tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Feb 28 17:04:13 2002

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Re: yaywIj yIngaq!

> From: <>
> > Remember that in Conversational Klingon, we are told that a Klingon may be
> > inaccurate, but he is NEVER approximate. The proverb says "Four thousand
> > throats can be slit in one night by a running man." It doesn't say, "A
> > whole lot of throats can be cut in one night by a running man." While I 
> > don't really care how many days ago you did this if you don't have a 
> > specific number, I'd still rather hear a specific number than {Hu' law'}.
> The emphasis on precision over accuracy is nice, but often taken to
> unrealistic extremes by people on the list.  Stating a highly precise and
> totally imaginary number to represent a real thing seems rather ludicrous.

In the canon examples, it seems that Klingons tend to choose round numbers, 
like loS SaD, so likely you can tell whether the answer is accurate by the 
uncommon number of zeros following a single digit.

> If you don't KNOW the exact number of something, then your lack of knowledge
> should be included in the count as qualification.

That doesn't seem to be a Klingon trait, unless you want to use {-law'} on the 
verb. We haven't seen {-Hey} applied directly to numbers, though it is an 
interesting idea.
> If I don't know if something took place six, seven, eight, or nine days ago,
> pegging it down at eight days ago isn't inaccurate-but-not-approximate, it's
> just plain imaginary.  /Hu' law'/ or even just /Hu'/ will describe the
> information you know much better than /chorgh Hu'/.

Think about it. {chorghHey Hu'}. There's a beauty to it. I'm not suggesting 
this is correct. Just interesting.
> I have a friend who used to state every measurement or calculation to an
> incredibly unrealistic number of decimal places.  "How much longer until the
> show starts?"  "Seven point two seven four six three five minutes."  Not
> only did he not really measure it, if he looked at the clock he couldn't
> have gotten anywhere close to that number of significant digits.  If my
> friend had said "seven minutes," he would have been "approximate," but if
> he'd said "a little more than seven minutes," he'd be stating something that
> I feel would be acceptable to a Klingon.

Okay. So, how exactly would you say that in Klingon? I certainly do not know 
how. I suspect that Okrand was behind that remark on CK simply because he 
didn't want to have to come up with a grammatical method of expressing an 
approximate number. As it is, I don't know how to say, "a little more than 
seven minutes" without making a really ugly comparative statement and then an 
even uglier external reference back to it from some other sentence or clause.

Maybe {Soch'a'Hey tup}?

I actually like that a lot. A little less than seven minutes would then, of 
course, be {SochHomHey tup}. Around seven minutes would just be {SochHey tup}.

Meanwhile, please, all you beginners out there, please note that I am joking. 
I'm making an absurd, but interesting leap into the imaginary realm where you 
can put noun suffixes on numbers, which are chuvmey, not nouns. Numbers can, in 
limited instances, be used as nouns, but it really is a kind of elision, where 
there is an understood noun that has been dropped out with the number in its 
stead. The number would be preceeding that noun, if the noun were there, but 
the noun is gone. That's a long way from taking noun suffixes.

> SuStel
> Stardate 2161.8

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