tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 20 01:03:50 2002

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Re: QeD De'wI' ngermey

On Wed, 20 Nov 2002, Nick Nicholas wrote:
> already happened with Proechel anyway (due in some part to me
> ridiculing his rendering of "strange man = stranger" as "loD taQ"; I
> have a lot to answer for, I know, but I stand by that.)

Teehee.  :)

> Backwards compatibility does not mean 'unchanging'. It means
> backwards compatibility. It means you can call a stack "ghom" or
> "tlhegh" or "*Staq*" or whatever, but not make up a new word like
> "tlhurgh".

I wasn't planning on it; I wouldn't be that presumptuous.

> What's the Klingon for 'dance', you said, pointing out how lame it
> was to render it as "callisthenics"? Pure presumption. What's the

Actually, I said what's Klingon for "pray" or "worship".  The English
"I'll go pray" was translated into "I'll dance/do aerobics".

> Pitjantjara for 'computer geek'? If Klingons don't dance (and you
> can't assume they do, unless Viacom tells you they do -- since they

That's the problem -- One must presume they do, but yet we have no word
for it, or for "worship", that I can find.  You could probably do it with
a wierd construction like "make honored again" { quvqa'moH } but I'm not
sure that really cuts it.  The point was/is, this was a very drastic
change in meaning in *the* Klingon translation of the century.  But that's
neither here nor there, since my original point was not one of pure
creation, but of derivation.

> >How many other people is the conservative hardline going to drive away?
> >You almost sound proud that you weeded out some people with contrary
> opinions.
> Yeah, whatever. The point about Beesley was that he was *so*
> conservative, he refused to write any Klingon, since he felt any
> attempt to do so would be uncanonical.

What really surprises me is that I asked about developing idiomatic uses
of existing words.  Not *ONCE* did I ever suggest altering grammar or
inventing completely new words.  Not *ONCE* did I ever say anything about
changing existing text.  I deleted your reference to "Nouveau Klingon",
and how it would tick off people who show up with a brand spanking new
TKD.  Have you considered that this already occurs as a result of people
unaware of the extra literature?  Those people who haven't gone through
the "new words" list?

> thing for an artificial language. ALs either are conservative, and
> evolve with backward compatibility, or they schism and die. It's not
> like natural languages change to the point of mutual
> unintelligibility after 10 years, either.

And have I asked for anything that would not be backward compatible?  No.
Have I even asked for anything completely original?  No.

> There's nothing wrong with fear or complacency in themselves. Would
> you rather a Klingon fearlessly and uncomplacently severed from the
> mythos, in which people could make up (or get  from a Klingon
> Academie) new words for data processing? But then, *why would anyone
> want to learn such a language*?

If all you do is extend the language, what trouble is it?  Just because
"microtransaction" is going to be added to the Mirriam Webster's
dictionary this year doesn't mean suddenly English is putting objects
before subjects.

> Fear and complacency are a big part of what keeps communities
> together. (Not a popular thing to say to individualist Americans, but
> that's another thread.) With everyone brave and innovative, you get
> communities of one. And we are to trade our fear (of severing links
> with canon) and complacency (of having to devise new canon)... for
> what?

No, fear and complacency keep communities pure.  So many great leaders
have found that the one way to rally a community together is to give them
a common cause, and most often, that cause is hatred of another.  Hitler
rallied Germans behind the ideal of Aryan supremacy.  MacArthur behind the
fear of communism.  bin Laden behind the idea of Islamic jyhad, and Dubya
behind the idea of wiping out terrorists.

> And does the world *really* need a Klingon compsci textbook? Is this
> the big pressing need in the language? Doesn't Swahili need one more?
> What *is* it that you think Klingon should be used for, so as it can
> stop being a toy, and that it isn't being used for now? And I come
> back to this: why shouldn't Klingon be a toy language? Why does it
> have to be 'real'? What do we gain from it being real, that we're
> missing out on from it being a toy?

Perhaps it's just my personality.  I liked to play Civilization on the
computer because I liked to look at the big picture and see what might
have been if the world had never actually invented "religion" or if
"horseback riding" could be avoided completely in favor of mobile armored
divisions.  I like to see the gradual change, the way the wisteria in my
fishtank slowly grows out and chokes some of the nearby plants, but yet
the valisneria spiralis still manages to fire up shoots through the
wisteria's thick brush.  I can't see these things in a short period of
time, they're changes, almost imperceptible, that you can only see when
you step back and look at the events over time.

I still remember being here back in '93.  Almost a decade has gone by, and
so little has changed.  Krankor's contributions, whether good or not, were
an example of subtle evolution.  That's what fascinates me.  Anybody can
create a language that can be used in some ways, and anybody can claim
complete control over it and hold a hard line on change.  But something
devoid of change is lifeless.  All things must grow, and Klingon is
growing, even if it is at a pace that is near imperceptible.

Yes, I struck a chord, a harmonic to shatter the glass-like peacefulness
of the mailing list.  But what I find quite interesting is what I actually
have said, and what you immediately accuse me of.

All this started when I asked if I could add an idiomatic connotation to
an existing word, such as the connotation of "data structure" to the word
{ tetlh }.  Immediately that was thrown in my face as "something I'm not
allowed to do".  Then I asked how the language was to grow to encompass
new ideas not covered by the existing vocabulary, and gave ideas that
perhaps there could be an honorary secondary source of canon material.  I
asked what might happen if Okrand was to be lost, and suggested we might
want to consider a plan of action.

Never have I ever suggested changing syntax or grammar.  Never have I
suggested that random individuals create new words.  Never have I ever
said anything about making a language that was not backwards-compatible.

But immediately I'm crucified for being someone looking to fracture the
community.  Maybe you've heard similar arguments too many times already,
and I can accept that maybe some of you long-toothed Klingons are just a
bit too quick to strike people down with the mighty Bible of Okrand.  But
what are people to take away from this?  That the people who most often
use this list have no tolerance for people who posit new ideas?

"Does Klingon need a text on comp sci?"  <sarcasm mode=on>Silly me, what
was I thinking?  I'll go translate "The Three Musketeers" instead, it's
much more useful.  I'll make sure the pope dances for everyone.  Thanks
for the encouragement.</sarcasm> :)

I admire the people who've been here seemingly forever.  The grammarians
who patiently help newbies with their questions, the long-timers who shed
new insight only possible from their wealth of experience, your
accomplishments are amazing.  Don't be so quick to judge those with
different ideas.  Several people have said to me, "Well, you should go
ahead and write your text, just recognize that your idioms may not
actually get used outside of your work."  That gives me a hell of a lot
more reason to try to contribute than the people who immediately come down
with "Don't you dare try to change the language one bit, or you'll
dishonor your family and your neighbors and your neighbor's sister's

I rest my case.  I'll continue to worry about the future of the language,
but I won't be inventing any grammars or randomly generating new letter
combinations into words, have no fear.  I will attempt to work on my ideas
for a Klingon Guide To Computer Science, and I'll probably try to coin a
few obvious idioms, like { tetlh }, after, of course, explaining why I'm
using those terms -- just like one would do in English -- so I don't have
to constantly reiterate a lengthy description of abstract concepts every
time I want to refer to them.

But I won't bother you with the idea that maybe a plan for the future
would be a good thing...  And that way I won't make you think I'm plotting
to rewrite the dictionary and put subjects before verbs all of a sudden.


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