tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Nov 21 12:06:46 2002

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Re: RE: QeD De'wI' ngermey

From: "...Paul" <>
> On Thu, 21 Nov 2002, David Trimboli wrote:
> > From: "...Paul" <>
> > > mu'vetlh vIjatlhtaHvIS HughwIj 'oy' law' vItlhutlhtaHvIS jatwIj 'oy'
> >
> > Oh boy.  You've followed the pattern of the known-to-be-ungrammatical
> > /QamvIS Hegh QaQ law' torvIS Hegh QaQ puS/.  It's not only ungrammatical
> > because of the lack of /-taH/s.  It's also got subordinate clauses
> > NOUNS, not attached to sentences.
> My copy of the Grammarian's Desk says it's legal, and quotes the line from
> ST6 about "It's better to die on one's feet than to live on one's
> knees"...

Krankor is (a) not a canon source of Klingon, and (b) wrong a whole lot.

The Grammarian's Desk is a fantastic resource, not for authentic or even
correct Klingon, but because he gets you to THINK about Klingon.  I disagree
with Krankor about a lot of of things in his column, but nonetheless it was
his writing that has elicited more epiphanies from me than anything else
concerning the language.  Krankor is a genuine out-of-the-box thinker.

Again, I don't have THE KLINGON WAY in front of me, but that line is
acknowledge by Okrand to be an exceptional sentence, and I don't give it
much weight.  Subordinate clauses simply don't modify nouns!  I doubt
Krankor even noticed this abberation.  I know I didn't for years.

> > You can't say */QamtaHvIS Hegh/ for "death while standing."  /-vIS/
> > modify verbs, not nouns.  Likewise, you can't say */mu'vetlh
> > HughwIj/ for "my throat while speaking that word."  And you can't say
> > the subordinate clause is modifying the entire sentence, because you've
> > got */vItlhutlhtaHvIS jatwIj/ "my tongue while I am drinking it."
> > of these works.
> Ah, but the clauses aren't modifying the nouns.  would not { QamtaHvIS
> Hegh ghaH } be legal for "He died while standing", since { Hegh } is also
> a verb?  Now if you removed the optional { ghaH } you get exactly what you
> said is not possible...

Bzzt.  Sorry.  Thanks for playing.

You can justify ANYTHING by saying you're going to drop words.  "It's
Clipped Klingon!"  "It's a dropped pronoun!"  That just doesn't work.  In
this case, if you're removing an optional /ghaH/ from /QamtaHvIS Hegh ghaH/,
that means you're removing /ghaH/ from */QamtaHvIS Hegh ghaH QaQ law'
tortaHvIS Hegh ghaH QaQ puS/, and that makes no sense.  You can't have
sentences in the A and B slots in a law'/puS sentence!

Besides, in the sentence /QamtaHvIS Hegh ghaH/, /Hegh/ is a verb, not a
noun.  /Hegh/ (n) and /Hegh/ (v) are different words.  This trick wouldn't
look like it worked for any verb that doesn't have a noun counterpart.

People sometimes justify violating the rule of not having a Type 5 noun
suffix on a noun-noun construction by saying they dropped the verb from a
sentence.  (E.g., "/mIvDaq vIghro'/ is just clipped from /mIvDaq vIghro'
tu'lu'/!")  Bah.  That's nonsense.

> > (/'oy'/ may also be a bad choice, since its definition doesn't make it
> > whether it's an action, a quality, or both.  Can you talk about an /'uS
> > 'oy'/ "sore leg"?  Or does it have to be an /'oy'bogh 'uS/ "leg which
> > aches"?)
> Most of the examples I've seen have used { QaQ }, and although it doesn't
> suffer from having a similar noun form, could you not also then have { 'uS
> QaQ } "good leg" and { QaQbogh 'uS } "leg which is good"?
> I can see the confusion with the fact that { 'oy' } can be a noun as well
> as a verb, but given the construction, isn't the verb form implied?  Given
> that, the { vIjatlhtaHvIS } isn't modifying a noun, it's a clause
> modifying the sentence...

You've missed my point.  All verbs cannot be used adjectivally.  Only those
describing a quality can.  You can't say */loD qet/ (though you CAN say
/qetbogh loD/ "running man"), but you can say /loD QaQ/ "good man."

So is /'oy'/ "ache, hurt, be sore (v)" an action ("My leg hurts") or a
quality ("My leg is sore")?  I'm pretty sure we don't have any evidence one
way or the other.

Stardate 2890.5

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