tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Oct 29 10:32:08 1999

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Re: KLBC: Undoubtedly continue to..

On 29 Oct 1999 13:11:33 -0000 "Mark E. Shoulson" <> 

> >From: "Klingon Honour" <>
> >Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 17:20:00 EST
> >
> >Mark's guideline of:
> >1) suffix-meanings *usually* apply in (roughly) the order given.. and
> >you should try other sensible orderings that make more sense, if the default 
> >one doesn't work.
> >
> >This makes sense but then I can seen the possibility of ambiguity like one 
> >of the earlier examples that I gave:
> >{qarchu'be'} or {qarbe'chu'}?
> Well, remember the motivation for the guideline.  It probably means the
> obvious thing (suffixes applied in order), but might mean something with a
> different ordering *because* there's only one right way to order the
> suffixes.  This reasoning doesn't apply to rovers.  If someone meant to say
> {qarbe'chu'} or {qarchu'be'}, there's nothing preventing either ordering,
> so you should expect the rovers to be in the right places, and {-be'} is a
> rover (obviously I'm referring to "true" rovers, as opposed to {-Ha'} and
> {-Qo'}, whose positions are fixed.) 

Well, having seen this statement go by a few times now, I 
finally can no longer let it simply continue to pass. I would 
argue that {-Ha'} really IS a true rover in that it definitely 
applies its meaning to what immediately preceeds it. It is 
simply that because of the way that it works, it can only be 
applied to the root verb. Its meaning is ALWAYS fundamentally 
linked to the root verb. The fact that it always preceeds any 
existing suffixes is an effect of the way it works, not just an 
arbitrary grammatical rule.

As for {-Qo'}, I think it works the way other people have argued 
that {-be'} works. It implies refusal globally applied to 
everything that preceeds it. The entire verb with all of its 
affixes has a meaning and {-Qo'} implies refusal by the subject 
applied to that entire meaning. The position is an effect of its 
function, not separate from that function.

> Anyone who says {qarchu'be'} to mean
> {qarbe'chu'} is making a mistake. 

This is exactly why I always hated the argument that we can 
globalize what {-be'} negates. Since {-be'} obviously CAN apply 
to the single affix or root verb it immediately follows, if it 
also can negate everything that preceeds it, how can we tell the 
difference? And since it is truely mobile, the required ordering 
of other affixes make it arbitrary which affixes are being 
negated and which ones aren't.

I know that I lost this argument. A couple canon examples 
clearly show that {-be'} was negating everything that preceeded 
it, but I still think that is a loss of clarity in the language 
and I seem to do just fine never using {-be'} in this way.

> >If context in tlhIngan Hol still leaves ambiguity, what have we left?
> Same thing you get in every other language... *even* Lojban (which does not
> diminish its ability to be unambiguous when it needs to be.  Check it
> out).

Speaking of ambiguity, the thing I've been pondering on lately 
is that since Okrand has recently given us a method of 
distinguishing between the location where the action of a verb 
of motion happens and the location of its destination, what 
about other verbs that sometimes involve more than one location, 
though they do not involve motion?

In other words:

1. tachDaq jIjaH. I'm in the bar and I'm going.
2. tachDaq vIjaH. I'm going toward the bar.
3. tach vIjaH. Same as #2.

But what about:

Qe'Daq Qanqor vIlegh.

Am I in the bar seeing Krankor, or am I seeing Krankor while he 
is in the bar?

If we go by the advice given us so far, I am in the bar and I'm 
seeing Krankor, who may be in the bar or not. There's no 
reference to Krankor's location. The locative points to where 
the action happens and in order for the action of seeing to 
happen in the bar, I have to be in the bar if I'm the one doing 
the seeing.

Otherwise, I have to say:

qachDaq tlhutlh Qanqor 'e' vIlegh.

If instead I say:

tlhutlh Qanqor qachDaq 'e' vIlegh.

then I'm just saying that I'm in a bar and I'm seeing 
that Krankor is drinking. Maybe he is drinking on the sidewalk 
outside and I see him in the doorway or through a window.

But if what you want to say is that you are standing outside and 
you look in through a window and you see Krankor drinking in a 
bar, you have to say:

qachDaq tlhutlh Qanqor, tach HurDaq jIQamtaHvIS 'e' vIlegh.

My argument here is that if you are standing outside of a bar 
and you look in through a window and see Krankor and you tell 
your friend:

qachDaq Qanqor vIlegh.

then you have just made a mistake because you have tried to 
transfer what is ambiguous in English into an equal ambiguity in 
Klingon. Unfortunately for you, in Klingon, this is not 
ambiguous. Locatives (except in the special case of the direct 
objects of verbs of motion) always refer to the location where 
the action of the verb happens, not the location of the object 
of an action.

Obviously, someone will disagree, simply because I said it. Why 
not? Things have gotten a little dead around here, anyway, right.

> ~mark


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