tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Dec 21 12:40:25 2007

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Re: Apology and continued search

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

Doq wrote:
> On Dec 21, 2007, at 10:19 AM, David Trimboli wrote:
>> 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, blah."
> No, more accurately it says, "Relative clauses are translated into 
> English as blah, blah, blah. In Klingon, blah, blah, blah."
> I had remembered it like you describe it, but was dismayed to see
> that my memory was incorrect. He doesn't say that in English, we use
>  relative pronouns for the grammatical construction Klingon gets by
>  suffixing a verb with {-bogh}. What he actually says sounds like
> that the relative clause he is describing is a Klingon relative
> clause. Otherwise, why did he use the word "translate"?

He doesn't say "are translated from Klingon," he just says "translate."
I am quite convinced he was talking about the production of relative
clauses in English, whether originally or translated from ANY language.
I think he was just speaking sloppily.

>> 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).
> That's where I'm half-way between you and ghunchu'wI'. I think it
> DOES suggest that there is a way to translate "the restaurant where
> we ate", but he doesn't bother telling us how and has not give us any
>  useful tools to figure it out.

I mostly agree with you here. Okrand never says you CAN'T translate such
a phrase, but he never comes out and says you CAN, or how you would if
you could.

I don't claim to see any rule AGAINST the idea that relative clauses can
include English "where" clauses. I just don't see enough evidence to
support the idea; all we have is a couple of vague ideas thrown at us.
Those ideas certainly do not lead to any clear notion of how it would be
done, if it is doable at all.

> I suspect that it's a matter of carelessness on his part. If he had
>  thought about it more, he probably would not have mentioned "where"
> or "the restaurant where we ate" so he wouldn't have to come up with
>  grammar to accomplish the translation.

I quite agree.

>> 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.
> Quite true. Then again, you are pointing to one of those rather 
> idiomatic features of locative nouns and that small set of verbs that
>  can take locative nouns as direct objects.

I don't think locatives are RESTRICTED from being the subject or object
of Klingon sentences. The reason they usually don't appear is that the
subject or object has to be locative to have a locative noun. There is
little call for such things.

I just thought of something that might demonstrate a locative subject:

tlhIngan wa': pa'Daq pa' HurDaq ghap 'avwI' vIQammoHlaH.
tlhIngan cha': qaq pa'Daq.

Yes, you could word this differently, but I don't see any rule or
semantics that prevent you saying it this way.

> The point I realize I made poorly was that when you answer an {'Iv}
> question, you replace {'Iv} with the noun. When you answer a {nuq}
> question, the noun replaces {nuq}. When you answer a {nuqDaq}
> question, you answer with the noun plus {-Daq}.
> In other words, {nuqDaq} is not really a question word. It fully 
> functions as the noun {nuq} with the suffix {-Daq}. For example, if I
> ask {nuqDaq maSop?} your answer might be {Qe'Daq maSop.} Your answer
> would not be {Qe' maSop} or {Qe' wISop}. In other words, {nuqDaq}
> more accurately translates to {at the location of what?} instead of
> {where?}. While it is semantically equivalent, it is not
> syntactically equivalent. The answer to a Klingon question is
> supposed to replace the question word in the original question to
> form the fully stated answer. That's not what happens with {nuqDaq}.

It IS what happens if you consider something like {Qe'} + {-Daq} to be a 
single noun, not just a noun plus a locative. {Qe'Daq} is not a 
preposition; it is a noun just like {Qe'} is a noun. It means something 
different than {Qe'}, though. It is a locative concept. {nuqDaq}, 
meanwhile, is the question word that replaces locatives. {Qe'Daq} is to 
{nuqDaq} as {Qe'} is to {nuq}.

Something to consider: we know we can say {naDevvo'}. {naDev} is already 
a locative noun. Can one say {nuqDaqvo'}? If so, doesn't that rule out 
{nuqDaq} just being {nuq} plus {-Daq}? (I don't claim to have any 
answers to this; it's just something to think about.)

>> 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."
> Exactly, but if you do that, you've broken the link between the head
> noun and its relative clause. It's relationship with the {-bogh} 
> appended verb is defined by {-Daq}, and without it, the relative 
> clause no longer describes the head noun. It becomes meaningless.


> While I don't have a prescribed grammatical rule to say that a 
> locative can't be a subject, I just can't come up with any examples
> where it does. It doesn't seem productive to cling to the idea until
> I see an example that works.

I've tried to give an example above, but there's a difference between 
clinging to an idea and refusing to discount an idea that hasn't been 
contradicted. Nothing we have says locatives can't be subjects; we've 
just never seen one in canon (the way I mean). I don't claim that this 
makes them valid, but I can't agree with this meaning they're invalid, 

> The problem I see here is that Okrand has laid out rules for nouns 
> that define their function in a main clause or a separate dependent
>  clause either by position or by Type 5 suffix. He does not give us
> any rules for using anything but position to define the grammatical
>  function of nouns within relative clauses or purpose clauses applied
>  to nouns. That means that {Qe'Daq maSoppu'bogh} has already broken
> the rules before we try to place it in any main clause.

It means that there is no rule that supports it, but it doesn't mean 
rules have been broken.

> If, as you have said, the head noun must be the subject or object of
> the relative clause, I fail to see the utility of insisting on a
> head noun as being grammatically separate from the relative clause.
> The closest thing I can come to understanding this is in the case
> where the head noun is suffixed with a type 5 noun suffix that is
> meaningful in the main clause, but not in the relative clause.

Well, the utility, as presented by ghunchu'wI', would be similar to that 
with {-meH} modifying nouns: the head noun would be the location "where" 
something happens, and would always come last. The head noun wouldn't 
shift based on whether it's a subject or object, because it isn't 
either. But, as has been pointed out, it becomes very hard to parse 
sentences like this, because the relative clause with subjects and 
objects will be hanging onto a sentence with no obvious semantic tie to it.

> I think we are actually agreeing in substance, though continuing to
> argue about terms. We may very well have been doing so for some time
> now.

Agreed, for the most part. I think the mix-ups in terms has led to some 
substantive misunderstandings.

Stardate 7972.2

Practice the Klingon language on the tlhIngan Hol MUSH.

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