tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Dec 12 16:37:07 2002

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Re: Affixes/KLI Affiliates

Paul wrote:

> >> One more question just entered my mind: where's the difference between
> >> "batlh" and "-neS"? They both imply honor, although "-neS" is often
> >> translated as "your honour"(that's merely a description, isn't it?).
> >
> > -neS is more of a sign of politeness, showing respect to a superior.
>I always saw the -neS suffix as a way of conveying "With all due respect,"
>you'd use it where you were addressing someone of higher standing (like
>how one might end every sentence with "sir")

Note, however, that Some English speakers say "with all due respect" to 
avoid starting an argument or insulting someone, regardless of the 
listener's relative rank.  This is VERY un-Klingon.  A better idea is to 
think of {-neS} as meaning something like "O honored one" to get the right 

>The adverb {batlh} would be more about honorability of the action itself:
>For example:
>bImuj -- "You're wrong."
>bImujneS -- "With all due respect, you're wrong." or "You're wrong, sir."
>batlh bImuj -- "You're wrong, with honor."  (Kind of a wierd concept --
>perhaps this might be used to tell someone that they're wrong, but their
>mistake has not tarnished their honor?)
>Would people agree with that distinction between the two?

Exactly right.  Okrand contrasted {-neS} with {batlh} in KGT (pp.38-39):

   The most obvious grammatical feature associated with social status is
   the verb suffix {-neS} (an honorific) used to express a high degree of
   respect or honor. For example, one might say {choQaHpu'neS}, which
   might be rather awkwardly translated as "You, honored one, have helped
   me." (Compare this to {choQaHpu'} ["You have helped me."]) Though there
   is no situation in which the use of {-neS} is required and its use is
   rather infrequent, when it is used, it is used only when addressing
   someone of higher rank, such as a higher officer in the military or a
   high political leader. It would not be used by a higher-ranking officer,
   for example, when speaking to a lower-ranking officer, nor would it be
   used when talking about a higher-ranking person. Thus, one would not
   describe being aided by a superior by saying {muQaHpu'neS} ("He/she, whom
   I honor, has helped me"). Of course, one does not need the suffix {-neS}
   in order to speak of honor. The adverbial {batlh} ("in an honored fashion")
   may be used for exactly this function, as in {batlh muQaHpu'} ("He/she
   has helped me in an honored way" or "He/she has helped me with honor").
   While it would be entirely inappropriate for a superior to say to an
   inferior {choQaHpu'neS} ("You, honored one, have helped me"), the
   superior may say {batlh choQaHpu'} ("You have helped me in an honored
   way" or "You have helped me with honor"). The relative ranking of
   individuals may be ascertained by noting who says {-neS} to whom.

Two comments:  (1) {-neS} is only used in direct address, and (2) its use 
indicates EXTREME deference, not mere politeness or military 
protocol.  (Interestingly, Klingon has no word meaning "be polite", 
although there is {Doch} "be rude", {Qut} "be vulgar" and {tlhIv} "be 

Since {-neS} is never required, one can always use {qaH} "sir", {joHwI'} 
"my lord/lady", {HoD} "captain", etc., avoiding the use of {-neS} 
altogether.  In fact, checking my files I see that {qaH} and {joH} are 
never used together with {-neS} by Okrand -- perhaps that would seem like 
over-kill, i.e. far too groveling or sniveling by Klingons.

Voragh                            "All the meaning is in the context."
Ca'Non Master of the Klingons           (Ilya Kabakov, Russian artist)

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