tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Oct 31 07:42:35 1999

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the scope of {-be'}

ja' charghwI':
>> 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 don't understand this complaint at all.  In the example just given,
there's no way you can argue that {qarbe'chu'} is at all arbitrary.
Furthermore, {qarchu'be'} means essentially the same thing whether you
see it as "(not-completely) accurate" or "not (completely accurate)".
The only type of construction where this comes into play is something
like {jIbwIj vISay'nISmoH}.  I am convinced that any ambiguity with
{vISay'nISmoHbe'} is due to the enforced suffix order and not to any
global-vs.-local effect of {-be'}.  It looks exactly as ambiguous to
me as does {vISay'nISmoH} without the {-be'}.

It's likely that I'm not completely getting your point.  I'm willing
to look at examples that show the "arbitrary negation" problem you
seem to see.

>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.

In Klingon, as with any sufficiently powerful language, there are
grammatical tools which introduce ambiguity.  You've decided, quite
appropriately, that you value clarity highly.  Thus your style of
communication reflects that, and you avoid introducing ambiguity in
your writing.

Unless, of course, you're writing poetry or playing word games. :-)

-- ghunchu'wI' 'utlh

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