tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Aug 31 14:32:19 2002

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Re: tlhIngan Hol lujatlhbogh puq'e'

>ja' tulwI':
>>i just believe that cases exist, even if they are not marked. what
>>does that mean? it means that when i read a sentence, i assign
>>automatically cases for the nouns in order to understand
>>grammatically the sentence, in order to re-build the sentence in my
>I believe that using the word "case" for this concept is wrong.  If you're
>trying to map the nouns into a sentence you can understand, then any
>unmarked cases are irrelevant.  What I think you're doing is determining
>the actual *roles* of the nouns in the sentence, regardless of any
>hypothetical case they might or might not have.

ok, so let's call everything "locative role" and "beneficiary role" 
and "subject role" and "object role". ok?

>  >for example, does english have cases? the way you talk about klinogn,
>>you should say, no, it hasn't. the only exceptions are "i, me", "he,
>>him", but nouns don't have cases. is that true?
>Nouns themselves are not marked for case in English.  However, the grammar
>surrounding them to make up a noun phrase often does indicate specific
>cases.  Klingon might be similar, or it might not.  I think the easiest
>explanation is that type 5 noun suffixes mark the role of a noun
>syntactically, and you don't have to invoke "case" at all in order to
>describe Klingon sentences well.

okay. the type 5 nouns don't change the case of the noun but the role 
of the noun. i don't have any problem to call it this way.

>  >hm. i just had an idea. your point is that klingon is not a human
>>language. well, that's ok and that's all right. more and more i have
>>doubts that with my theories i could ever describe klingon to a
>>klingon. in fact, what i do has nothing to do with klingons, but with
>>humans. that's why i thought, subconsciously, that it would be a good
>>trick to describe klingon to humans _as if_ it were a human language.
>>and as humans seem to use cases, it would be good to describe klingon
>>with cases, for humans only. well, of course this doesn't mean that
>>klingon really _has_ cases, it's just that humans like to see cases
>>like in all the other languages.
>Here's another possible reason why your focus on case isn't getting you
>anywhere:  Most people who speak English don't have a clue what "case"
>means, because it's almost never mentioned in classes on English grammar
>for people who speak English.
>Native English speakers do *not* like to see cases like in all the other
>langauges, because they don't see case in *their* language.  Learning about
>cases makes things more complicated.

and learning about roles?

>  >yeah, that's a nice point. how does klingon work? what is klingon?
>>isn't it linked to the speakers? i don't know how the brain of a
>>klingon works, but in a human brain it will surely work like all the
>  >other languages. that's why i prefer a human language description.
>We have a large body of examples showing how Klingon works.  We have a few
>detailed explanations telling us *why* Klingon works in certain ways, and
>why it doesn't work in other ways.  If you follow the examples and avoid
>the traps, you'll eventually build up a model of how Klingon works in your
>own brain which is externally indistinguishable from the way it works in a
>putative Klingon brain.  And you won't confuse yourself by applying
>irrelevant and perhaps incorrect descriptions.


>  >>As I indicated above, we defined "case" for this discussion to exclude
>>no one excluded anything, you just didn't mention it before.
>Defining a term by giving a list *does* exlude things not on that list.
>This is why your use of the term "case" is causing problems -- you're
>obviously carrying along ideas about case from other languages which simply
>are not clearly applicable to Klingon.

i'm sorry for this misunderstanding.

>  > a human, i don't see any
>>other possibility than to describe a language as a human language.
>yablIj yISachmoH.  DuHmey pIm tIlajchoH.

bIlughqu', 'ach rut Qatlh.

>  >and i don't understand why you believe that mark ocrand succeded to
>  >create a languguage that is not human. and i don't understand why you
>>think that you as a human being could be able to speak an alian
>>language with an alian understanding of that language. you are human,
>>aren't you? so you speak klingon in a human way.
>This is the same sort of argument as saying that an Italian would always
>speak Chinese in an Italian way.  I have more faith in the flexibility of
>the human mind than you apparently do.

i wouldn't go so far to say that. i think that our human capability 
of dealing with grammar is one of the most fascinating things on the 
planet. i even think that our human brain is capable of speaking 
klingon. only that, by the moment we speak it with our human brain, 
our klingon language becomes a human language.

>  >no one of us knows how klingon really works, as no one of us has a
>  >klingon brain. sorry, but that's the reality.
>We can model how Klingon works in such a way that it matches how Klingon
>looks.  If different models produce the same result, is the difference

absolutely not. that's why i feel free to try to explain klingon from 
my (human) point of view.

>The issue here is that when a model which explicitly considers case is
>compared to the language as described in The Klingon Dictionary, the "case"
>model has extra parts on it that do nothing.  Removing them doesn't change
>what it produces.  Leaving them on makes it seem that they are an important
>part of the model.

now that we call everything "role", maybe there is no problem left?

>I could tape a magnet to the fuel line of my car and label it "laminar flux
>alignment", but that doesn't mean that flux alignment has anything to do
>with the operation of the engine.  Other machines might have such a thing,
>but my car does not.

okay. i understand that you think that it's all superflous.

>  >i don't think that i'm misleading, but you're right. if i were
>>misleading, then it's absolutely wrong what i do. but there is
>>nothing wrong yet.
>You're putting labels on things, but we don't all agree that those things
>even exist.  Labels are not productive, and they can be very misleading if
>they're chosen to be the same as labels on a different model of a different

so my question is:
can we assume that every noun in a klingon sentence has a "role"?


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