tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Nov 26 05:42:09 2005

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Re: Klingon at the Thanksgiving table

QeS la' ([email protected])

ghItlhpu' no'aH, ja':
>So this Thanksgiving, I spoke some Klingon to the relatives at the table. 
>My father had gotten
>everyone situated, my step-grandfather had said the prayer, and as everyone 
>was about to dash
>into the monging, I called out, "Everyone. I have prepared a brief bit 
>which I'd like to share with
>you all."
>12 heads swiveled to look at me, as my father joked, "Is it in Klingon?"
>"Yes. But I'll read the English after each of the three lines."
>This is what had been written in my own HolQeD:

>I thank you all for being here today.
>naDev DaHjaj SaHmoH Satlho'.

You've confused the type 4 causative {-moH} with the type 9 {-mo'} "because 
of", and the prefix on that verb should be 2nd person plural with no object: 
so {SuSaHmo'}. Other than that, it's fine. I personally would put {naDev} 
adjacent to {SuSaHmo'} to reinforce that connection, but I can't find any 
canon that contradicts the order of adverbial nouns you've used.

>And you honor me with your presense.
>'ej SuSaHghaH HutlhHu' tubatlhneS.

Mmm... a lot to be fixed here.

Let's start with the first verb, {SuSaHghaH}, which I assume means "your 
presence". To start off with, I suspect you intended to use the suffix 
{-ghach} and make the noun "your being present". However, we've never had 
any canon in which a verb plus {-ghach} takes pronominal prefixes; for "your 
being present", you'd need the possessive instead: {SaHghachraj}. However, 
we have a slight complication in that {-ghach} almost never appears without 
another suffix, and when it does, it's highly marked: {SaHghachraj} would be 
like saying in English "your presentness" or the like. To make this work 
with a verb plus {-ghach}, I'd have to either say {SaHtaHghach} "presence" 
(or, since the people are there for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving, 
maybe {SaHlI'ghach} "presence which has a goal or ultimate stopping point"?) 
or, using a different verb, {ghoSpu'ghach} "having come", neither of which 
I'm particularly happy with. The shortest answer would be to drop your 
English-speaking bias towards nouns, be Klingon, and use a verb instead. :) 
To be short, simple, and accurate, just say {SuSaHmo'} "because you are 

Next, {HutlhHu'}. I'm not really sure what you tried to do with this, unless 
you intended something with {HutlhHa'} "un-lacking" for "with"? Klingon 
doesn't have any word that directly corresponds to "with", and if you use 
{SuSaHmo'} you don't need one: "with your presence" becomes "because you are 

Finally, {tubatlhneS}. Nice to see both the correct usage of the pronominal 
prefix {tu-}, which is particularly rare, and the use of the suffix {-neS} 
which is probably the second most ignored suffix in Klingon, right behind 
{-beH}. Nevertheless, {batlh} is not a verb, but a noun. For the verb, you 
need to use {quv} "to be honoured" plus the causative {-moH}: {tuquvmoHneS} 
"you honour me" (literally, "you cause me to be honoured"). ({quvmoH} "to 
honour" is in the TKD addendum.)

All up: {SuSaHmo' tuquvmoHneS} "Because you are present, you honoured ones 
honour me."

>I love you all.
>bandwI' SoHmey.

The plural second person pronoun is {tlhIH}, and I think you intended 
{bangwI'} "my love(s)". Recall that nouns in Klingon, unless overtly marked 
for plural, are inherently unmarked for either singular or plural: they 
could be one or the other, and here {tlhIH} does a perfectly fine job of 
disambiguating. So {bangwI' tlhIH}. You could add a plural prefix, but it 
would have to be {-pu'} (for beings capable of using language) and not 
{-mey} (see TKD section 3.3.2), and it would have to be added to the noun 
{bang} rather than the pronoun: {bangpu'wI' tlhIH} "you are my loves".

>So how heavily have I dishonored myself in front of the family?

If they don't speak Klingon, not at all. But if you don't do it right next 
time... {{:)


QeS la'
taghwI' pabpo' / Beginners' Grammarian

not nItoj Hemey ngo' juppu' ngo' je
(Old roads and old friends will never deceive you)
     - Ubykh Hol vIttlhegh

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