tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Apr 30 18:05:21 2002

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Re: what sounds weird

>From: "Sangqar (Sean Healy)"

>And I don't really see a problem in general with using parallels from 
>natural language to illustrate points in Klingon. If some natural languages 
>have a certain feature and use it a certain way, and Klingon also has that 
>feature, what could be more natural than to go with what's natural? 
>(Barring specific instruction from Okrand, of course.)

But that is the nub of the matter.  Klingon was designed to flaunt 
"unnatural" language elements, in order to emphasize that it is supposed to 
be an extraterrestrial language (but not so much that we couldn't comprehend 
it or speak it).  What is natural for humans is not necessarily natural for 

Klingon color words /SuD/ "be green, blue, yellow" and /Doq/ "be red, 
orange" violate the general principle that languages split color words into 
"warm" colors and "cool" colors (yellow should be with the warm colors, but 
Klingons see it as a cool color).  Klingon uses the sentence order 
Object-Verb-Subject precisely because it is by far the least common human 
language order.  Klingon intentionally doesn't have a verb meaning "to be," 
and although this occurs in other terrestrial languages, it doesn't happen 
in English, for whom the dictionary and indeed the language was designed.

Klingon was designed to be a language spoken by ALIENS.  Their brains don't 
necessarily process language the same way as ours, and this was what Okrand 
had in mind.  To go and say that something that seems natural in one human 
language goes to show what's natural in Klingon is to completely miss the 
point that this is meant to be a non-human language.  If we are to study 
Klingon under the fiction that Klingons actually exist and speak this 
language, we CANNOT assume that what our non-Klingon brains say works is 
correct.  We must question everything.

Stardate 2329.7

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