tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon May 13 16:02:11 2002

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Re: Negation Article

> Hello, everyone!
> It is done!
> I am finally finished with my article about negation. By now, it got
> downscaled to negation in tlhIngan Hol, because it proved too
> time-consuming to learn enough about four or five other languages to
> make well-founded analyses about them. I hope my professor buys this...

Good luck. 

> Unfortunately the list didn't let me send the 70k-attachment, so
> everyone who is interested in it will have to download it from my
> website

For those who had trouble reading the article, the ".ps" file extention means 
it is a PostScript file. You'll probably need Acrobat Distiller (to convert it 
to .pdf) or Ghostscript (to print it) to see the file.

> I hope some of you might have a look at this article and tell me what
> you think (don't worry, I have a very thick skin...).

Some points:

1. Paramount did not hire Okrand to create a Klingon language. They hired him 
to direct the actors to make some sounds they could put subtitles to. He came 
up with the language pretty much on his own and Paramount liked the idea of 
selling dictionaries, so they went with it. What he did was well beyond the 
bounds of what they hired him to do.

2. Klingonaase is not a language. It has no grammar, and the vocabulary 
consists of dozens of words (exclusively nouns, so far as I know). The novels 
talk ABOUT a language, and a few nouns and noun phrases are uttered in the 
middle of English sentences in the novels, but John Ford never pretends for a 
minute that he has actually developed a language. Another way to mark this 
distinction is that tlhIngan Hol is an artificial language for a fictional 
people, while Klingonaase is a fictional language; it doesn't exist.
3. The pIqaD you show is definitely not official. Some fans use it. *I* use it. 
Meanwhile, Paramount does not recognize it. When you see characters that look 
like this in the movies, you will discover that it doesn't actually spell 
anything. Some of the characters don't quite match this alphabet, and Okuda 
(the set designer) explicitly refuses to allow the letters to actually spell 

4. You speak of "the retroflex D and t". The "t" is not retroflex. That is what 
makes this {D/t} combination alien. Human languages can use either a retroflex 
or dental "D/d" or "T/t", but it always happens with a pattern that Klingon 
breaks. Let's say that uppercase letters are retroflex and lowercase are 
dental. Human languages either use {D/T} or {d/t} or {d/D/t/T}. They either use 
all four sounds, or they use a matched pair. Only Klingon uses an unmatched 
pair, {D/t}.

5. You say that nouns can carry more than five affixes. Nouns can carry a 
maximum of five affixes. There are only five noun suffix types and you are not 
allowed to use two suffixes of the same type on any one noun, so you can have 
from zero to five affixes (since there are no noun prefixes).

6. Your example <<SutlhtaHvIS chaH DIHIvpu'>> has a somewhat controversial use 
of {-pu'} at the end. If this is an Okrandian example, it may have been written 
written early in the development of the language when {-pu'} meant past tense, 
but ever since the publication of TKD, it has marked the perfective, which 
means that while they negotiated, we HAD attacked them. The attack apparently 
preceeded the continuity of their negotiation. It would be better to drop the {-

7. You belittle the role of chuvmey to even lower than is true when you 
state, "When studying tlhIngan Hol, it is important to know that this language 
has the syntactic categories /noun, verb/ and /everything else/. That means 
that any additional information has to be encoded with the help of affixes." 
This is not entirely wrong, but it overstates the case. chuvmey do indeed have 
a variety of syntactic functions (adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions) without need 
of affixes.

8. When you describe a complex verb as being of the form pv123456789, you don't 
mention rovers. You do eventually get around to them, but the description does 
sound like that's it; there's nothing else to put on a verb.

9. You state that {-be', -Qo'} and {-Ha'} are rovers and so they can be 
inserted between any two verb suffixes. All three of these can be used on verbs 
totally lacking other suffixes, so there is no requirement that they go between 
suffixes. More accurately, {-be'} can follow any verb root or suffix, {-Ha'} 
always follows the root and {-Qo'} always comes at the end of the sequence of 
the verb and its other suffixes (except Type 9, which follows it).

10. You state that the example {Soj Samqu'be' puq} disambiguates the meaning of 
{Soj Sambe' puq} to show that the child did not find the food and went hungry, 
rather than that something or someone other than the child found the food, or 
that the child found something other than the food. I think you'd do better to 
say {Soj Sambe'bej puq}. Otherwise, the meaning could be closer to {Soj tu' neH 
puq. not nej vaj Sambe'.}

11. charghwI' and Will Martin are, despite appearances, the same person. No 
sense crediting me twice by different names, unless you also want to credit the 
others by their human and tlhIngan names.

12. Example 19 {muHoHbe' 'e' chenvIpmoHbe'} is probably misusing the verb 
{chen}. Okrand uses {chenmoH} to mean "make", as in "cause to form". He does 
not use it to cause an action to happen, as you have used it. The example is 
attributed to charghwI'. I believe that never happened. I'd be amazed if I used 
{chen} that way. I hope I didn't and then forgot. If I did write that, I must 
have been very, very sleepy. Better would have been {qaSvIpmoHbe'}

13. {chab} needs no plural marker, since it would be redundant. It is not wrong 
to say {wej chabmey}, but it is also not wrong to say {wej chab}, and is 
probably even more common to omit the plural suffix when other grammatical 
evidence shows that the noun is indeed plural. Klingon is less grammatically 
redundant than most languages.

14. Other "standard works" for citations would be the other books Okrand has 
written: The Klingon Way (a book of Klingon proverbs), Klingon for the Galactic 
Traveler (a book discussing slang, jargon, dialects, food, music, dance, the 
military and more. It also has the largest single vocabulary list outside of 
TKD. Then there are the two audio tapes, Conversational Klingon and Power 
Klingon. Most of these are avialable at KLI.

> There are two points where I am not sure whether the examples are
> correct, these points are indicated in the text. I'd be grateful for
> your input here.

I hope this helps.

> Thank you already
> Daniela B.


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