tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Jan 26 19:02:59 2002

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Re: qepHom, qep, qep'a'

From: "Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen" <>
> ghItlh SuStel:
> >Well, just my thoughts about it (it's not an article, nor a study):
> Bah! It is of course merely my opinion, but I find none of your
> compelling.

I never said they were compelling.  I was "just" mentioning "my thoughts
about it."

> a) If the difficulty of pronunciation were a factor, none of us would be
> speaking Klingon at all.

All or nothing, eh?  A slight difficulty in the pronunciation of one word,
which has an easy to say synonym, might well tip the scales.  Once the scale
is tipped, it could start a landslide.  And just because you want to speak
Klingon doesn't mean you're always looking for words that are harder to
pronounce.  Such a choice might even be subconscious.

> b) I won't presume to ascribe motivations to Marc, but one might just as
> easily point out that in the interests of avoiding confusing his audience
> on all works after TKD, that he simply used only one term. At worst that
> makes HISlaH an ugly step-sister, but little more.

Maybe he was a victim of the same preference that you seek to understand.
Whatever the reason, his motivations are irrelevant; he chose to ignore
/HISlaH/ (or forgot it).  If the audience isn't exposed to the word, they're
not going to use it.

> c) either a word has a canonical source or it doesn't. This one does.
> you have me believe that HIja' is somehow *more* canonical because of its
> greater frequency?

Certainly not.  I said no such thing.  I was speculating on reasons why
/HIja'/ is commonplace and /HISlaH/ is not.  And it's a fact that /HIja'/ is
commonplace and /HISlaH/ is not.  Don't blame me for this fact; I didn't
engineer it.

What I was saying is that if you have lots of canonical sources with /HIja'/
in it and only two with /HISlaH/ in it, you're going to be exposed to
/HIja'/ over and over again, and it will be foremost in your mind.

Say you read a book about a character whose name is Andrew Krause.  At the
very beginning of the book, his name Andrew is mentioned twice.  Throughout
the rest of the book, he's called merely Krause.  You read 300 pages of book
about a man named Krause.  Krause went here, Krause did that, Krause said
something.  Now, when it comes time to write a book report about it, do you
write things like "Then, when Andrew went there . . . Andrew did that . . .
and Andrew said something"?  Of course not.  You use the name Krause also.

> d) the common ' ending of both HIja' and ghobe' is actually an argument
> *against* using HIja'. Similarities between these two words increase
> confusion and miscommunication, which is what you don't want in diametric
> opposites.

I'm not suggesting this is a valid linguistic phenomenon; I am just thinking
about the spot in Conversational Klingon where Okrand contrasts /HIja'/ and
/ghobe'/; it makes for a good chant.  To me, with the glottal endings, they
seem to go together.

Wouldn't "yeah" be too similar to "no" to be preferred over "yes"?  There
are certainly people who tend toward the use of "yeah" over "yes" in
everyday conversation; how can this be?

> You might be right. Then again, you might be wrong.

Glad you cleared that up.

> This is just idle
> speculation in general, and a personal anecdote in the case of your use of
> 'a over 'ach.

I did identify these things exactly as you say.

> Mind you, I think you're very likely right,

Though that's just your opinion based on speculation . . . .

> but then again
> one might just as easily suggest that the decision is made less on
> frequency by other speakers and purely on the basis of some personal sense
> of aesthetics. That's why *I* use 'ach more than 'a. I like the way it
> sounds. ;)

Sure, personal taste could have a lot to do with it.  It just didn't occur
to me to mention that.

I tend to prefer the way /'ach/ sounds too, but I'm so used to /'a/ now that
I use it purely by habit.  It's faster, too.

> I'm sure you won't be surprised that I didn't find your suggestions for
> over ror to be any more compelling than the batch for HIja' over HISlaH.

No, I'm not.  Did they sound like they were meant to be compelling?  Was I
wearing my compelling argument hat?

> I'm sorry if I'm sounding argumentative, or even just cranky. Blame my
> training as a researcher. Even when you qualify a remark with "probably
> easier..." (as you do in one of your "fat" examples) it's still just
> speculation and opinion.

Exactly what I said it was.  That's WHY I qualified it: so it wouldn't sound
like I was trying to prove something.

> I want data. Maybe I should do a study.

I apologize for speculating.  What was I thinking?

Stardate 2072.5

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