tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat May 22 08:58:50 1999

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: Puns as beginners' words

jatlh ghunchu'wI'

>I've never really understood the usefulness of such mnemonics for learning
a language.  The eventual goal is to be able to turn thought into words and
speech, and vice versa, at a speed approaching instantaneous, right?  For a
task like that, I find that pun-based mnemonics actively get in the way.

Jeux de mots may not be for every student of Klingon--whatever works for you, of course--but the instant I learned about Okrand's neighbor Jill, I knew the Klingon word for neighbor, and I don't mind bypassing the more normal learning process of repeating the word twenty, fifty or a hundred times (during which time I would have concocted some similar mnemonic anyway).

As for pun-based mnemonics being an annoyance, my own theory is that as long as Jill is needed, she'll be there to remind and amuse me, but as soon as the word takes on a life of its own and the mnemonic is no longer needed, Jill will go the way of metaphors and old soldiers.  Spiders and fish rarely intrude on my thoughts about the WWW and the Internet. 

English is thick with these faded metaphors, of course; it's one of the basic ways languages develop.  In fact, who's to say that some caveman didn't live next door to Nay-Bah and his wife Torri-Da-Fair.  The rest is etymology.


Back to archive top level