tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Dec 21 21:34:09 2007

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Re: Apology and continued search

Doq (

First, thank you for a very thought-provoking post. Onto the thoughts:

On Dec 21, 2007, at 3:38 PM, David Trimboli wrote:

> 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.

It's a very odd use of the word "translate". Meanwhile, it is  
challenging to write something the length of TKD without occasionally  
falling to odd word choices now and then, especially when writing what  
is essentially a technical book for a non-technical audience, all  
while maintaining your day job.

We can agree that the wording is sloppy and speaking for myself, I can  
let go of any differences in our interpretation here. It's not  
significant enough to worry about.

>>> 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.

Sometimes I suspect that he leaves stuff like this intentionally so  
that if someone else manages to solve the problem for him in a way  
that he can accept, he won't have to solve the problem himself, and if  
nobody solves it in an acceptable way, he'll just never get back to  
it. It won't be important because he'll ignore it. It doesn't really  
matter if it becomes important to anyone else.

>>> 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 trick here is that you are using context to compress an entire  
sentence into a single noun. That's normal in English. Likely, it is  
normal in Klingon as well. I'm sure a Klingon would prefer to say {qaq  
pa'Daq} rather than {pa'Daq 'avwI' DaQammoH 'e' vImaS,} though perhaps  
{pa'Daq 'avwI' yIQamoH} might be appealing enough to warrant the extra  
syllables. Assertiveness does have its cultural value.

>> 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}.

Perhaps the better term is "postpositional", since the grammatical cue  
comes after the noun. Still, I do think that {Qe'Daq} is a noun plus a  
suffix defining its grammatical relationship to the verb, and that  
relationship is the equivalent of an English preposition.

I think {nuqDaq} is not a separate noun from {nuq} that just happens  
to sound like {nuq} plus {-Daq}. My point is that no other question  
word has a suffix on it that is, in the vast majority of cases,  
required on the noun that replaces the question word when answering  
the question.

It makes me think that while in English, we have a question word  
"where" that is a separate word from "what", Klingon does not really  
have a question word for "where". {nuqDaq} is no more valid a  
construction than {nuqvo'} or {nuqvaD}. The only reason Okrand brings  
it up and not them is because English has a single question word  
"when", while it doesn't have one for "from where" or "for what". We  
need phrases for that, and he wasn't giving us question phrases; just  
question words. I suggest that {'IvDaq} is also a valid Klingon  
question word, if the "where" refers to a person's location rather  
than a thing's location. It is also valid to have questions with  
{'IvvaD} and {'Ivvo'}.

'Ivvo' nuHvam DanIHta'?

'IvvaD HuchwIj Danobpu'?

nuqvo' DaghoSlI'?

Okrand doesn't say these are not valid question words. He just  
mentions {nuqDaq} because of the English translation. If he didn't  
mention it, we'd think there wasn't a way to translate the English  
question word "where".

It's like including {ghojmoH} for "teach", not because Klingon has a  
word for "teach" that sounds like {ghoj} plus {-moH}. He lists it  
because English has separate words for "teach" and "learn".

> 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.)

I think {nuqvo'} would suffice. It conveys all the meaning you wish to  
ascribe to your proposed {nuqDaqvo'}. There is no more reason to say  
{nuqDaqvo'} than there is to say {qachDaqvo'} or {DungDaqvo'} or any  
noun (-Daqvo'}. The suffix {-vo'} already contains the locative  
component and adds a vector to it, indicating directional motion,  
similar to the way that the verb suffix {-lI'} contains the continuous  
aspect of {-taH} and adds a foreseeable goal to it where the  
continuity will discontinue.

The only difference with {naDev} is that you can't replace the {-Daq}  
with {-vo'} because there is no {-Daq}. There is a {-Daq} on {nuqDaq}.  
It doesn't just look like a {-Daq}. It IS one. It walks like a {-Daq}.  
It quacks like a {-Daq}. It's a {-Daq}, okay?

>> 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,
> either.

Your idea fits well what seems to be Okrand's approach to the  
language. Always leave the door open. I accept your wisdom in this  
regard, even when it is applied to areas that I seriously doubt we'll  
ever see development.

>> 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.

I accept your point.

>> 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.

And some thought-provoking discussion. I thank you again for that.

> SuStel
> Stardate 7972.2


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