tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jul 09 13:51:20 2002

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RE: KLBC: emphasis

Quvar wrote:
>> > Can we make a combination of those two rules?
>> > i.e. have two -'e' suffixes in a sentence.  Example:
>> >    {puqpu''e' chaH qamapu''e'}
>> >    "The prisoners are CHILDREN."
>> > talking like TKD, this is translated as:
>> > "As for the prisoners, they are children (and not something else)."
>> > [...]
>> > I don't know. On the one hand, thought #1 looks like you can only 
>> emphasize
>> > one noun, since there can only be one topic in a sentence, don't it? 
>> On the
>> > other hand, thought #2 tells me that any "to-be"-sentence needs the 
>> -'e' at
>> > the end.

>The English translation feels okay, but to me the Klingon sounds like you 
>can't decide what your topic is.  Putting /-'e'/ on the last noun in a "to 
>be" sentence isn't just a thing you have to do.  It's how you link one 
>thing with another.
>    [....]
>It looks to me like saying */puqpu''e' chaH qama'pu''e'/ is using focus on 
>the left and topic on the right.  I get the feeling that you should only 
>have one /-'e'/ in this sort of situation.
>Of course, there's no rule AGAINST doing it.  And I too have tried to 
>construct just such a sentence . . . .

I think Quvar is confused by Okrand's use of "emphasize" in TKD.  It says 
that {-'e'} "marks noun as topic of sentence ... (i.e. this, and not 
something else)".  In more detail:

   This suffix emphasizes that the noun to which it is attached is the topic
   of the sentence. In English, this is frequently accomplished by stressing
   the noun (saying it emphatically) or by special syntactic constructions:
     lujpu' jIH'e'            I, and only I, have failed
     De''e' vItlhapnISpu'     I needed to get the INFORMATION. It was the
                              information (and not something else) I needed.
   Without the {'e'}, these same sentences would have no noun singled out for
     lujpu' jIH               I have failed
     De' vItlhapnISpu'        I needed to get the information.
   For a further use of {-'e'}, see section 6.3." (TKD p.29)

{-'e'} with "pronouns-as-verbs":

   There is no verb corresponding to English "to be" in Klingon. On the other
   hand, all pronouns (section 5.1) can be used as verbs, in the sense of "I
   am", "you are", etc. ... When there is a definite subject, it follows the
   pronoun and takes the {-'e'} "topic" suffix (see section 3.3.5):
     puqpu' chaH qama'pu''e'  The prisoners are children. As for the
                              prisoners, they are children.
     pa'DajDaq ghaHtaH la''e' The commander is in his quarters. As for the
                              commander, he is in his quarters. (TKD p.68)

charghwI' once summarized a bit of KGT for us:

   In one of the descriptions of a Klingon dialect (Morska, I think), Okrand
   remarks that the dialect does not normally add the {-'e'} to the subject of
   a "to be" sentence. This explains the *Dujvets 'o nuq, reen* line in ST5...
   in this dialect, sometimes the speaker uses the {-'e'} and other times he
   does not. When he does, it indicates focus, as in, "As for my name, it is
   charghwI'." When it is missing, the sentence merely means, "My name is
   charghwI'." Okrand points out that for speakers of any other dialect of
   Klingon, there is no way to distinguish between the existence or absence
   of focus on the subject of a "to be" sentence. The {-'e'} is needed for
   arbitrary syntax and does not imply focus.

Okrand was interviewed (by chargwI'?) in HolQeD 4.2 about {-'e'}:

   Q:  That's another thing people have been hassling about, because you 
called 'e'
       the topic marker,  and all the time you use it as a focus marker.
   MO: And they're making the distinction... You're using topic like 
   Q:  You've been saying things like "As for the ship, it's big," which is 
   MO: I stand corrected.
   Q:  So it really is a focus marker, then?
   MO: Yeah.

(I'll let the linguists here explain the difference between a topic marker 
and a focus marker to us and how knowing this difference helps us speak 
better Klingon.)

I've searched my notes and there are no examples of the topic suffix {-'e'} 
used twice in this way.  This is to be expected since, as I understand it, 
you generally only have one topic in a sentence; everything else is a 
comment about the topic.

Thus Quvar's example - *{puqpu''e' chaH qama'pu''e'} - is not 
possible.  You have to decide what the topic of your sentence really 
is.  Who are you really talking about - the prisoners or the 
children?  What is the topic, and what is the comment about that topic?

So, if the topic is the prisoners:

   puqpu' chaH qama'pu''e'.
   The prisoners are children.
   As for the prisoners, they are children.

If the topic is actually the children, then reverse subject and object:

   qama'pu' chaH puqpu''e'.
   The children are prisoners.
   As for the children, they are prisoners.

>   puqpu' chaH.
>   They are children.
>   puqpu' chaH.  qama'pu''e'.
>   They are children.  I'm talking about the prisoners.

Now if you want emphasize this fact, I can think of several ways.  You 
could use {neH} "only, merely, just", though we've never seen it with a 

   puqpu' chaH neH qama'pu''e'!
   The prisoners are just children!

Another way might be to use the "emphatic" verb suffix {-qu'}:

   puqpu' chaHqu' qama'pu''e'!
   The prisoners are CHILDREN!

although we've never seen the Rover {-qu'} on a pronoun-as-verb AFAIK; we 
have seen the Rover {-be'} so used.

Yet another way is to add another noun to the mix:

   qama'pu'lI' chaH'a' romuluSnganpu'vam'e'?  puqpu''e' chaH jay'!
   These Romulans are your prisoners?  My God, they're CHILDREN!

Since there's no explicit subject in the second pronoun-as-verb sentence to 
tag with {-'e'}, you *might* be able to shift it to the predicate.  Again, 
we've never seen this before.

The simplest way of all is to rely on vocal, not grammatical, emphasis by 
stressing or "punching" (as actors say) the word {puqpu'} when you read it 

   PUQPU' chaH qama'pu''e'!
   The prisoners are CHILDREN!
   As for the prisoners, they are CHILDREN!

You can also add a dramatic pause:

   puqpu' chaH ... qama'pu'vam'e'.  wejpuH.
   They are children, these prisoners.  Charming.

Said with the proper snide or dismissive tone of voice, your listener will 
have no problems understanding what you mean.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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