tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Dec 04 06:31:47 2009

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Re: Comments sought on Klingon poem

Agnieszka Solska ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

>Alright, here is my go at translating the bit of the <paqbatlh> read
>at Klingon wedding ceremonies regarding the killing of the gods.  It's
>in the meter I described earlier, which in my head I am calling
><batleH>, since a stanza looks like a bit like a <batleh>, sticking
>out on either end.

Interesting idea. BTW, as you probably know by now, the word is {betleH}.

>Comments welcome/appreciated! (Even you think everything I said makes
>no sense at all :p)

>1. tlhingan tiq  luchenmoHpu' Qunpu',

Someone has already mentioned capitalizing the I's.

Since the original does not say that the gods *had* or *have* 
forged the Klingon heart, I'm a little surprised to see the 
perfective suffix {-pu'} here.

>2. qul baD je  lulo'pu'.

Typo: {baS}, not {baD}.

>3. nom moq'egh.

Frankly, to make out this line out I had to read the English 
text first. I know that in many languages, including English, 
hearts *beat*. Webster dictionary explains this meaning of 
"beat" as "to throb, pulsate." I'm a little doubtful if the 
Klingon {moq}, which refers to beating an object with an implement, 
can capture this idea. 

Okrand comments on the word {moq} in KGT in two places. 
First, when describing the specialized vocabulary used in duels:

     There are a number of weapons typically used for
   duels, the most common being the bat'leth. When the
   parties are ready, a third party, sort of a referee, says
   moq, the signal to begin. The verb moq literally means
   "beat" and it is a clipped form of, perhaps, vImoq ("I beat
   it") or even vImoqpu' ("I have beaten it"). In times past,
   one would hit something (such as a drum) with a stick to
   indicate the start of the duel; today, one simply says the
   word "beat." KGT, p. 69

Second, when describing different methods of striking 
percussion instruments:

         Some types of 'In are struck with the
   hand, either palm (toch) or fist (re'), depending on the
   particular instrument. To hit the instrument with the
   palm is weq; to strike it with the fist is tlhaw'. Other
   members of this group of instruments are hit with a stick
   of some kind. [...] To strike the instrument with a
   stick is to moq ("beat") the instrument.  KGT, p. 74-75

Neither description seems to have anything to do with pulsating.
I am also puzzled by the use of the reflexive suffix {-egh}. Why 
would a heart "beat *itself*? Is pulsating the same as beating 
oneself? Maybe the problem simply lies in my insufficient knowledge
of English. Anyway, not having a idea what the right collocation 
might be in Klingon, I would go for plain {Qap}, whose many 
senses include "work, function, be in operation." As for {moq}, 
I suppose it might be used as a metaphor, though one which I 
personally find unclear... 

>4. Dun tiq wab.
>5. 'ej jach Qun:  <DaHjaj tiq

Another way to render "this day" could be {jajvam}, as in 

   "Today is a good day to die"
    Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam

>6. wIchenmoHbogh HoS law' Hoch HoS puS.

Since the English text says "we *have* brought forth," I would 
expect to see {-pu'} on {wIchenmoHbogh}. I understand though 
that this would ruin the meter.

>1. HoSDajDaq Qamvip Hoch.> 'ach pujchoH
>2. tlhingan tiq. roD moq'egh
>3. rintaH, 'ej

According to TKD, {rIntaH} is used to indicate finality, 
in other words to indicate that an action is done and 
cannot be undone. That is why I personally wouldn't put it 
after a sentence containing {roD}. After all, if some action 
is performed "customarily, habitually, regularly", as indicated 
by {roD}, you can hardly call it an accomplished deed. 

Here is the relevant fragment from TKD (4.2.7):

     The meaning of {-ta'} can also be indicated 
   syntactically. That is, instead of using the suffix 
   {-ta',} a special verbal construction can follow 
   the verb which indicates the accomplished action. 
   This special verb is {rIn} <be finished, accomplished,> 
   and in this usage it always takes the suffix {-taH}
   <continuous> (see below) and the third-person pronominal
   prefix (0). The resulting construction, {rIntaH,} 
   literally means <it continues to be finished> or 
   <it remains accomplished.> It is used to indicate 
   that the action denoted by the preceding verb
   is a fait accompli: it is done, and it cannot be undone.

       {luHoH rIntaH} 
      <they have killed him/her> ({HoH} <kill>)

       {vIje' rIntaH} 
      <I have purchased it> ({je'} <purchase>)

   The English translations of {rIntaH} and {-ta'} are usually 
   the same. The notion of absolute finality implied by {rIntaH}
   seldom comes across. It should be noted that {rIntaH} is 
   sometimes used for [p.42] dramatic effect, even in cases 
   when the action could be undone.  

>4. jatlh Qun: <qatlh
>5. bIpujchoH?  pIchenmoH
>6. 'ej SoH HoS  law' Hoch HoS  puS.> <jImob>
>1. jatlh tiq. bachHa'pu' 'e'  luSov Qun.

Using {bachHa'} for "err, make a mistake" is fine, except it is 
supposed to be a slang expression (KGT, p. 145). One might argue 
that slang is out of place in a text of this sort.

>2. qulDaq chegh Qun, 'ej pa'

Like other verbs of motion, {chegh} can have the noun indicating 
the destination as its direct object, so you might consider 
rephrasing {qulDaq chegh Qun} as {qul luchegh}. 

Verbs which behave in this manner were described in an 
interview with Marc Okrand, published in one of the HolQeDs. 
I don't have the HolQeDs at hand so I can't give you the exact 
reference, nor can I give you a complete list of verbs of this 
sort. I believe one of the examples given was:

   lupDujHomDaq Qo'noS vIleng.
   I travel to Kronos on a shuttlcraft.

>3. tiq cha'Dich
>4. luqem Qun

The meaning I'm getting from this is "And the gods brought 
the second heart there, i.e. to the fire {qulDaq}." Is this 
the meaning you intended to convey? Doesn't the English 
"bring forth" mean "create," {chenmoH}? This is in fact 
how you rendered the expression in the first stanza.

>5. roD moq'egh tiq cha'Dich,
>6. 'ej ghaH HoS law' tiq wa'Dich HoS puS.

>1. HoSDaj ghal tiq wa'Dich. 'ach Do' val
>2. tiq cha'Dich. <nItebHa'
>3. maHtaHvIS,

Even after reading your comments on {nItebHa' maHtaHvIS} 
I fail to understand why you would want to convey the sense 
of "If we join together" by using a Klingon version of 
"While we exist together." Don't the two hearts already 
exist together (alongside lots of other entities, 
including the gods they will kill)? Why would the 
second heart try to persuade the first one to do 
something that is already the case? I'm also not convinced 
that {-taHvIS} really is optimal here. Isn't the second 
heart's argument that the two hearts could achieve great 
things *on condition that* they join together? To me least, 
joining together is an action, merely existing is not. 
Personally, I would use {nItebHa' mavangchugh}. 

>4. wImevlaH
>5. pagh.> jatlh tiq cha'Dich. 'ej
>6. nItebHa' moq'egh 'e'  lutaghbej.

>1. 'ej nItebHa' moq'eghtaHvIS, vaj
>2. 'u' teb wabchaj qabqu'. not vay''e'
>3. ghajpu' Qun,

Typo: {ghIj} not {ghaj}. However, {ghIj} means "to scare" and 
since the text talks of gods not fearing (rather than scaring) \
anyone, the verb you need is {Haj}, meaning "to dread".

>4. 'ach DaH tiq
>5. ghajchoH Qun. Haw' 'e' nID
>6. Qun, 'ach HIV 'e' lutagh tlhingan tiq.

This might be a good place to use the idiom {narghpu' VERB-meH 'eb}. Literally meaning "the opportunity to VERB has/had escaped," 
the expression carries the idiomatic sense that it is 
too late to perform some action. To find out more 
about this idiom go to:

>1. chenmoHbogh Qun HoH tlhingan tiqpu'.
>2. 'ej 'u' lumeQpu' tiq.
>3. qulvo' Hov
>4. qIjghach je
>5. chenmoHpu' tiq. DaHjaj,

I'm not sure if {qulvo' Hov qIjghach je chenmoHpu' tiq}
is a good way of expressing the idea that "The Klingon 
hearts turned the heavens to ashes.". Literally, it says 
"From fire, i.e. from where the fire was, the hearts made 
a star and blackation."  

Naturally, there no reason why you shouldn't claim poetic 
license here. Just bear it in mind that: 

(a) We've never seen the suffix {-vo'} used to indicate 
    the material *from* which something was made. According 
    to TKD (3.3.5):

      This suffix is similar to {-Daq} but is used only when 
      action is in a direction away from the noun suffixed 
      with {-vo'.} 

(b) Using {-ghach} on a bare stem results in creating a very
    marked noun. Again, since I don't have access to my HolQeDs
    at the moment, I cannot give you a reference. If I remember 
    well, one of the examples Okrand used was {nobghach}, glossed 
    as "givation." There is nothing marked about the English word
    "ashes," so maybe you don't need to use a marked noun in Klingon

(c) Without reading the English first, it may be really hard for 
    the reader to work out what you intend to say.

>6. moq'eghbogh tlhingan tiq qaDlaH pagh.

Was this your first attempt at translating a longer text? If so, not bad.


> (English:
>"With fire and steel did the gods forge the Klingon heart.
>So fiercely did it beat,
>so loud was the sound, that the gods cried out,
>'On this day we have brought forth the strongest heart in all the heavens.

>None can stand before it without trembling at its strength.'
>But then the Klingon heart weakened,
>its steady rhythm faltered and the gods said,
>'Why do you weaken so? We have made you the strongest in all of creation.'

>And the heart said... 'I am alone.'
>And the gods knew that they had erred.
>So they went back to their forge and brought forth another heart.
>But the second heart beat stronger than the first,
>and the first was jealous of its power.

>Fortunately, the second heart was tempered by wisdom.
>'If we join together, no force can stop us.'
>And when the two hearts began to beat together,
>they filled the heavens with a terrible sound.

>For the first time, the gods knew fear.
>They tried to flee, but it was too late.
>The Klingon hearts destroyed the gods who created them
>and turned the heavens to ashes.
>To this very day, no one can oppose the beating of two Klingon hearts.")

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