tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Apr 16 17:10:29 2002

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Re: to' nech, 019: {jev'a'meyna'.}

> From: Alan Anderson <>:
> >As it is, you're annoying a bunch of people, myself included, who want
> >to use the language in order to communicate.
> This is a terribly narrow mindset from someone of your stature within this 
> list, ghunchu'wI'; whereas I do see your PoV, think on this: English (and 
> every other language in prime use on this planet) is also used "in order to 
> communicate"; none of these languages are restricted to that purpose.

ghunchu'wI' was being honest. We genuinely welcome anyone with an interest in 
learning the language. Meanwhile, it really wears on us when the newest ego 
sends dozens of messages in a very short timespan, each of which seem less 
designed to improve their use of the language than to simply attract attention 
to themselves.

I'm impressed with some of what Sean has to say. As a beginner, he has a lot of 
talent. Meanwhile, like most beginners, he is remarkably sloppy and writes a 
lot of text far more badly than he knows how because he's not taking the time 
to check his own work. He also doesn't particularly care whether he is 
translating anything well or not, so long as he is sending stuff and getting 
responses to it.

Here's my overreaching generality for the day into the cultural nature of this 
list and how it relates to the current conflict: There are basically three 
groups of people who speak Klingon:

1. Linguists (amateur or professional)
2. Star Trek fans
3. Computer geeks

As some might expect, the Star Trek fans (with notable exceptions) are 
typically the slowest students. They don't have a background for this stuff, so 
what they learn, they learn from sheer determination. I respect this.

To my surprise, most of the linguists are as slow and sometimes slower than the 
Trek fans. They have remarkable insights and can go on forever comparing 
Klingon to a long list of languages, but they rarely memorize any vocabulary or 
bother to gain actual skill with the grammar. Instead, they spend most of their 
time hammering away at some pet theory of just how far you can bend a specific 
grammatical construction before it breaks. They uniformly like attention and 
love being the center of controversy. Rare is the flame war that doesn't have 
at least one linguist in it.

The computer geeks are the real surprise in that for some strange reason, the 
vast majority of people who actually become conversant in the language make 
their money working with computers. Some of the geeks have linguistic 
backgrounds and some don't, but if have more to do with linguistics and less to 
do with computers, you are less likely to become conversational in Klingon.

This is especially interesting, since the guy who invented the language is 
definitely a linguist who was very slow at accepting computers for either word 
processing (he typed and hand wrote the manuscript for TKD) or Email. His 
original word list was a pile of paper with words scribbled on them. He didn't 
even use index cards or anything else that organized.

There are exceptions to each of these generalizations, and it's probably not 
politically correct to point this out, but it really does seem to be the case.

Given that, we now have Sean who announces himself as a linguist, produces more 
messages in a day than we've seen on this list in quite some time, shows less 
interest in cleaning up his translations than in being in the middle of 
controversy, and basically he is the newest guy to be the Current Most Annoying 

ghunchu'wI', a computer geek, and I, another computer geek, have a natural 
response involving veins sticking out in our necks when we deal with this 
cultural difference between outspoken members of these different groups. Given 
our typical lack of linguistic background (with definite exceptions, like 
Holtej and perhaps Seqram), we're a little touchy about people who go on about 
the language without actually bothering to learn it; who demand a lot of 
attention and offer little back in return.

Eventually, this will all settle down. I hope it settles soon. I definitely 
prefer to have more text written in Klingon and less energy expended in heated 
English conversations loosely about the language, but it is hard when there are 
so many messages spewing out that seem mostly designed to beg for argument.

> >Translating stacks of short, cryptic phrases -- especially translating
> >them *badly* -- does not help anyone.
> Disagree totally; I like the idea.  I love tlhIngan Hol (although I am not 
> really good at S/R/W it), and I can not get enough of it. Perhaps the 
> translations could be a little more comprehensive/complete/accurate - i will 
> not disagree with that - but isn't that one of the purposes of this mailing 
> list (otherwise, what is the job the BG is doing?).  Besides, as far as 
> "stacks of short, cryptic phrases" are concerned -- what then is /The 
> Klingon Way/?

My own skill took a leap when Krankor started writing a lot of very well-
produced Klingon text. Up to that point, I was very often confused because 
there was so much bad Klingon text being written at the time, I couldn't get a 
grip on what it was really supposed to be like. It all became a confusing mass 
of characters.

Krankor's clear writing swept all that away and I began to understand it. I 
wish I could do that for others, but too often, I fall weak to the temptation 
to engage in this more useless activity of brawling in English.

> --DantlhIgh


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