tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Jul 18 12:39:14 2002

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Re: similes

>But I think that some of the others can be confusing, like {qagh rur}. A 
>qagh could be alive, hungry, starving, slimy, ugly, tasty, ...(?)

A {ghargh} "worm" could by alive, hungry, starving, slimy, ugly, tasty, 
etc. - not {qagh}.

>I would never say {qagh vIrur} without adding {jIghung}

{qagh} is collective noun referring to a type of food (i.e. as a dish or 

Okrand goes into detail in KCD on the distinction between {ghargh} - which 
refers to serpent worm(s) as animals - and {qagh} which refers to serpent 
worms alive but with seasonings and sauce added, served as food, and which 
is never pluralized.

>In German, they also have similes with animals, this one would be 
>"Bärenhunger", the "hunger of a bear".  Nobody would say "I'm a bear".

That sounds like a metaphor, not a simile, though the terms may be used 
differently in German.

Here are extracts from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary online to 
show the difference between the two words in English:

Main Entry: sim·i·le
Pronunciation: 'si-m&-(")lE
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin, comparison, from neuter of similis
Date: 14th century
: a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced 
by like or as (as in cheeks like roses) -- compare METAPHOR

Main Entry: met·a·phor
Pronunciation: 'me-t&-"for also -f&r
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French metaphore, from Latin 
metaphora, from Greek, from metapherein to transfer, from meta- + pherein 
to bear
Date: 1533
1 : a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one 
kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or 
analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative 
language -- compare SIMILE
2 : an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor : SYMBOL 2

The easiest way to tell these apart is that similes usually use the words 
"like" or "as" (Latin *similis*, *simul*) and metaphors don't.  Similes are 
the equivalent to the {rur} formulas in Klingon and Okrand himself calls 
them similes in KGT (pp. 128f.).

> >We have examples of what you might call "informal similes" (A rur B):
>Why "informal similes"?? That's just the way the verb {rur} is used, just 
>like any other verb.

Just my own urge to classify things.  We can observe {rur} "resemble" used 
in three ways:

1. as plain statements:

   toQDujna' rurchu'!
   It [the BoP ornament] looks so REAL! (Hallmark commercial)
   ("It truly resembles a real Bird-of-Prey!")

The workmanship is superb.  The resemblance is uncanny.  Just look at it!

   vulqanganpu' rur romuluSnganpu'.
   Romulans resemble Vulcans.

It's true: Romulans *do* resemble Vulcans (they're the same species).

No symbolic speech or fancy comparisons here, just observable statements of 

2. as "informal" similes (A rur B)

   Hov ghajbe'bogh ram rur pegh ghajbe'bogh jaj.
   A day without secrets is like a night without stars. PK

   Dejpu'bogh Hov rur qablIj.
   Your face looks like a collapsed star! PK

N.B. Only one clause here.  This is a figure of speech, not a statement of 
fact.  A day without secrets doesn't look like a night without stars, nor 
does his face actually resemble like a collapsed star!

3. as "formal" similes (as described at length in KGT (Q A; B rur)

   let mInDu'Daj; Separmey rur.
   Her eyes are hard; they resemble separ. KGT

   More colloquially: "Her eyes are as hard as separ-stones."

Note that the actual simile - the {B rur} clause - is tacked on after main 
clause with the quality, sort of as an afterthought.  Okrand also uses a 
semicolon to combine the two clauses into one sentence, or one complete idea.

The terms "formal" vs. "informal" are my own.  You could just as well call 
them Type 1 and Type 2 similes, short vs. long similes, one-part vs. 
two-part similes, etc.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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