pagh vIghro' 'oH'a'?

is correct, even though we've never seen a compound sentence of this
specific pattern, comprised of two or more yes/no questions as clauses. 
This is probably due to the limited nature of what is still a relatively
small corpus of Klingon.

: But now the {-'a'} confuses me, "Yes/no" as an answer makes no sense!
: muHwI'

muHwI' raises a very good point: What would the answer be to such a
question?  Yes - it is both a targ and a cat?!  No - it is neither a targ
nor a cat?!  Would Klingons give such a narrow, literal Vulcan-like answer
or would they answer what they think is the underlying question: e.g.
{targh 'oHba'} "It's obviously a targ".  The absence of such examples from
canon may be because they are imprecise or illogical, not because they are
ungrammatical per se.  This uncertainty is certainly present in English as

More on this tonight, when I have a chance to consult TKD on compound
sentences and Type 9 verb suffixes.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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