tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 02 11:38:55 2009

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

Christopher Doty (

On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 11:17, Mark J. Reed <> wrote:
> Sorry, Chris, but you lost me. What is your complaint here?
> Sequence of events: Okrand was asked to translate "To be or not to be"
> for Star Trek VI.  He came up with {taH pagh taHbe'}, inventing the
> verb {taH} on the spot, obviously a back-formation from the suffix.
> Later, Okrand mentioned the phrase in KGT, offering the more literal
> back-translation above: "[one] continues or [one] does not continue".
> I don't see how that is significantly different from your "s/he/it
> endures or s/he/it doesn't endure" rendering, aside from the choice of
> gloss ("continue" is listed as the primary gloss of the verb {taH}, no
> doubt because of its origins in the aspect marker) and the use of
> [one] rather than [s/he/it] for "unspecified third person singular"..
> I could understand complaining about the choice of Klingon to
> represent the English, but I don't understand your objection to the
> English used to render the Klingon, or how it's "odd", or any less
> "active" than your version (since the verbs are in the active voice in
> both cases, and neither verb is semantically all that active).

Sorry, I think my shock lead me to be unclear (well, I'm often a bit
unclear, but the shock didn't help..).

I was responding to the fact that, as far as I know, we don't have
examples of a bare verb functioning as a sort of infinitive.  The
Klingon, with the zero prefix, implies to me that there is a specific
3rd person which either continues or doesn't.  I would think we'd have
something like <taHlu' pagh taHbe'lu'>. This also better fits Okrand's
translation of "one."  Without the <-lu'> (or some other trick), you
could ask "Who continues or doesn't continue?" but this question is
nonsensical with the meaning of "to be or not to be..."

So, yeah.. Maybe Okrand was just flustered or something, I dunno...
Or else it's Hamlet, and so has some weird grammar or something.  I
just don't like it.... :((

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