tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Oct 14 10:34:33 2002

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Re: KLBC: Two quick questions

ghItlh qurgh:

>I received the latest copy of HolQeD over the weekend and after reading
>it from cover to cover two questions have popped up.
>The first one is from HoD Qanqor's article.
>He mentions a formula which I haven't seen before:
><verb>meH Qu'
>I think it is a case of "I wasn't pay attention and missed it" but I was
>wondering what this is commonly translated as? To me it means "a duty
>for doing the verb" but I'm guessing that there is something else to it.
>Could you expand on it for me?

It's times like this I wish the search function on the list archives was 
working again.  I believe this idea was proposed/developed by charghwI', the 
master recaster, as a way to express ideas like "It's difficult to kill a 
Klingon" or "Killing a Klingon is difficult."  charghwI' had spent a lot of 
time thinking about the use of {-meH}, in particular how it behaves when 
modifying nouns rather than verbs.

(If anyone has a different recollection of this, please correct me.  My 
memory for such things is not as good as some other participants here.)

The specific issue is that you can't use a sentence as a subject.  You can 
use a sentence as an object, using the pronouns {'e'} or {net}.  But there's 
no counterpart for a subject.

Sentence as object:
{tlhIngan vIHoH 'e' Dalegh}
You saw that I killed a Klingon.

How would you say, "Killing the Klingon was difficult"?  You can't do it 
like this:

* {tlhIngan vIHoH 'e' Qatlh}

You can make two sentences out of it:

{tlhIngan vIHoH.  Qatlh ('oH).}

In this case, you're using the pronoun {'oH} (whether it's stated or not, 
since pronouns are optional) to represent the idea of the whole sentence 
{tlhIngan vIHoH}.  But wait a minute, a pronoun replaces a noun, not a 
sentence.  You couldn't say, for example:

* {tlhIngan vIHoH.  Qatlh 'e'.}

So, what is the subject of {Qatlh}?  It must be a noun.  And if you want to 
use that noun in a sentence, rather than a pronoun, what do you do?

charghwI' found an answer in his analysis of {-meH}, and came up with:

{Qatlh tlhIngan HoHmeH Qu'.}

So, presumably, the {'oH} in {tlhIngan vIHoH.  Qatlh 'oH.} represents a noun 
like {mIw}, {Qu'}, etc.

The literal translation of {HoHmeH Qu'} is really awkward in English,  but 
it's attested in forms like {ghojmeH taj}.  So, the form has been 
generalized, {<verb>-meH Qu'}, again I believe as suggested by charghwI', to 
illustrate its general usefulness.  I'd say it's now commonly used and 
understood without hesitation by most folks on this list.

ngeDqu' lo'vam yajmeH Qu'.

>The second question was from Brent Kesler's article on -be' and -Ha'. 
> >qatlho'

I'll let someone else have a go at this.


--Holtej 'utlh

d'Armond Speers, Ph.D.

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