tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Apr 15 13:53:16 2002

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RE: "indefinite subject" and "passive voice"

>From: [] 
>In other words in Klingon, I can say {Qorwagh ghorlu'} and
>I can translate that into the English passive-voiced
>sentence, "The window is broken," but if I start out with
>the English passive voice sentence, "The window was broken
>by Krankor," there is no way to translate that meaning
>into a Klingon sentence using {-lu'}. I can think of ways
>that people who "encode" English into Klingon might THINK
>they can translate that sentence using {-lu'}, but they'd
>be wrong.

Just to make my intent clear, I am not trying to translate the English
phrase that Will has said was untranslatable.  This is a related issue.
I want to see how strongly he and others feel the "indefiniteness"
applies.  BTW, feel free to comment on my grammar and style, as well.
Don't mind my liberal translations.

Qorwagh ghorlu'.  ghor Qanqor 'e' vIHar.
The window is broken.  I think Krankor broke it.

So, in actual fact, the "breaker" is unknown, but in my mind the
"breaker" is known.  I could just say,

Qorwagh ghor Qanqor 'e' vIHar
I think Krankor broke the window.

But if my listener did not know that the window was broken, it is a bit
of a non sequitur.  So, then how strongly does the "-lu'" imply
indefiniteness?  Can I use it to introduce an action that was taken and
then announce the "do-er".  Much like someone's suggestion for the
ending of a mystery (I don't have the original message any more)...

HoD chotlu' net Sov.  chotta'bogh nuv'e' vIngu'laH.  HoD chot ...
You know that the captain was murdered.  I can tell you who had murdered
him.  The captain was murdered by ... THE COMMANDER!

I know who did it and I'm going to reveal it in just a second, but I
want to build some suspense first, so I leave it unspecified as I begin.
Seems like a good use for "-lu'".  What do you guys think?


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