tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu May 13 05:52:18 1999

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Re: SachtaH Holmaj!

If you allow Spanish speakers, Mandarin speakers, and English speakers to
go around letting their native language bias their understanding of
Klingon, then you're not really learning Klingon.  I recall a passage in
KLINGON FOR THE GALACTIC TRAVELER which talks about how Klingons don't
care much for enjoyment, and so {tIv} isn't used in the context of the
flavor of food.  Therefore, while your native Mandarin and English
speakers might be making LOGICAL sense, they're just not using the
language properly.  Your Spanish speaker has got it right.

As for the verb {par}, Carleton Copeland asked, "If /qagh vIparHa'/ can
only be *I don't dislike gagh*, then how would you 
translate *I like gagh*? The English phrases are not equivalent."

Your problem is coming from the translation of the verb {par} "dislike."
Think about the sensation of disliking someone or something.  Feel it.  As
you feel it, try to disassociate that feeling from any language label:
don't name the feeling anything.  Now, when you've done this, name this
particular feeling {par}.  Don't translate this from anywhere, simply name
this feeling which you've isolated {par}.  That's what the Klingon word

{par} is not just "dislike."  "Dislike" is simply a translation to
English.  The real meaning of {par} is that feeling you felt.  It has no
negative meaning to it.  It simply is that feeling.

Suppose I am a Klingon.  I point to a picture of a
tribble, and I say {yIH vIpar}.  Simple enough.  That tribble invokes in
me the feeling of {par}.  I {par} the tribble.

Now, I look at a picture of a chocolate bar.  That particular image
invokes in me what I consider to be exactly the opposite of {par}.  I
"opposite of {par}" the chocolate.  Thus, I {parHa'} the chocolate.  {yuch
vIparHa'}.  This feeling is the opposite, reverse of {par}.  It is thought
of by Klingons by referencing the feeling of {par}.

Now suppose this Klingon is learning English.  He points to the tribble
and says {yIH vIpar}.  Then, he's instructed that he has to say "I dislike
the tribble."  The Klingon is mystified.  Here he has a perfectly
straightforward statement, that he feels {par} for the tribble, and his
English teacher is telling him that he has to take a verb with an opposite
meaning, and then negate it, just to get that simple meaning!

Worse still, the Klingon then points at the chocolate and says {yuch
vIparHa'}.  He tries to translate this into the English.  He expects to
take a word and reverse the meaning, just like we would with the feeling
of {par}.  He says "I don't dislike the tribble."  The teacher, of course,
tells him he is wrong: he should say "I like the tribble."  Once again,
the Klingon is confused.  When you don't {par} something, aren't you
supposed to use a negative in there?

This is exactly what happens to English speakers learning Klingon, only in
reverse.  Liking is not inherently a positive thing.  Disliking is not
inherently a negative thing.  They're only these things when spoken of in
a language which treats them this way.  You have to get past your English
bias in order to see it the way Klingons see it.  It's no more logical or
right than the way English speakers see it, but if you're going to speak
the language of the Klingons, then you should understand their mindset.
(Lessons learned in POWER KLINGON.)

Stardate 99363.5

jatlh peHruS:
>I see several different answers depending on where your logic comes from.
>your native tongue is Spanish, you might be tempted to try {jIHvaD 'ey' 
>qagh}. If your native tongue is Mandarin, you might like {qagh vItIv}. 
>English speakers just might like {qagh vISop 'e' vItIv}. I feel that 
>Klingons (whom I have yet to meet in person) say it as {qagh vISopbej}.

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