tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 23 11:20:20 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

ghunchu'wI' 'utlh (

On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 1:24 PM, Christopher Doty <> wrote:
> As I said in my last email, the truly analogous case would be "Robots we kill."

Except that it's not really all that analogous. I think the flavor of
an extremely liberal interpretation of {mapum Sor} would be well
expressed by "we trees fall."  Using your example words, the analogous
English sentence would be "we robots kill."

Does that help you understand the discussion better?

(My favorite rendition of "we trees fall" is actually {mapum, Sor
maH}, but that's beside the point.)

>  I'm not sure why you've taken issue with my use
> of robots versus trees in English as indicating something about
> vocabulary...  My English vocabulary?

I'm not sure which vocabulary is at issue here, but it seems that
something got mangled in your translation from English to English:

> ma-HoH Sor
> 3plS-kill tree
> could mean "We trees kill."  We could translate this into English as
> "We kill robots," which mean that we are robots and kill things.

Trying to translate "We trees kill" into "We kill robots" with the
intent of meaning "we are robots and kill things" doesn't work on
*any* level.

As for typos, the "3plS" wasn't recognizable as anything obvious. Your
explanation helped, except that you kept the "third person" idea,
which implied that you were confused about either {ma-} or "we" or
what "third person" means. Even if you weren't yourself confused,
you've been confusing some of us with the inconsistency.

> The concept of "ungrammatical" means that it is not valid.

It means it is not valid *grammar*, obviously. It does not
automatically mean it lacks a valid meaning. You're getting into
trouble by applying *your* concept of the word, rather than reading
how it is used in books describing the Klingon language.

> Terminology again.

I will repeat my preference to use terminology as presented in The
Klingon Dictionary and Klingon for the Galactic Traveler. They are,
after all, the primary sources for our understanding of the language.
For example, the pseudo-suffixes {-la'} and {-luH} are nongrammatical
by definition. This doesn't mean they are without meaning.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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