tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Mar 25 10:14:28 2002

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: KLBC: {-be'}

> jatlh ro'Han:
> > > His
> > > head doesn't contain the entire Klingon language; perhaps this rule
> > > resembles the English sentence "He saw John and I in the park". If we 
> > > want to be strictly accurate on the general rule, English grammar says 
> > > "Objects go in the accusative case". But we say "He saw John and I in the 
> > > park" anyway, because when we say this sentence, that rule doesn't work. 
> > > We need to use a different one.
> jatlh SuStel:
> >Erm . . . no, "He saw John and I in the park" is just wrong, not a 
> >different
> >rule.  I'm a native English speaker!  Those Klingon linguists can come and
> >ask me as they study the language!  *We* do not say this; maybe you do, but
> >I certainly don't!  :)
> But he has a good point - many things are perfectly acceptable (to most 
> people) in colloquial speech where they wouldn't be in monitored speech.  So 
> maybe a lot of things Maltz has told MO are examples of this (it gives MO an 
> out for some of those things he wishes hadn't happened anyway).  In fact the 
> prefix trick seems like an example of this.  And we know from canon that 
> some ungrammatical constructions are acceptable in some circumstances.  
> (TKD, p. 168)

Ummm, page 168 is the list of verb suffixes and special number suffixes. I 
don't see that as in any way relating to your argument. If I'm wrong about 
this, it would be helpful if you'd point out the specific thing you are 
referring to.

Okrand is very careful about stating these acceptable exceptions. We spent 
years before he explained the prefix trick, and even then it was less to cover 
his own errors than those of Krankor and others who had been saying {qajatlh} 
to mean "I speak to you." When he finally came out with it, he gave the 
inventive boundary that the prefix trick only works when the indirect object is 
in the first or second person. This works, since explicit direct objects are 
almost always third person and the disagreement between the prefix and an 
explicit direct object is the warning flag telling you that the prefix trick is 
being used. This agreement between the prefix and explicit subjects and objects 
is one of the few places in Klingon grammar that exhibits redundancy of 
grammatical cues.

Bad grammar is bad grammar. Deal with it. yIvingQo'.

> And if you're a descriptivist rather than a proscriptivist, this usage of 
> 'I' is widespread enough that it has to be considered an acceptable 
> alternative (and I have definite descriptivist leanings). 

The problem with English is that it has so many stupidly redundant grammar 
indicators that have to agree with each other, it becomes easy to break the 
rules. The difference between the pronouns "I" and "me" is described both by 
position and by form. Why bother?

If me only use one of these pronouns to describe me, you have no trouble 
understanding what me says. The words me say are not ambiguous or confusing. Me 
is just breaking one stupid, unnecessary rule of grammar that doesn't add 
anything to your ability to understand me.

Klingon is superior in this area because it doesn't make a difference in the 
form of a pronoun depending upon whether it is a subject or object (jIH is jIH 
no matter where it is used), and it doesn't have arbitrary gender assignments 
like most European languages that have to be memorized with the vocabulary in 
order to follow the rules.

For the most part, nearly all the rules that exist in Klingon grammar are 
needed in order to clearly understand what someone is saying. There is very 
little that is arbitrary like the distinction you are showing in the 
grammatically incorrect example given in the English, "He saw John and I in the 

> I've gotten to 
> the point where the only example of this that still grates on my nerves is 
> 'between you and I'.  For some reason, that one still bugs me.

The other one should bug you, too. Either that, or we should have a linguist 
come in and clean up the language of stupid, useless differences in pronoun 
form like this.


Back to archive top level