tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jul 29 15:58:07 2002

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Re: nach ("header"?)

'ISqu' wrote:
>Just because the English word "header" and the German word "Kopfdaten" are 
>related to the words "head" and "Kopf" respectively does not allow us to 
>assume that Klingons use the word {nach} to mean "header". The so-called 
>"metaphorical extensions" involving parts of the body are common in 
>English and Klingon but what works in one language may not work in the 
>other one.
>For example, I doubt we can use the expression <??leng 'uS wa'DIch/Qav> 
>merely because English has the expression "the first/last leg of the 
>journey". Similarly, although speakers of English may say "at the foot of 
>the mountain", it would probably be wrong to identify a location by saying 
><??HuD qamDaq>. Conversely, if an English-speaking Klingon said "??the 
>hand of my axe is broken", only a Klingon-speaking Terran would instantly 
>know that the Klingon was referring to the axe's blade {ghIt: literally 
>flat, open hand} and not its handle {DeS:

The handle (or hilt) of a knife, for instance, is called the {ret'aq}.

>literally arm}. Often, the context would help. I can easily imagine a 
>Klingon vutwI' on a cultural exchange, learning to cook minestrone or 
>tomato soup. The chef and human trainees would probably smile if s/he 
>mentioned "the pot's elbows" but they would have no problems

Absolutely.  Although a few body-part idioms do translate, like {DeSqIvDu'}:

   The smaller {nevDagh} is characterized by its V-shaped handles, termed
   {DeSqIvDu'} ("elbows"; note the {-Du'}, the plural suffix for body parts
   is used here even though the handles are not literally body parts). (KGT 97)

no doubt because of the evocative shape of the handles on this particular 
pot, most do not:

   It is important to note that an idiom usually cannot be translated from one
   language into another and carry with it the same meaning. Thus, to a speaker
   of Federation Standard, "We hit a target" conveys information only about
   hitting a target and has nothing to do with agreeing. By the same token,
   literally translating a sentence such as "The restaurant changed hands" into
   Klingon, presumably as {ghopDu' choHpu' Qe'} ("The restaurant has altered
   hands") or perhaps {ghopDu' tampu' Qe'} ("The restaurant has exchanged 
   does not tell the Klingon that the restaurant is now under new ownership,
   which is what the Federation Standard phrase really means. Assuming that a
   restaurant can do anything at all (which it probably cannot--only a being of
   some sort can do something), the only meaning a Klingon would glean from 
   sentences is that the restaurant acquired hands (meaning only body 
parts) that
   it previously did not have. Even given Klingon cuisine, this would be highly
   unusual. Idioms are very much language (and culture) specific. (KGT 106-107)

>        The context of your message was very clear so you would have been 
> understood if, instead of <QIn nach>, you had used <!?QIn mIv> or even 
> <!?QIn beb> to mean "header".

In fact, Klingon has a very good non-idiomatic alternative to {nach} if we 
want to talk about the sentence's "header": {tlhop} "area in front 
of".  E.g. *{mu'tlhegh tlhop} "the area in front of the sentence, the 
sentence's front area".

Now, what Klingon grammarians actually call this part of the sentence - if 
anything - is unknown.

Maybe somebody could ask Maltz at the upcoming qep'a'?

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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