tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Mar 20 10:25:49 2002

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RE: [KLBC] comparing in tlhIngan Hol

> > I want to ask a question about something that is still very unclear to me,
> Sure, after all, you probably wouldn't ask a question about something that
> was clear and understood by you.  :)
> > namely, comparing in Klingon. There's the "A Q law' B Q puS" construction
> > for "A is more Q than B", but what if I want to translate for instance:
> >
> > "My knowledge is greater [bigger] than ever."
> > DaH SovwIj tIn law' ret SovwIj tIn puS
> Using ret without a number is controversial.  Some people think it should
> always have a number with it.  I usually preach that words like ben, ret,
> etc, should use numbers, after all, klingons don't approximate; but I do
> find myself sometimes breaking that.  Such words are listed simply as nouns.

I think there is a fundamental difference between {ret} and {ben}. The word 
{ben} is part of a class of nouns that indicate a specific unit of time 
measurement into the future or past, anchored to the time a statement is made. 
{wa' ben} refers to a year into the past from "now", which is the time stamped 
by the tapping of my keystrokes.

Other words in this class include {Hu', wen, ben, leS waQ, nem}. Since we know 
the duration of each of these words, it makes sense to use numbers with them. 
Each of these words have a corresponding word for the same unit of time without 
specifics about whether they are being used to measure past or future. Likely, 
they are best suited to measure duration without a specific time stamp, as in 
{qaStaHvIS X...} where X is the duration noun. These words are {jaj, jar, DIS}.

Meanwhile, we have duration nouns that don't have a corresponding noun 
indicating past or future: {Hogh, rep, tup, lup}. The two nouns {ret, pIq} can 
be used to follow these duration nouns to give them the same kind of meaning we 
get from {Hu', leS}, etc. These two tense-indicating nouns can also be used 
with the other duration nouns, though there's less reason to do so, since {Hu'} 
and {jaj ret} mean exactly the same thing, but {vagh tup ret} has no other way 
of expressing the concept.

The original point is valid, though. We have no canon examples showing the use 
of any of these duration-tense nouns (Hu', leS, etc.) without a specific 
number, and we have no canon for use of {qen, pIq} without a similarly 
specified duration noun.

{ret} is described in HolQeD volume 8, number 3, page 3, if you want to see the 
canon description of it. 

Hmmm. We know that {waQ} and {wen} are puns for "wax" and "wane", but I just 
noticed that since "m" and "b" are sounds that appear the same to lip readers 
(hence Okrand's description of dialects replacing one for the other or adding 
one to the other when he describes sounds made -- a technique he obviously used 
when making up lines to lip-synch Klingon and Vulcan to English-shot scenes in 
movies), {ben} and {nem} are sort of the reverse of each other, with the 
pronunciation made a little easier.

Figure that Okrand is going to tend to make up words first that are naturally 
easier to pronounce and then as he needs more words, he'll reach out to those 
slightly less natural to pronounce. Like {qoj/joq} and {pagh/ghap}, if you 
consider n/D and m/b to be basically the same letter, then {ben} and {nem} are 
basically "b/m - e - n/D"  and "n/D - e - b/m". They are the reverse of the 
other, with the easiest pronunciation for a Klingon-like sound.

Note that of the other consonsonant replacement combination, only {Deb} exists 
as a Klingon word. We don't have men, meD, beD, neb, or Dem.

But I digress... This is clearly not significant. Just a playful thought that 
might help someone remember {ben/nem}.

> DloraH, BG


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