tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Apr 13 11:27:39 2002

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Re: "be'be'" - double negation

From: "Sean M. Burke" <>
> I hasten to point out that modern standard English is quite rare among
> humanoid languages in having this "logical reversal" rule

How many non-Terran languages do you know?  What if I suggested that human
language patterns are the exception to the galactic norm, and that that norm
is this "logical reversal" rule?

The point here is that you can't use your knowledge of human language rules
to draw conclusions about Klingon, because Klingon was designed not to be
one of them.

> Since Okrand and any even passably competent Federation linguist or
> polyglot would be aware that modern standard English's notion of
> cancelling" is a bizarre exception in humanoid languages, his apparent
> silence on this point in TKD should reasonably be taken as implicating
> Klingon is nomal in being unlike English on this point.

I do not agree.  Okrand wrote THE KLINGON DICTIONARY for the layman.  It is
not technically accurate in many places.  Consider the section on
pronunciation: some of the descriptions can lead to the wrong conclusion if
you're trying to think of them phonologically.

The only language that can reasonably used to predict Klingon is English --
Okrand wrote TKD for an English-speaking audience, and so any definitions
therein must be assumed to be considering English rules.  The Portuguese and
German versions of TKD have errors in them, thus illustrating my point (and
they weren't translated by Okrand, I'm sure).

You can't expect TKD to be technically accurate.  It was written
specifically to resemble a layman's introductory language guide: vague and
over-simplifying things.  Okrand has made this quite clear in conversations.
He even admits this in the introduction, where he says that by using the
dictionary you'll be able to speak in a somewhat "brutish" manner.

> That leaves open the question of whether Klingon requires (or even allows)
> negative words to negate the verb.

Nowhere does Klingon have any sort of required agreements in the language.
There's no gender, for instance.  Until Okrand shows us an obviously
non-erroneous example of double-negation (he DOES make mistakes, and not
everything he writes can be taken as holy writ), your attempt to claim its
validity is entirely baseless.

> TKW p.201:
>     Dal pagh jagh.  [No enemy is boring.]
>     (not:  *{Dalbe' pagh jagh})
> Similarly:
> TKW p.80:  "not lay'Ha' tlhIngan." (and not *{not lay'Ha'be' tlhIngan.})
> TKW p.46:  "not toj tlhInganpu'" (and not *{not tojbe' tlhInganpu'})
> (Altho that doesn't specify whether you /can/ say *{Dalbe' pagh jagh} and
> get the meaning "No enemy is boring".)

But it DOES prove that negation-agreement is NOT required.

Stardate 2282.4

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