tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Oct 14 08:56:53 1999

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Re: Mu'mey chu'

>From: "William H. Martin" <>
>Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 12:45:35 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
>On 12 Oct 1999 01:56:21 -0000 "Mark E. Shoulson" <> 
>>  pIHoHvIpbe'qu'		we are NOT afraid to kill you
>>  pIHoHvIpqu'be'		we are not AFRAID to kill you
>>  pIHoHqu'vIpbe'		we are not afraid to KILL you
>>  The first word might be used after an enemy challenged the bravery of the
>>  speaker.  The second might be followed by an explanation such as "We are
>>  not willing to kill you you because we require your services."  The third
>>  would be used to emphasize killing, as opposed to some other form of
>>  punishment.
>> Note he says "would be used" not "could be used but wouldn't because of the
>> taboo in section 4.2.2."
>I think the most important thing that doesn't seem to be getting 
>any attention here is that {-vIp} and {-be'} are being used in a 
>combination here that would release a Klingon from the taboo. In 
>all cases, we are saying that there is a lack of fear. 
>Certainly, that is not taboo. Saying that we fear would be quite 

Yes, it's significant that the -vIp is itself being negated, not just that
there's a negation somewhere in the sentence.  I wouldn't say
{*vIHoHbe'vIp} is okay just because it has both -vIp and -be'; it's still
admitting the fear ("I am afraid not to kill it.")  Here, we have the -be'
acting directly on the -vIp; it follows it directly, except for the
intervening -qu', which doesn't interrupt the flow (i.e. the -be' does not
act of the preceding -qu', but rather the thing before it, which the -qu'
itself acted upon.  This doesn't necessarily mean that you could never have
{-qu'be'} with the -be' negating the -qu' itself... but I would think
that's highly unlikely.  You'd have to have a clear context, probably even
actually nonce construction (explicitly or implicitly saying "I'm playing
around with abnormal usage here, to make a point."  People do that in
language and poetry)).


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