tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Sep 18 13:01:56 2002

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Re: TKW p. 186

>I just fell over this, from TKW, page 186 says:
>   {yIvoq 'ach lojmItmey yISam}
>   "Trust but locate the doors."
>--> {lojmItmey tISam}.
>   Qu' DataghDI' 'aqtu' mellota' je yIqaw
>   "When you begin a mission, remember Aktuh and Melota."
>Am I missing something, or is this a known error?

 From "Klingon for the Galactic Traveller" (pp. 140-41):

     Younger Klingons also tend to use the imperative prefix yI- in
   circumstances judged inappropriate by older Klingons. In standard
   Klingon, the prefix yI- is attached to a verb to form a command
   given to one person if there is either no object or a singular object,
   as in, for example, yIjatlh! ("Speak!") or jagh yIHIv! ("Attack the
   enemy!"). Also, it is used to form a command given to more than one
   person if the object is singular: jagh yIHIv ("[all of you] attack
   the enemy!") When the object is plural, however, the prefix tI- is
   used instead, whether the command is given to one or more than one:
   jaghpu' tIHIv! ("Attack the enemies!") Some younger Klingons are
   apt to use yI- rather than tI- when the object is plural, saying,
   for example, jaghpu' yIHIv! for "Attack the enemies!" This
   construction is heard with increasing regularity, though hardly a
   majority of the time. It leads to no misunderstanding as long as the
   object noun (jaghpu' ["enemies"] in the examples above) is marked
   for plural--that is, as long as it has a plural suffix (here, -pu')
   or is a word that is inherently plural (such as cha ["torpedoes"]).
   Since marking the plural is never required, however, jagh could mean
   "enemy" or "enemies." While in standard Klingon there is no ambiguity
   in these kinds of commands--jagh tIHIv! must mean "Attack the enemies!"
   because tI- is used specifically for plural objects--in the younger
   generation's way of speaking, jagh yIHIv! could be either "Attack
   the enemy!" or "Attack the enemies!", since yI- is used with both
   singular and plural objects and jagh could be either. On the other
   hand, this ambiguous use of yI- makes it possible to be vague on
   purpose. That is, in Klingon (and in Federation Standard also, for
   that matter), there is no easy way to say "Attack the enemy or enemies,
   however many there may be." The younger Klingons' jagh yIHIv, however,
   means exactly that. Despite this debatable advantage, and despite the
   slow but ongoing spread of the practice among younger speakers, most
   Klingons still consider the ambiguous use of yI- an error.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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