tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Apr 22 11:12:32 2002

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Re: to'nech 71-80

> ja'pu' SuStel:
> >The only words that are actually verbs of speaking are /jatlh/ and /ja'/.
> >Anything else is just a regular verb.
> The strict place to draw the line is with {ja'} and {jatlh} only.  An
> Okrand interview in HolQeD strongly supports that interpretation, with
> phrasing like {HoD vIyu'; jIjatlh nuqDaq yuch Dapol?} being the norm.
> I personally take the mention of "ask" in TKD 6.2 and the {lutlhob naDevvo'
> vaS'a'Daq majaHlaH'a'?} joke in PK as evidence that {tlhob} is an
> acceptable verb of saying as well, but I'm not evangelizing that view.

Okrand has winced about those jokes from more than one angle. He apparently 
forgot them when he constructed the way he wanted {tlhob} and {ghel} to be 
used. In the interview that went over verbs of speech, the one area he did the 
most backpedalling was when he explained that {tlhob} should be used with a 
person, like {ja'} is used with a person, but {ghel} should be used with a unit 
of speech like {jatlh} should be used with a unit of speech, and then I pointed 
out the joke where he used {tlhob} with a unit of speech.

Rather than say the earlier joke was wrong, he backfit and said that obviously 
{tlhob} can be used either with a unit of speech or with a person. I offered 
that likely at the time of the joke, the word {ghel} didn't exist yet. He 
didn't accept that offer, though.

Anyway, I suspect that the use of {tlhob} as a verb of speech is another thing 
he wouldn't have done had he fully developed his more current ideas before he 
recorded the jokes. I remember that in the interview, he specifically addressed 
{ghel} and {tlhob} and indicated that you'd still use {ja'} and {jatlh} for the 
quotation. {qatlhob. qaja' chay' jura'?}

More commonly here, that gets punctuated as:

qatlhob. qaja' <chay' jura'?>

It's not how he did it in the jokes, which were written much earlier than the 
interview, but it is how he explained it in the interview. My own chosen 
preference, adhering more to his more current advice than the earlier canon is 
to, when choosing a verb to go with a particular direct object, use {ghel} as 
an equivalent to {jatlh} and {tlhob} as an equivalent of {ja'}, and to only use 
{jatlh} and {ja'} for the speech verb in a quotation, regardless of whether 
what is quoted is a statement or a question.

After all, the grammatical form of a question is obvious. Why do I have to 
redundantly indicate that it is a question? We do in English, but then, we also 
redundantly indicate plural on nouns following numbers. Klingon does not 
require that level of redundancy.

> Informally, almost anything can be understood as a verb of saying,
> especially if you punctuate it to show what is a quote and what is not.
> That brings me to the other point which I didn't see addressed explicitly:
> so far as we know, Klingon uses only *direct* quotes.  Fixing the verb of
> saying, your {DujlIj luvoq tIja'!} says "Tell them, 'They trust your
> instincts.'"  If you want to tell them to trust your instincts, you have to
> say to them "Trust my instincts."

Good to catch that.

> -- ghunchu'wI'


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