tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Dec 23 13:08:21 2007

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

Doq (

SoH je qatlhonIS, choQubmoHmo'.

On Dec 23, 2007, at 10:47 AM, QeS 'utlh wrote:

> ghItlhpu' Doq, ja':
>> I'm just not finding {<pronoun>-bogh} all that interesting. The
>> issue for me is that I don't see pronouns as taking a full set of  
>> verb
>> suffixes...
>> ghaHHa'?
> Instead of just taking it as a single word, put it into a sentence.  
> Consider
> {HoD ghaHHa'}. I have no problem translating it as either "he is no
> longer the captain" - although presumably one would expect that
> {ghaHbe'choH} would be more common - or even "he is the captain
> wrongfully, he captains badly, he mis-captains", which is a nice  
> nuance
> that might be conceivable in spoken Klingon but is tough to capture  
> well
> in English.

I fail to see how putting {-Ha'} on a pronoun turns the direct object  
into a verb. I could see {HoD mojHa'} for "He is no longer a captain,"  
as "He un-becomes a captain." But, "He un-is a captain," doesn't do it  
for me, nor does "He mis-is a captain." Perhaps it would be useful,  
right next to {tlhonmey} in a poem somewhere, but there seem to be  
other ways to say this so much more clearly. Perhaps he is a bad  
captain. That is easy to say. Perhaps he ceases to be a captain. That  
is easy to say. Both are clearer than this.

It seems less like this is a good way to say anything than it is that  
you are reaching for something for this to mean.

>> I see {ghaHbogh} as marginally meaningful, requiring really special
>> context that is so rare as to verge on poetry. I don't see prose
>> having much use for it in an average day.
> mo' loSDIchDaq 'oHtaHbogh targh'e' yIHoH
> (kill the targ that is in the fourth cage)

Good example.

> SuvwI' chaHbogh cha' puqloD'e' vIghaj
> (I have two sons who are fighters, and another who is a scientist)

I must confess a pet peeve. There are certain verbs that we overuse in  
English in ways I doubt all other languages do, and "have" is one of  
them. Since most Klingon speakers are English speakers, likely this  
works fine. I just wonder if a Klingon would express his relationship  
to his sons as one of possession. Still, that is what is implied by  
{puqloDwI'}, after all, so I have no traction with that complaint.

I'd still probably tend to do something other than a relative clause  
for this.

SuvwI' chaH cha' puqloDwI''e'.

Still, yours more precisely maps to the original English. It uses the  
same grammatical construction. It's clearly valid.

> They could certainly be rephrased more succinctly ({mo' loSDIch targh
> yIHoH} and {puqloDwI''e' SuvwI' chaH cha''e'}), but I don't find these
> particularly stilted or peculiar.

All of these work, and your point is well taken. There are relatively  
normal potentials for {<<pronoun>> bogh}. I had not been tempted to  
make such a construction before and I mistakenly suspected that it  
would not be useful.

> Since the canon for verb suffixes with pronouns-as-verbs is very  
> sparse,
> obviously we have to make our own choices about how verbal the
> pronouns-as-verbs can get.

All canon is sparse. If we relied on canon for all we say, we'd be  
like the speakers of Tolkien's elf languages. We'd basically know a  
lot about a language we could never usefully speak.

> But for me, only those suffixes that limit the
> pronominal prefixes in some way (that is, {-'egh}, {-chuq}, {-lu'},
> {-wI'} and {-ghach}) are forbidden, because the category of person is
> already marked on the pronoun root. That means that those suffixes
> can't exert their influence, if you like, over the pronominal prefix,
> because the prefix simply isn't there. The person of the argument is
> inherent to the pronoun root, and therefore inaccessible to the  
> suffixed
> element. (I might be overcomplicating that explanation a bit, but  
> that's
> pretty much how I think about it. :)

I don't see how {-ghach} is involved in "person". ghaHtaHghachjDaj  
qelba' Hamlet. jInenchoHtaHvIS, jIHlI'ghach vImojmeH, jIHpu'ghach  

>> If I never see this resolved, I doubt it will decrease the set of  
>> things I
>> can express comfortably in Klingon.
> quSDaq bIba'. Naturally, there is usually another way to say anything.

... rut jIjangbe'chugh, qaq ghu'.

> QeS 'utlh
> tlhIngan Hol yejHaD pab po'wI'
> (Grammarian of the Klingon Language Institute)


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