tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 23 05:58:53 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: The topic marker -'e'

ghunchu'wI' 'utlh (

On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 12:14 AM, Christopher Doty <> wrote:
>> That sounds a little strange.  You shouldn't be "constructing" a
>> grammar, as TKD already provides one.  Verbs, nouns, prefixes,
>> suffixes, and chuvmey are all detailed.
> Unfortunately, computers can't read English; they need a human to act
> as intermediary and interpret the grammatical rules into
> computer-coded rules.

I admit to being a little confused. Are you trying to implement
machine translation *from* English *into* Klingon? That's quite an
undertaking. No wonder you're bringing non-Klingon grammatical ideas
into your arguments.

I am still uncomfortable with the idea of "constructing" a grammar,
though that might just be an artifact of unfamiliar jargon. I would
have expected "transcribing" or "implementing" to be a better term.

> Non-grammatical, by its very definition, means not valid.

No, it just means it doesn't follow the rules. Breaking rules is
explicitly permitted by "meta-rules" that are, by definition, outside
the grammar. Do you have a copy of _Klingon for the Galactic
Traveler_? You'll want to read it fully before making further
pronouncements on the validity of Klingon grammar.

> If there is
> something "non-grammatical" that is "valid," then it isn't actually
> ungrammatical, it's dialect or clipped speech or something else.  Most
> English speakers would say that "ain't" isn't grammatical, even those
> who use it.  It is, from a linguistic perspective, perfectly
> grammatical, if not prescriptively "proper."
> Ain't no such thing as a valid ungrammatical sentence.

Perhaps this is another mismatch in linguistic definitions. I think
"ungrammatical" means "does not follow the rules of grammar". Many
sentences have a single obvious intended meaning even while breaking
the rules, and some of them even make perfect sense while doing so.
(There is another term I use for sentences which are unintelligible
due to not following the rules: gibberish.)

-- ghunchu'wI'

Back to archive top level