tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu May 16 00:59:20 2002

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Re: [KLBC] SISpu'

> >> jIHaD RITDaq.
> >
> >> I study at RIT.
> >More importantly, watch your sentence structure.  Locatives-- the thingies
> >that tell where the action is happening, such as "RIT"Daq-- always go at
> >the *head* of the sentence.
> I see now: "RIT"Daq would have been the _object_ at this point.
> (talking about MY(subject) STUDIES(verb) at RIT(object))

Actually, it would have been trying to be the SUBJECT.  Remember, it's
course, since the jI- verb prefix told us the subject was going to be "I",
the only way that sentence could possibly mean anything would be if your
name were RITDaq. {{:-)

> >naDev HaDpu''a' tlhIngan Hol lujatlhlaw'pu'bogh tera'nganpu'?
> >
> >"Did terrans who spoke Klingon study here?"
> >
> >Note that the entire phrase <<tlhIngan Hol lujatlhlaw'pu'bogh tera'nganpu'>>
> >means "terrans who spoke Klingon" and that whole thing is the subject of
> >the main verb, HaD.  And, of course, the subject always goes *after* the
> >verb.
> _Now_ this makes sense. I should have tried to break it into little chunks
> like that, and then put everything together.

With complex sentences, breaking it into little chunks is always a good
idea.  I even do it myself when things get sufficiently complicated.

> >> leSpoH jIjaHrup. jIjaH vagh les.

> "I am ready to go on shoreleave [summer break]. In 5 days I go."

A couple things here.  First, let's talk more in depth about
sentence structure.

We know that normal Klingon sentence structure is OBJECT-VERB-SUBJECT,
what is referred to in shorthand as O-V-S.  But this only partially tells
the story.  First off, of course, there may not be any object at all.
For instance:  SoptaH HoD -- "The captain is eating."  I haven't said what
the captain is eating, just that he is.  On the other hand, there may not
be any *subject* at all:  mInDu' Soplu' -- "One eats eyes/Eyes are eaten."
The English has a subject, but the Klingon really doesn't; the -lu' suffix
says there really isn't any specific subject.  Moreover, the subject and/or
object may be implicit (based upon the verb prefix).  Thus:  pIbejtaH --
"We're watching you."  You don't see any subject or object in the Klingon,
since they're implicit in the pI- prefix.  We *could* have written it
SoH pIbejtaH maH -- but we didn't have to.

So we can already see that O-V-S is a simplification-- perhaps an over-
simplification.  If we use square brackets to indicate the optional parts,
it's really [O]-V-[S].  But even *this* is incomplete.  The *true* Klingon
sentence structure is actually H*-[O]-V-[S].  I can see you scratching your
head already.  Now wonder people tend to simplify it. {{:-)

So what's H*?  Well, the * is a common way to indicate "zero or more of
the previous thing".  So H* means H, or HH, or HHHHH, or 100 H's-- or none
at all.  Fine.  So what's an H?

H is my own term for what I call "header" words.  They are a grab-bag of
"stuff" that goes at the beginning of a sentence.  Mostly they consist of
adverbials, place markers (the locatives we referred to before), or time
markers.  For instance, if I said:  DaH bIghHa'Daq qama' yu'lI' HoD --
"The captain is now interrogating the prisoner in the jail."  The structure
of that sentence would be H-H-O-V-S.  yu' is the verb, HoD is the subject,
qama' is the object; and both DaH and bIghHa'Daq are "extra" stuff, which
always goes at the front of the sentence.  These are what I call header words.
With just a few notable exceptions, virtually *everything* that isn't subject,
verb, or object, goes at the beginning.

Which is all a very long, detailed explaination of why your sentence needs
to be:

vagh leS jIjaH.

The vagh leS isn't the subject, it isn't the object.  In this case it's
a time marker, and those definitely go at the head of the sentence.

Note, by the way, that this rule of sentence structure is itself a misnomer.
While it does apply to sentences, it really is about the structure of ANY
verbal phrase, including sub-phrases embedded within a sentence.  For 
instance, let's go back to our earlier example:

naDev HaDpu''a' tlhIngan Hol lujatlhlaw'pu'bogh tera'nganpu'?

    "Did terrans who spoke Klingon study here?"

Suppose we want to change it to:  Did terrans who always spoke Klingon
study here?  Well, "alwas" is gonna be reH.  But where does it go?
Don't fall into the trap of just sticking it at the head of the sentence:

reH naDev HaDpu''a' tlhIngan Hol lujatlhlaw'pu'bogh tera'nganpu'?

for this would mean:  Did terrans who spoke Klingon always study here?
Not what we wanted.  Remember again our breaking it down into pieces.
"terrans who spoke Klingon" was <<tlhIngan Hol lujatlhlaw'pu'bogh
tera'nganpu'>>.  Since it's this verb, the speaking, which we want to
apply the "always" to, it must be at the head of *this* verbal phrase
that we stick the reH.  Thus, <<reH tlhIngan Hol lujatlhlaw'pu'bogh
tera'nganpu'>> would mean "terrans who always spoke Klingon", and so
our full sentence ends up being:

naDev HaDpu''a' reH tlhIngan Hol lujatlhlaw'pu'bogh tera'nganpu'?

Whew!  Hope that made sense!  Anyway, it does all mean that I can say
this (translation left as an exercise for the reader):

wa'leS Heghbej DaHjaj mumaghbogh vay'.

> Thanks for the help so far!!,
> -Ryan (qoreQ)

No problem at all, that's what I'm here for!


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