tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Dec 01 19:57:33 2009

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Re: Numbers with pronouns

ghunchu'wI' 'utlh (

On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 4:55 PM, Christopher Doty <> wrote:
>> The closest thing I can get from this phrase is "Acting in concert,
>> while we 'be'..."
> I don't know why you've translated it like this, though.

I'm trying to render the strangeness of the Klingon in the
translation. By using the word "be" in quotes, I meant to indicate
that it doesn't seem like a normal thing to say.

> <maH>, used
> verbally, doesn't mean "we be" (which is not standard English,
> although it does occur in some dialects, but with a distinct aspectual
> meaning); it means "we are."

It has the meaning "we are" when preceded by a noun or locative
phrase. It doesn't work to mean "we are" otherwise.

> If you are trying to translate
> literally, it should be "Acting in concert, while we are..."

I did that at first, but it doesn't really show how unnatural the
Klingon appears to be. The ellipsis tends to imply that something
follows "are" to complete the phrase.

> A better translation, literal
> save for the reordering of words to match English syntax, would be
> "While we are acting in concert..."

Try adding a comma. "While we are, acting in concert..." is very close
to the impression I get from the Klingon.

> See my previous email, sent after you sent this.  It appears that
> <nItebHa'> and <tay'> have slight meaning differences, and the meaning
> of <nItebHa'> seems to work better in this context.

{nItebHa'} is definitely a good way to talk about doing something in
unison. But you'll have to say *what* is being done in order for it to
have something to modify. For example:

  {nItebHa' mavangtaHvIS...}
  "while we are taking action together..."


  {nItebHa' maSuvtaHvIS...}
  "while we are fighting together..."

> I'm not sure what you think is lacking in <nItebHa' maHtaHvIs>, based
> on the examples you give here...

What's missing is the object or locative noun that TKD gives as the
two things that a "to be" prounoun accompanies. One can "be a[n
instance of a] thing", or one can "be at a place", but one can not
simply "be".

-- ghunchu'wI'

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