tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun May 19 14:57:09 2002

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Re: How fat is he?

From: "Agnieszka Solska" <>
> >The problem is, most of us get the feeling the only grammatical way to
> >interpret the sentence /chay' ror/ would lead to an answer like /Soj 'Iq
> >Sop/.
> chaq jImuj 'ach pIm vuDwIj.
> /Soj 'Iq Sop/ jatlhlu'meH  /qatlh ror?/ jIghelnIS.

I disagree.

"How did become fat?"
chay' rorchoH?

"He ate too much food."
Soj 'Iq Sop.

"Why did he become fat?"
qatlh rorchoH?

"Because he ate too much food."
Soj 'Iq Sop.

I don't see any reason why each of these questions can't share that answer.
One asks for the means, the other for the reason.  "He ate too much food" is
both a means and a reason.

"How fat is he?" is not asking for a means, so why would you use /chay'/
"how?" to ask it?

I think the reason reason why some are tempted to do this is their native
language bias.  In English, for example, "how?" can be applied to a verb to
ask for a means (e.g., "how + eat" asks for the means of eating something).
"How?" can also be applied to an adjective or an adverb to ask for
qualification of that word (e.g., "how + fast" asks for qualitative
information about the subject's speed, not its means for doing something).

Klingon doesn't have adjectives, and the adverbials aren't separate from the
other /chuvmey/.  Neither do we have any evidence that question words can be
applied directly to adverbials.  Question words apply to the sentence, and
Klingon sentences, clauses, and verbs are all really the same thing.
Adjectivally acting verbs are still verbs, and these verbs are severely
limited as to what they can do (only some rovers, and that's absolutely

Klingon /ror/ is as much a verb as /Sop/ is.  We have canon: /chay' Soj
vISop/ "How do I eat the food?" from Conversational Klingon (note that it's
not asking "How well did I eat the food?").  If /chay' Sop/ means "How does
he eat?" then the only way /chay' ror/ would mean "How fat is he?" would be
if there is a radically different meaning for /chay'/ depending on whether
its sentence has an action verb of a verb of quality.  Again, I see no
evidence to support this.

Stardate 2381.3

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