tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Jun 26 18:09:17 2009

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Re: Klingon translation

ghunchu'wI' (

On Jun 26, 2009, at 1:07 PM, Michael Everson wrote:

>> Do we know that the object of {ghoH} is the topic of the argument?
>> Do we even know that {ghoH} can have an object?
> I cannot answer that question given the fact that the dictionary is
> nothing more than a wordlist.

The Klingon Dictionary is very much more than a list of words.  Fully  
half of it is a description of grammar.  I'll assume you meant  
"dictionary" to refer to the lexicon rather than the book, but I  
still must take issue with your calling it "nothing more".

TKD includes explicit hints about proper usage when it presents the  
English gloss of a number of words.  {laQ} "fire, energize (e.g.,  
thrusters)" indicates the kind of thing that can be the verb's  
object.  {DoH} "back away from, back off, get away from" includes the  
"from" to let us know that the object is the thing or place  
being...well, backed away from.  The choice of certain words in  
contrast to others is an implicit guide to how the words should be  
used.  {ghoH} "argue, dispute" gives no clear suggestion of an  
object; if one is possible, the English gloss would lead me to think  
that it should be a noun like "idea" or "claim" or "proposal".   
Including the word "about" in the gloss would have been possible, but  
I take its absence as a guide that I shouldn't translate it that way.

This only goes so far, and certainly many verbs in TKD are  
insufficiently explained for our complete comfort.  {ghor} "break"  
and {Dub} "improve" have since been used in example sentences, so we  
do know how they are used (both are transitive).  {meQ} "burn" and  
{tagh} "begin" seem to be unusual verbs that work both ways, like  
they do in English.  {SIv} "wonder" surprised us all by potentially  
meaning "wonder about", with {'e'} being a valid object.  Today,  
however, verbs like {SIH} "bend" and {voQ} "choke" remain unclear (at  
least to me).

-- ghunchu'wI'

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