tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Dec 17 06:05:02 2007

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Re: jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe'

Doq (

Again, I see that we may be lumping together two things that Klingons  
may see as very different. The relative clause CAN mean "where"  
without giving us a resolution to the "ship in which I fled" problem.  

DoSDaq ngu'bogh HoD jor peng.
The torpedo exploded at the target that the captain identified.

Where did the torpedo explode? The relative clause does fulfill that  

What we can't translate is "The torpedo hit the city where the captain  
visited his brother." If we try, we get *{vengDaq loDnI'Daj Suchbogh  
HoD qIp peng.}* Nothing here tells us whether the torpedo hit the  
captain, the captain's brother or the city. All these translations  
would be valid:

"The torpedo hit the city where the captain visits his brother."
"The torpedo hit the captain who visits his brother in the city."
"The torpedo hit the captain's brother, whom the captain visits in the  

And if that example is not confusing enough, it's really easy to make  
something worse.

How about "The city where the captain visits her sister is beautiful."  
*{'IH vengDaq be'nI'Daj Such HoD.}* Who or what is beautiful here? The  
captain? Her sister? The city? This could be translated the following  

"The city where the captain visits her sister is beautiful."
"The captain's sister, whom she visits in the city, is beautiful."
"The captain, who visits her sister in the city, is beautiful."

In other words, a noun functioning as a locative for a main clause can  
have a relative clause wrapped around it, but you can't have a subject  
or object of a main clause have a relative clause wrapped around it  
where the head noun acts as a locative for the relative clause.

This makes sense because only one noun in a relative clause has a  
grammatical function in both the main and relative clauses. That's the  
relative clause's head noun. We have no indication that the head noun  
can be anything other than subject or object of the relative clause.  
That's a level of complexity that would make for sentences that would  
be extremely difficult to parse because in Klingon, word order tells  
you a lot about the grammatical function of a word, and it would be  
extremely easy for words to land in extremely ambiguous places if you  
let the relative clause's head noun become a Type 5 suffixed noun  
within the relative clause.

It is already ambiguous if you don't mark the head noun with {-'e'}  
when the relative clause has both a subject and object. It would be  
worse if the relative clause had a locative and a subject and an  
object and somehow you were supposed to figure out that the locative  
was the head noun for the relative clause.

Maybe someday this will be legal, but even if it gets Okrand's  
approval, it would make very confusing sentences. Even if it didn't  
violate the grammar, it would not be as useful as people seem to think  
it would be, in my opinion.

And that is nothing more than my opinion.


On Dec 16, 2007, at 6:14 PM, Alan Anderson wrote:

> ja' SuStel:
>> Which means that "The restaurant where we ate," an illustrative
>> example
>> that is not translated, explained, or shown in any canon, cannot be
>> used
>> to support the notion that relative clauses inherently include any
>> kind
>> of locative sense.
> I didn't mean to imply that relative clauses can automatically form
> locatives.  I'm just pointing out that TKD says a relative clause can
> be translated using the relative pronoun "where".  In concert with
> TKD's previously given explanation of how relative clauses are
> translated into English, I think this "illustrative example" is
> enough support to consider {maSoppu'bogh Qe'} to be a grammatically
> proper Klingon phrase.
> Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you mean by "locative sense".  The
> restaurant phrase is a noun described by a relative-clause-marked
> verb, and would still need {-Daq} in order to function as a locative
> in a larger sentence.  {jIHtaHbogh naDev} does not, but I agree that
> it's because of the word {naDev} and not because of the {-bogh}.
> -- ghunchu'wI'

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