tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Apr 17 18:46:34 2002

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Re: John and I go...

From: "Sean M. Burke" <>
> I'm in a puzzlement over something.  In several languages that I'm
> with which are rather like Klingon in their use of subject prefixes and
> relative non-use of pronouns,

Just keep in mind that the similarity is superficial only; they're not
related languages, and so rules of one haven't led to rules of another.

> the way one says "John and I go..." is what
> I'd literally translate into Klingon as "majaH John" -- namely, an overt
> subject of just "John", and then a "we" prefix on the verb.
> In those languages, you /could/ express it as "John, and I, we-go", but
> this is not the normal way of saying it -- that way gives a "contrastive"
> reading; i.e., it means "John and /I/ go..." (implication: /I/! not you!
> not her! not them! etc.).
> So, what's the normal way of saying "John and I go..." in Klingon?

There is no evidence that you can say */majaH torgh/ (let's use a Klingon
name).  The correct way of saying it is /majaH jIH torgh je/.  I believe
we've had an example (I can't cite it) with "pronoun noun je" as subject.

Although one reading of explicit pronouns as subject or object is emphasis,
another perfectly valid reading is clarity.  If I said /jaH ghaH/, it means
the same thing as /jaH/.  I'm just making sure you know I'm saying that
/ghaH/ did it.  If you want emphasis, use /-'e'/: /jaH ghaH'e'/ "It was HE
who went."

A lot of people seem to think you can say /majaH Hoch/ for "All of us go,"
but I'm opposed to that for the same reason I'm opposed to /majaH torgh/:
your noun and prefix don't agree, and I think this is too far to elide.  I
wouldn't be opposed to /majaH Hoch maH/, because /Hoch maH/ is (apparently)
a plural 1st person phrase.

Stardate 2294.2

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