tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri May 17 06:42:43 2002

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Re: What does the numbers in the stardate stand for?

From: "Peter Louvel" <>
> {David}
> {signature}lIjDaq HovpoH cha'SaDwejvatlhSoshmaHcha' {.} chorgh{tenth}
> vItu'


> Although this message isn't marked KLBC, I'll let the Beginners' Grammarian
> address errors in the above.
> HovpoHwIj Dayaj DaneHchugh, Daqvam yIlaD:
> SuStel
> Stardate 2373.8

Thank you, SuStel. {{:-)

Let's see, where do we begin.  First off, in this case, I think the
best translation of "signature" is, actually, "signature".  Yes, we
do have qI', for sign a treaty, and I suppose we could find a way
to use it to build a way to talk about a signature, as far as a
person's John Hancock.  But that's not what "signature" refers to
in this case.  In this case we're talking about the-custom-thingy-that-
gets-automatically-appended-to-email, which is commonly called a
"signature", but which is not the same as what you write when you
write a check to someone.  I simply don't think we have a Klingon
word for such a thing, anymore than we have Klingon words for other
email-specific terms, like "cc" or "MIME" or "dead.letter".  If you
are interested in how one might talk about an actually-signed-with-a-pen
type signature, we can discuss that.  I think what you did, with
{signature}lIjDaq is just fine.  Myself, I like double quotes, but
I myself would certainly have written "signature"lIjDaq.

Next:  big numbers aren't one big word like that.  It would be:

cha'SaD wejvatlh SochmaH cha'.  As for how to do the .8, I'm not sure
we know for sure (someone please correct me if I've missed something
on this topic).  The closest we have is vatlhvI' ("percent").  We
also have the means to talk about arithmetic division, if you really
want to provide an equation. {{:-)  If I were absolutely determined to
talk about .8 in Klingon, I would go with chorghmaH vatlhvI', but I'd
more likely just sidestep the whole thing and use arabic numerals.

Now let's get to the real grammar issues, which are involved with the

> {anything} QammeH'a'

> Anything / stand for?

> Does it stand for anything?

First off, we have a very good word for "anything":  vay'.  vay' is
such a useful word-- it also means "something", "anyone", "someone"--
that it's one that everyone should memorize pretty early on.

Next we have a problem with word selection.  A very important point in
Klingon is that you have to translate *concepts*, not *words*.  Qam
means "stand" in the very narrow, literal sense of "be standing up",
as opposed to being sitting or kneeling or lying down.  You really
can't use it in the sense of "What does this stand for?" or "I can't
stand that!" or "Time stands still."  or "You really need to stand up
to her!" or any other idiomatic meaning of English "stand".

What's more, -meH means "for the purpose of".  You can't just plop
it in anywhere the English "for" shows up, because "for" is also
a very varied word, whereas -meH is fairly specific.  It just means
"for the purpose of", or "in order to".  So, QammeH doesn't mean
"stand for", it means "in order to stand [up]", "for the purpose of
standing".  You might use it in a sentence like this:

rorqu' ghaH.  'ar ror?  QammeH pIvchem chenmoHwI' lo'nIS ghaH!

"He's very fat.  How fat?  In order to stand up, he has to use a
 warp field generator!"

It also should be noted that you simply can't say QammeH'a', because
both -meH and -'a' are Type 9 verb suffixes, and you can only have
one suffix of any given type on a verb.

So what *do* we want to say?  Well, a far better choice than Qam might
be 'oS ("represent").  That's *really* what we're trying to say, isn't
it?  "Does it represent anything?"  Going down this road, we get a
very simple, correct, and accurate Klingon rendering:

vay' 'oS'a'?        "Does it represent anything?"

I'm gonna cut this off quickly, because the net is flaking out
on me and I want to send this before I lose it!


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