tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Dec 21 07:23:10 2007

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Re: Apology and continued search

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

Doq wrote:

> Well, compared to most of the population of Earth, I am, but I have  
> experienced a humbling moment. I went back to TKD to read about  
> relative clauses instead of relying on what I thought was rock solid  
> understanding. What I found in TKD was really disappointing.

not tlhIngan Hol mu'ghom yajlu'chu'qu'pu'. (Oo-oo-oo!)

> Basically, ghunchu'wI' is right that he does speak of the relative  
> pronoun "where" in reference to the Klingon relative clause and not as  
> part of an explanation of the relative pronouns of English, which  
> include "where".

I still disagree with this as a description of what the book says. What 
I see is "A relative clause is blah, blah, blah. In Klingon, blah, blah, 

Note that I am NOT against the idea of "where" being included in the 
meanings of the Klingon relative clause. I just don't think this 
paragraph does as much to support the notion as ghunchu'wI' claims. The 
argument is, I think, too great a leap to make without stronger 
confirmation from Okrand (either through explanation or clear example).

> Looking at the archives, I see that sometimes people ask Okrand for  
> new words. I think that the next opportunity someone comes up with to  
> do that, they should instead ask for a grammatical explanation of how  
> to say, "The captain bought the restaurant where we ate."

Okrand HAS been asked for the solution to the "ship in which I fled" 
problem. His answer was that he couldn't make the relative clause work 
for anything other than the relative subject or object as head noun. I 
presume he said he "couldn't make it work" to leave open the possibility 
that he could later come up with something that DOES work, and claim to 
have "discovered" it.

If Okrand were asked how to say "The captain bought the restaurant where 
we ate," he might come up with {Qe'Daq maSoppu'; Qe' je' HoD}, in which 
case we haven't learned anything about relative clauses and "where." It 
wouldn't mean that it can't be done; it just means that's not how he 
chose to translate that PARTICULAR sentence. You have to be very careful 
how you word your questions to him; the yes/no balance is lopsided. It's 
a lot harder to prove a negative.

> Anyway, we can see that the question version of the headless relative  
> clause can use {'Iv}, while the version with a head noun has to use  
> the command version of the question: {HoD qIppu'bogh puq'e' yIngu'.}  
> This, by necessity, abandons any relationship between the English  
> relative pronoun and its question word, since the question word has to  
> stand in for the noun and not act in apposition to it. This question  
> also requires the relative clause in it, so if you didn't know how to  
> form the relative clause, you wouldn't know how to form the question.

This asymmetry has plagued Klingonists for years.

> {nuQDaq} is a noun, though so far as we can tell, it only works as a  
> locative. That makes it different from the other question words with  
> equivalent English relative pronouns. In order to answer {nuqDaq  
> maSoppu'?} we'd say {Qe'Daq maSoppu'.}

When you say {nuqDaq}, as a locative, is different from other question 
words, I think you mean that its being a locative makes it ineligible to 
be a subject or object. If that's what you mean, it's incorrect. {nuqDaq 
wIghoS} is a perfectly valid sentence, for example.

> So, in order to link the restaurant to the relative clause, we'd have  
> to say {Qe'Daq maSoppu'bogh} in order to say "At the restaurant where  
> we ate". The problem then becomes, how to we peel {-Daq} off of the  
> {Qe'} for it to function as a subject or object in the main clause, as  
> we can with any other relative clause's head noun?

To put it more specifically, you need to remove the {-Daq} so that the 
subject or object of the main clause means "the restaurant" instead of 
"the at-the-restaurant."

> If we only used it as a locative in both the relative clause and main  
> clause, it might work, like "Meet me at the restaurant where we ate."
> Qe'Daq maSoppu'bogh HIghom.
> The problem comes when we want to say something like, "The restaurant  
> where we ate is all gone." We might say:
> loj Qe'Daq maSoppu'bogh.

This is the sort of phrase Okrand said didn't work. The head noun is not 
acting as the subject or object of the relative clause. That there's a 
locative in the subject doesn't bother me.

> "The restaurant where Krankor met SuStel is all gone."
> I'm not even going there. Yes, I could stuff words into a translation  
> into Klingon, but nobody would be able to extract the intended meaning  
> from it. You can mark a subject or object as the head noun with {-'e'}  
> to make a relative clause less ambiguous, but you can't do that to a  
> noun that already has a Type 5 suffix on it, like {Qe'Daq}. It's ugly.

Exactly. The trouble with all these "where" interpretations is that 
there's no indication that that's what you're doing.

(You'd have to use {ghom} with that sentence. I {qIH}'d Krankor in a 
hotel. No, I've never kissed or kicked him, so don't go there.)

> I do continue to object to the idea that a head noun is somehow  
> functionally independent of its relative clause. Everything Okrand  
> describes has the head noun functioning as subject or object of the  
> relative clause. When he speaks of the relative clause and its head  
> noun, it is like speaking of a noun phrase and its noun.

I disagree. Okrand is pretty explicit in describing the relative clause 
as the verb alone (which, presumably, includes any non-head-nouns 
attached to it) and the head noun as a distinct entity. The combination 
of relative clause plus head noun act as a noun in the main sentence. 
This is clearly spelled out for us.

One would not include a relative clause without a head noun, of course, 
and a noun would not be a head noun without its relative clause. They're 
not independent; one requires the other.

Stardate 7971.6

Practice the Klingon language on the tlhIngan Hol MUSH.

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