tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Jun 26 09:45:36 2009

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Re: Klingon translation

Michael Everson (

On 26 Jun 2009, at 15:21, ghunchu'wI' 'utlh wrote:

> 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.

So... one has to read everything in canon before .... naaah.

> I apologize for not having a reference handy, but I recall Okrand  
> telling us explicitly that questions are not used as objects in
> Klingon.

I can't be expected to know this. I have TKD and KGT and a list of  
Words Not In TKD from 1997.

> 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.

"Other methods".

>> 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 previous sentence" must be a declarative sentence, and cannot be  
a 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?}

Evidently 'Iv HoS law' hasn't got a verb/adjective. nIv 'Iv HoS? makes  
sense though.

> 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.

Seems very dismissive.

Michael Everson *

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