tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Dec 22 16:24:34 2007

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"to-be" + <<-bogh>>

qa'vaj (

The recent thread started from <<jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovb'e>> branched in two
directions.  One was a general discussion of relative clauses and the
relative clause in Klingon. The other branch was related to the formal
grammatical construction of a "to-be" sentence.  Not discussed was
specifically how <<-bogh>> works with "to-be".  I think that there are some
interesting issues related to the latter.  (This is not about the word order
in the canon sentence, nor "the ship in which I fled").

First, start with some selected basic facts about <<-bogh>> clauses in
non-"to-be" sentences:

A) ambiguity.

The way Klingon creates a relative clause has an inherent ambiguity.  <<loD
qIppu'bogh yaS>> can either mean "The officer who hit the man" or it could
mean "The man who was hit by the officer."

B) ambiguity resolved using 'e'

Post TKD, we learned that the ambiguity can be resolved by marking the
desired head noun with <<-'e'>>.

C) no ambiguity with the implied pronoun

<<qippu'bogh yaS>> means "The officer who hit him/her".  It seldom if ever
would mean "He/She who was hit by the officer".  Presumably, the latter
could be expressed with <<ghaH'e' qippu'bogh yaS>> or maybe <<ghaH
qippu'bogh yaS>> since the presence of the pronoun itself stands out.  There
is one piece of cannon <<Dajatlhbogh vIyajbe'>> (or something like that)
which suggests that sometimes the implied pronoun can be the head noun
(perhaps when neither subject nor object noun is supplied).

So now consider <<-bogh>> used in "to-be".


chom ghaHbogh.

There are three possibilities.

1.a) The same ambiguity of A) applies.  This could either mean "The
bartender, who he/she is" or "He/she, who is the bartender".

1.b) The situation is more like C) above, in that the <<ghaH>> is just
serving something like the implied pronoun, and thus there is no ambiguity,
<<chom ghaHbogh>> would almost always mean "The bartender, who he/she is".
IOW, <<chom>> would almost always be the head noun.

1.c) The situation is unique for "to-be", and the <<-bogh>> extends the
semantics of the <<-bogh>>-less sentence. <<chom ghaH>> "he is the
bartender", <<chom ghaHbogh>> "he, who is the bartender".  IOW, <<ghaH>>
would almost always be the head 'noun', even though the <<-bogh>> is stuck
to it by convention.

if 1.b) is true, then what would be the way to force "he/she, who is the
bartender"? Possibly <<chom ghaHbogh ghaH'e>>?

if 1.a) is true, then <<chom ghaHbogh ghaH'e'>> would force one
interpretation.  How would the other be forced?  <<chom'e' ghaHbogh>>
possibly, even though that looks like weird word order.  Also, as I
mentioned in the other thread <<ghaHbogh chom>> might work, because of the
marked word order.

if 1.c) is true, then it's a lot like 1.a) except that <<chom ghaHbogh
ghaH'e'>> would not be required. In this case the <<jIHtaHbogh naDev
vISovbe'>> canon might be used to justify the pairing <<chom ghaHbogh>>
"he/she who is the bartender" and <<ghaHbogh chom>> "the bartender who
he/she is".


chom ghaHbogh HoD'e'.

At first blush, it seems that the ambiguity of A) should be present. But the
rule in B) sort of conflicts with the <<-'e'>>'s usual usage in the "to-be"
construction.  Or does it?

If we always interpreted <<chom ghaHbogh HoD'e'>> as "the captain, who is
the bartender", then we could probably always use <<HoD ghaHbogh chom'e'>>
as "the bartender, who is the captain."  Does this run into problems?  I
don't see any offhand. The head noun would always be after the
pronoun-as-verb when two nouns are present.  That would have a nice symmetry
if 1.c) above were the way things worked.


Since the relative clause plus head noun is used as a unit as a noun,
presumably the prefix agreement would work as follows:
{assume 1.b) }

jIDun chom jIHbogh jIH'e'
"I, who am the bartender, am wonderful"

Dun chom jIHbogh
"The bartender, who is me, is wonderful"

qo'lIj DachenmoHtaH

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