tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Nov 17 18:39:12 2002

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Re: QeD De'wI' ngermey

On Sun, 17 Nov 2002, Alan Anderson wrote:
> It looks to me like you have four options.
> 2 - Invent usage for what you require.

This is the route being actively discouraged.

> 3 - Whine and nag and petition for the kinds of terms you need.

I don't believe petitioning for something is equal to whining and nagging.
You won't get anything if you don't ask for it.  :)

> 4 - Keep working on your skills with the language in general, improving
> your vocabulary and your understanding, until either you figure out how to
> say what you want, or until you recognize that there is a true gap in the
> language in that area.

It doesn't take much to recognize there's a gap here.  The only way you
can not have a gap in the language is if you accept the idea of creating
an idiomatic use for related words, such as { tetlh } when referring to
data structures that resemble lists.  I can describe a "list" data
structure pretty easily:  { tetlh rurbogh De' }  But the question is, can
I then start referring to simply { tetlhmey } in the context of discussing
software?  This creates an idiom -- which goes back to the prior question.
I then either have to ALWAYS reiterate { tetlh rurbogh De' } or I begin to
use { tetlh } as an idiom, or I decide it's a gap in the language.

> Metaphor is not creation of idioms.  Metaphor is description using terms
> which are not necessarily literally applicable.  Idioms are either
> cultural/historical references or *established* non-literal descriptions;
> in both cases, they rely on a shared framework of existing ideas.

A metaphor is an idiom waiting to happen.  The concept of a "stack" in
computers is based on the metaphor of a stack.  Now, however, it's an

> >nor can we make reference to
> >anything outside the scope of the language.
> That of course depends on what you mean by "scope of the language".  I'd
> certainly agree that you can't say anything in a language if that thing
> can't be said in that language, but of what use is such an observation?

You can say many things in English that are not strictly English.  This
goes to the point of metaphor and the creation of idiomatic usage.
Klingon even has quite a few tools to do this, using optional affixes to
create new concepts, such as the verb suffix "ghach".  In English we have
affixes like "-ation" or "-er" to alter existing words, but most
importantly, we have the *license* to coin new words ourselves.
"Software" was not a "real word" until someone in the industry coined it
as a spoof off of "hardware".  They didn't have to clear it with Webster's
first, they could just use it and run with it.  "Byte" was completely made
up, by IBM's marketing team.  Words are being created all the time, and
existing words are constantly being extended to mean different things.
Take for example "web", as was used in the phrase "World Wide Web".

> >How much can we study
> >something that doesn't change?  What we're really doing is not studying
> >Klingon, we're practicing it.
> Fine -- once you've studied it enough to know it all, then you can stop
> studying  and just keep practicing.  Until you reach that

I think you're confusing the difference between "study" and "learn".
Consider these two sentences and tell me what you think the difference is:

tlhIngan Hol vIghoj
tlhIngan Hol vIHaD

> >But what future does the language have if
> >it doesn't grow and adapt?
> Its future is assured by only one thing: its users.  The language grows by
> being used.  It "adapts" by our using certain patterns which we end up
> promoting to the exclusion of other patterns.  If we refuse to extend it,
> then we can see its limits -- but we can also see that we're nowhere near
> actually being limited anytime soon unless we intentionally choose
> particular directions.

But we are intentionally choosing these directions.  People are asserting
that we are not allowed to extend the definition of existing terms to
reflect connotations other than that which is canon.  I'm not allowed to
coin { tetlh } to refer to a data structure because it's not reflected in
the existing canon body of source material.  We, as users, are NOT
extending the language, we're not causing any natural evolution in the
language.  At best, a lucky few get to ask Okrand for a new word every
once in a while.  That's not evolution.

> Someone ought to catalog the stages through which Klingon language students
> go.  I recognize your points as being the ones I put forth about six years
> ago or more.  They are valid, but I also believe they are irrelevant to
> your desire to write a tutorial on data structures.

I've been learning Klingon off and on for almost ten years now.  And in
that time, Klingon has not evolved past what's been printed in TKD and
KGT.  Excluding the slow influx of new vocabulary, the status quo has been
maintained.  There are several stages, I agree, and one of the early ones
is usually "Why can't I say X?"...  Another is when someone says "Why
can't I make up my own compound words?"  I went through both of those
stages already, and I've learned to live with the answers.

My question now is, what's the future of Klingon, and who is driving it?
What evolutionary path will it take?  Will it remain a toy language or
will it begin to take on a life of its own?


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