tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 11 17:47:09 2009

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Re: Yet another newbie!

Rohan F (qeslagh@hotmail.com)



ghItlhpu' Tracy, jatlh:
>nuq "KLD" is a problem, because the subject is a noun.
>If you have an English sentence along the lines of
>  X is/are Y,
>and Y is a noun, then you need to do two things: you need to include the
>appropriate third-person pronoun ('oH, chaH, bIH)

Actually, no, you don't; in a post to the MSN message board in 1996, Okrand
writes:

"You suggested translating "What is your favorite month?" as: jarlIj qaq
nuq? This one's a little easier to deal with.  Your sentence literally
means "What is your preferable month?"  The basic syntax is correct.
Question words (in this case, nuq "what?") function the same way pronouns
do in questions with "to be" in the English translations." (Okrand, post
to msn.onstage.startrek.expert.okrand, 12 Dec 1996)

>and you need to mark X with the topic marker 'e'.

On this you're absolutely right. So the minimum is {nuq "KLD"'e'}; of
course, you can use {'oH} too, but it's unnecessary.
 
>I will leave -taH in lay'tel SIvten's capable hands, and just note that
>continuous aspect isn't uncommon on "to be" in human languages - in
>French, for example, which marks aspect (albeit just in the past tense).

As lay'SIv pointed out, we've found (I think Voragh did a canon sweep a
couple of years ago on just this issue) that there's a tendency for
{-taH} to appear on the pronoun when the sentence is describing a place
or location, as in {pa' 'oHtaH vaS'a''e'} "the Great Hall is there", but
that in the copula of identity or role (that is, in sentences like "Kor
is a Klingon" and "Kang is a soldier"), {-taH} tends not to appear.

Personally, I'd usually translate, say, {mang 'oHtaH qeng'e'} as "Kang
is still a soldier". To me, {nuqtaH "KLD"'e'} or {nuq 'oHtaH "KLD"'e'}
is marked (it'd be a little like asking in English "What is KLD still?"),
and the canon shows hardly any examples of {-taH} in that kind of copular
sentence; in fact, in my canon database - which, admittedly, is nothing
like as comprehensive as Voragh's - every single instance of {-taH} on a
pronoun is in a sentence of location, with either {naDev}, {pa'} or a
noun plus {-Daq} as its complement.

QeS 'utlh
 		 	   		  
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