tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Dec 14 06:23:17 2007

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

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

Re: jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe'

David Trimboli ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

QeS 'utlh wrote:
> mujuSbogh Sojmey vIlegh vIneHmo' wa'wen QInmey vIlaDtaH.
> mu'tlhegh {nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e'?} lubopbogh QIn vIlaD, 'ej Voragh wa'
> QInDaq mu'tlheghvam vItu':
> jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe'
> I'm lost. TKD
> chay' bopoj? vIpoj 'e' vInID 'ach Hatlaw'. mu'tlheghHom wa'DIch
> 'ay' 'oHchugh {naDev}'e', Hat (mu'tlhegh bI'reSDaq poHmey Daqmey je
> perbogh DIp lulo'nISlu'), 'ej mu'tlheghHom cha'DIch 'ay' 'oHchugh, Hat
> je (KCDDaq mu'tlhegh {Dajatlhbogh vIyajbe'} wIghaj, 'ach Soj DIp'e'
> ghajnIS mojaq {-bogh} lulo'bogh wotmey roD net Qublaw').
> chay' pojnISlu'?
> SKI: QeS 'utlh is puzzled about the TKD sentence {jIHtaHbogh naDev
> vISovbe'}. No matter which clause {naDev} is parsed into, it seems to
> be illegal, unless it's further evidence for headless relative clauses.

I believe this sentence works according to the rules, albeit somewhat 
unexpectedly. The key lies in understanding the nature of the 
pronoun-as-verb. They aren't used *exactly* like verbs. To better define 
them, I'm going to invent some terminology to describe this structure.

When used as a verb, the pronoun takes a "copulative." This is a noun 
that is being "linked" with the pronoun. In the pronoun-as-verb 
sentence, the copulative is always required. Thus

    HoD ghaH
    He is the captain.

If you want to identify one copulative as being the same as some other 
noun, you do so by adding a "topic." The topic is always added to the end.

    HoD ghaH Qugh'e'
    Kruge is the captain.

This is exactly the same sentence as before with exactly the same 
meaning, but with a topic added. "As for Kruge, he is the captain."

I've used the word "link" without defining it. The link relationship is 
a little broader than the English copula. It means that the copulative 
has an object-like relationship to the pronoun, where the pronoun is 
treated much like a verb meaning "to be." In other words, {HoD ghaH} is 
more than just saying "him, captain." It's a verbal sentiment. He *is* 
the captain. He acts in the role of captain. Because the pronoun's role 
is verbal, you can use verb suffixes on it:

    HoD ghaHchoH Qugh'e'
    Kruge starts being the captain.
    (As for Kruge, he starts being the captain.)

Remember, the topic is not a subject of the prounoun, though the 
copulative is more or less an object of the pronoun.

But what about sentences like {pa'Daq ghaH HoD'e'}? What's happening 
here? Exactly the same thing. {pa'Daq} is the copulative. It's the 
object of the pronoun. We know that objects can be locatives and the 
like. {yuQDaq vIjaH} "I go to the planet." It's no different with the 
pronoun-as-verb sentence.

    pa'Daq ghaH HoD'e'
    The captain is in the room.
    (As for the captain, he is in the room.)

This is also why you don't say things like {pa'Daq HoD ghaH} -- although 
you could. But this sentence doesn't mean "As for the captain, he is in 
the room"; it means something like "In the room, he is the captain." 
Perhaps this means that if he leaves the room, he'll stop being the 
captain. {pa'vo' HoD ghaHbe'}

We're almost there. The following is a perfectly understandable sentence:

    naDev jIH
    I am here.

This isn't an adverbial locative stuck in front of a headless verb; it's 
a locative copulative linked to a verbal pronoun. "I *am* here." "My 
being is done here." Therefore, one should not be terribly surprised if 
we turn this into a relative clause:

    naDev jIHtaHbogh
    the here for which I am

This is awkward in English, but it makes perfect sense in Klingon. "The 
here for which I am doing my being." Now you can use this clause as a 
subject or object in a sentence:

    naDev jIHtaHbogh vISovbe'
    I don't know the here for which I am

Again, a terrible phrase in English, but perfectly sensible in Klingon.

But wait! That's not how the original sentence goes! That's

    jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe'

What's up with that?

There are a couple of possible answers to this. The most obvious, and in 
my opinion the most likely to be correct, is that this phrase has been 
fossilized in an older form. That may sound like a cop-out; we could 
have just used the fossilized idiom excuse at the start and avoided all 
this analysis. But consider: there's no rule anywhere that says the 
copulative *has* to come before the prounoun. It always does, except for 
this sentence, in the canon, so this must obviously be the rule. But 
it's conceivable that there has been, or is, another rule that says that 
copulatives can come after the pronoun as well. This might also explain 
the otherwise anomalous {SoH 'Iv} "Who are you?" from Conversational 
Klingon. (Why isn't it {'Iv SoH}?) Being such a common phrase, it may 
indicate an earlier, more fluid syntax for the pronoun-as-verb.

As long as we don't get hung up with the odd word order, which isn't 
absolutely wrong (it *is* canon, after all), then this sentence makes 
perfect sense:

    jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe'
    I don't know the here for which I am.

Stardate 7952.2

Practice the Klingon language on the tlhIngan Hol MUSH.

Back to archive top level