tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Jun 20 08:49:56 2009

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Re: Once more into the ship in which I fled

Rohan F (

ghItlhpu' mI'qey, jatlh:
>I've been giving some thought to the [in]famous "ship in which I fled" problem,

jang lay'tel SIvten, ja':
>There is no necessity for relative clauses modifying nouns in non-core 
>roles, so it's not fruitful to invent ways to do it.  Simply use two sentences:
>I fled in a ship.  Once more into that ship.
jatlh mI'qey:
>That strikes me as less a solution than a rationalization for not finding a
>solution.  There's always that nagging "restaurant in which we ate" example in
>TKD to suggest that a real solution (one that's recognizably a relative clause,
>not a transparent workaround) is at least theoretically possible.

In HQ 4.2 (p. 5-6), Okrand explicitly states that phrases of this type are not
possible in Klingon grammar:

HQ: We know that the head­noun of a relative clause can be the subject or the
object; the question is, can it be any other case? Nick Nicholas has pointed out
that Terrestrial languages follow an accessibility hierarchy for the heads of
relative clauses, first subjects, then direct objects, followed in by order
indirect objects, possessors, and comparatives. Now, no one said that Klingon
has to follow the Terran hierarchy.

MO: In fact it shouldn't! I don't think Klingon fits into this hierarchy. Well,
it does, if you want to look at it that way. I couldn't make the {­bogh} thing
work for me with anything other than subject or object.

HQ: It fits in the hierarchy way at the bottom.

MO: Yeah, it's klutzy.

HQ: So only the subject or object of a verb can be the head­noun of a relative
clause. It doesn't allow possessing nouns either?

MO: Right.

HQ: Then how can we say "The ship on which the captain kills the prisoners is
very large?"

MO: I would do it with two sentences.

...which seems to be pretty conclusive to me.

In any event, last time this issue was raised, either I or someone else (I don't
remember who, I'm afraid) pointed out that in TKD Okrand never does any more than
give the phrase "the restaurant in which I ate" *in English*. The impression I
get from the context of the phrase is that Okrand meant it only as an example, a
specimen to demonstrate what a relative clause is to a reader who might not have
any clue what the term "relative clause" means. With that being the case, and in
view of what he says in the HolQeD interview, I don't think it can be reasonably
assumed he intended to imply that "the restaurant in which I ate" is specifically
possible in Klingon.

jatlhtaH mI'qey:
>There are certainly ambiguous cases in this scheme, where multiple third-person
>participants in the relative clause are candidates for coreference with the head
>yaS'e' qIppu'bogh mochDaj

This is actually not in the least bit ambiguous. {-'e'} in a relative clause
marks the head of the clause: {choH lISbogh Hap'e'} "reaction moderating element"
(literally, "matter which adjusts change") is found on BoP. {yaS'e' qIppu'bogh
mochDaj} can only ever be "the officer whom his superior hit".

QeS 'utlh

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