tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Dec 02 00:03:47 2007

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: Basic grammar question

Qang qu'wI' (

On Dec 1, 2007 9:05 PM, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> [re: prefix trick] his attention was called to a number of examples which
violate the rules in
>TKD in a way that English speakers would find natural because of rules
>of English, so he backfit an explanation.


That likely explains why I have an instinctive lack of fondness for the
'prefix trick' (too much like English).  I've pretty much adopted a
philosophy of not using it.

> [re: my broken sentence ideas] But we DO know that it apparently violates
rules set out in
> TKD. Given that at least, I'd stick to the book.

I would be interested if you could cite specifically, but just as a matter
of interest. I'm not proposing that anything other than {maleng qorDu'wIj
jIH je} is the correct Klingon.

Thanks to everyone who responded, I've been digesting.  It's allowed me to
have a clearer view of what I was thinking, and I'll describe below.

One of the things that originally attracted me to tlhIngan Hol was the idea
that MO drew upon knowledge of a variety of different languages, and (I
believe it's been stated somewhere) had the specific goal of making tlhIngan
Hol to be 'un-English'.  The 'un-English' part really (really) appeals to
me.  As a result, I find that I am becoming more and more sensitive to
seeing all the ways in which English leaks into Klingon.  Usually, when I
sense that happening, I try to find another way to express the Klingon.

What spontaneously occurred to me in the case that I originally posted was
the feeling that I really construct {maleng qorDu'wIj jIH je} using English
grammar, save for the re-ordering that comes from Klingon grammar.  This was
triggered by the thought that *in principle*, the {jIH je} wouldn't have to
be there.  And then I wonder: where is the boundary between what I may
inadvertently be presupposing when I read the grammar rules due to my own
English biases and what MO may have intended (including his own English

As a result though, I now can't help but see {maleng qorDu'wIj jIH je} as
just a coded English sentence:

              my family and I travel ->travel [my family and i]
              -> travel [my family] I and -> travel       family my  I
                                                        maleng   qorDu' wIj
jIH je.

It's pretty much one-for-one in words and usage since the ordering rules of
Klingon are so specific. (with the only variation due to the fact that
English wouldn't have the verb marking).  All by itself this isn't so bad,
because It's going to have to happen sometimes.  But in this case, I could
see that it wasn't necessary in principle, and so that sort of tweaked my
desire to see where 'un-English' would lead.

I'm not proposing that the following is correct Klingon (I'm pretty certain
that it's not at all), but I *wish* it were. <g>

There are really two avenues that Klingon could have had stronger
distinctions from English in the above.

It could possibly have worked that when the prefix {ma-} is used, since that
automatically indicates that the speaker is included in the subject, {jIH
je} could be inferred and added to whatever the subject was (if needed):

**bad Klingon: ** {maleng targh}  "the targh and I travel"

I would like this, because it would mean that even more careful attention
would have to be paid to the prefix, and I could see eventually acquiring
the *feel* of this, even though I would have to do it analytically right
now.  And it satisfies my personal 'un-English' desire.


For nouns that indicate a group, it could have been possible for Klingons to
consider the group first person in some cases (or as desired by the speaker)
when the possessive is used.

**bad Klingon: **{tuqwIj juquvmoH} "you honor my house (us)"

Which would be different than the way we would normally think using English
grammar, where we speak of the group we belong to in 3rd person.

The two ideas are sort of confounded in **bad Klingon:**{maleng qorDu'wIj}.

This can all be categorized as a philosophical digression, I suppose.

Qang qu'wI'

Back to archive top level