tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Dec 16 10:34:37 2007

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Re: jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe'

Alan Anderson (aranders@insightbb.com) [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']



So this is what you guys have been discussing while I was temporarily  
unsubscribed?  I wish I had checked the web archives earlier, because  
I have some interesting observations on the topic.

The phrase is small.  It's only three words, and only one of them is  
a noun.  If it is grammatically correct, it ought to yield to  
analysis, right?

Let's start with the noun:
   {naDev} "here"

It's in the wrong place to be the object of the {jIHtaHbogh} pronoun- 
as-be-verb.  The pronoun is {jIH}, so {naDev} isn't its subject  
either; it lacks the required {-'e'} anyway.  It makes sense only as  
a locative or as the object of {vISovbe'}:  "I don't know here" or "I  
don't know it, here."

There's one main verb (one lacking a Type 9 suffix):
   {vISovbe'} "I do not know [it]."

This is so straightforward that there's little to say about it.  With  
{naDev} as its object, "I don't know here" is a fine interpretation,  
though it could also be a locative: "I don't know it, here."

The only other word in the sentence has a relative-clause marker:
   {jIHtaHbogh}

Now we have a problem.  Relative clauses act as a noun in the main  
clause.  What's the head noun here?  If it's an example of the  
mythical "headless relative", the clause would mean "what I am", and  
that doesn't fit the sentence.  This clause is in the object position  
of the main sentence.  We already know that "here" is the obvious  
object of the main clause, and we've already ruled out {naDev} as  
either subject or object of the relative clause.  So we're at a dead  
end...or are we?

Let's do some careful research.  TKD 6.2.3 describes relative clauses:
"Relative clauses are translated into English as phrases beginning  
with who, which, where, and, most commonly, that."  Then it gives  
some examples in English: "Like adjectives, they describe nouns: the  
dog which is running, the cat that is sleeping, the child who is  
playing, the restaurant where we ate."

Do you notice something here that we typically ignore?  "The  
restaurant WHERE we ate."  Relative clauses include the idea of "where"!

We know that a relative clause's noun can take on essentially any  
role in the main clause.  It's a subject in {mulegh qIppu’bogh yaS}  
(TKD p.64).  It's an object in {qIppu’bogh yaS vIlegh} (TKD p.64).   
It's a locative in {meQtaHbogh qachDaq Suv qoH neH} (TKW p.111).  But  
we're given explicit examples only of the head noun as subject or  
object of the relative clause.  Indeed, in the interview reported in  
HolQeD 4:2, Marc Okrand said “I couldn't make the {-bogh} thing work  
for me with anything other than subject or object.”  That seems to  
rule out a direct translation of "the restaurant where we ate".

But maybe he had forgotten the {jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe'} phrase,  
which looks like a perfect example of such non-subject, non-object  
usage.  The only noun in the sentence is {naDev}.  We've ruled it out  
as the subject and the object of the relative clause.  If it's part  
of the clause at all, it has to be something else.  We've read that  
relative clauses include the idea translated as "where" in English.   
So the remaining possibility is to  translate {jIHtaHbogh naDev} as  
"here where I am".

And now the analysis is complete.  "I do not know [the] here where I  
am." It follows the rules as given in TKD.  I made only a tiny  
assumption about word order to account for the lack of a specific  
example in the explanation of relative clauses.

I wrote an article about this for HolQeD many years ago.  It was  
rejected by at least one of my peers, partly for extrapolating far  
beyond what I've written here.  So I'm going to leave this for you  
all to ponder, and I'm not going to explore any hypothetical  
implications of the "ship in which I fled" issue.

-- ghunchu'wI'




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