tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Jun 26 07:28:08 2009

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Re: Klingon translation

ghunchu'wI' 'utlh (

On Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 9:12 AM, Mark J. Reed<> wrote:
> And I thought the use of questions as objects ("who is stronger than
> whom? They argue about it.") was a common device for faking relative
> pronouns.

It's common enough among people trying to translate into Klingon. It
is not common in canon. It is, in fact, entirely absent from canon.

I apologize for not having a reference handy, but I recall Okrand
telling us explicitly that questions are not used as objects in
Klingon. He didn't close the door completely on the idea, saying that
he didn't have enough information to tell whether or not question
words could be used like English relative pronouns...but he has
consistently rejected all opportunities to do so, choosing instead
other methods to express the idea.

> It doesn't work like the English syntactically, but it
> conveys the same meaning.

I do not believe it conveys the meaning desired. I am not convinced
that it carries any valid meaning at all. In my dictionary, the
pronoun {'e'} stands for the previous sentence, not for a hypothetical
meta-answer to an indirect question.

The "Who is stronger than whom" question is an idiom that doesn't
necessarily transfer into Klingon anyway. If you really need the most
literal translation, try {'Iv HoS law' latlh HoS puS} instead. I think
the simplest and most direct way to say it is probably {nIv 'Iv HoS?}

However, this is not particularly relevant to the passage that was
presented for comment, which doesn't call for using a question at all.
I will give my comments to it in a separate message.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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