tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 02 11:22:27 2009

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RE: Cogito ergo sum (was RE: Numbers with pronouns)

Steven Boozer (

>> I like {taH} even though it doesn't mean "exist" sensu stricto; in
>fact, there is no verb meaning "exist" known in Klingon.  {taH} is pithy
>and it fits in nicely with other examples:
>>   taH pagh taHbe'
>>   "To be or not to be." ST6
>> KGT 194:  literally, "[one] continues or [one] does not continue"

>Oh, my.  Is that Okrand's translation from KGT?? 'oy' jay'!!  Based on
>everything we know (well, more strictly, what I know), <taH pagh
>taHbe'> means "s/he/it endures or s/he/it doesn't endure."  I have no
>idea why Okrand would translate these normal, active verbs into this
>odd English construction...

Okrand did it on the spur of the moment.  He had originally translated the line as {yIn pagh yInbe'}, but when filming the scene actor Christopher Plummer ("Chang") didn't feel it sounded "Klingon enough," so Okrand quickly changed it to {taH}.  According to ~mark, Okrand said at a qep'a' that when they sprang the "to be or not to be" request on him on the set of ST6, he said to himself that no matter what, there was no way he was going to put a copula into Klingon, especially not NOW.

FYI, here's the first lines of the soliloquy in the KLI's translation of Hamlet:

     taH pagh taHbe'. DaH mu'tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
     quv'a', yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu' je SIQDI'?
     pagh, Seng bIQ'a'Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuQDI',
     'ej, Suvmo', rInmoHDI'?

Canon Master of the Klingons

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