tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Nov 24 13:30:10 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Christopher Doty (

On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 13:14, ghunchu'wI' <> wrote:
>> "As for linguists, the Klingon language is very plain (by which I
>> assumed you meant straightforward)."
> If I had meant "straightforward", I likely would have said {nap}.
> {nIt} means more like "unblemished" than "unadorned", which is what I
> think "plain" implies.

Well, languages aren't "blemished" or "adorned," so I don't really
know what you are talking about, then.  Klingon does in fact have
quite a bit of discussion about different forms (for example, the
alternate law'/puS construction with other antonym pairs mentioned
earlier today) for a conlang.  And I don't have any idea what it would
mean for a language to be "blemished," so I can't really comment on

> "As for linguists"...and then you don't say anything about
> linguists.  I'm not really sure what that is intended to mean, so I
> guess you managed to express it appropriately in the Klingon. :)

"As for linguists/as far as linguists are concerned/from a linguistic
perspective, Klingon is plain."

> You made one simple error which I can correct without understanding
> the idea as a whole -- you had a space between {tej} and {'e'}.  If
> you wanted the type 5 "topic" suffix, you needed to say {tej'e'}.

Although I appreciate your correction, a misplaced space is hardly
worth noting, I would think, especially when there were several
grammatical errors in your previous email.

>> There's no way that I can find in any of the Okrand sources for
>> obliques, instruments, etc.
> I don't see how this relates to anything, but "instruments" can be
> described thus:
> {lemDu' pe'meH vutwI', warjun lo'} "The cook cut the hooves with a
> cleaver."

It relates to "as for linguists," as the way that one would say
something like this is with a sort of oblique phrase ("For linguists,"
"From a linguistic perspective," "With a linguistic background," etc.)
but this is lacking in Klingon, as for as I can tell.  'e' is the only
thing that shows up as adding an additional argument to a predicate
that goes on nouns, which is why I used it.

>> But, the 'e' seems to do this a bit in
>> some places, so I was stretching.  I could have said "linguists think
>> that ...." but that doesn't have quite the sense I wanted.
> It probably would have had the advantage of making sense.

What I said made perfect sense, as far as I am concerned.  As I said
earlier, I am stretching a bit, but just a bit--not very much.  This
is a completely reasonable thing to say from everything that I have

> Linguists think the Klingon language is very plain?  No argument
> there.  Most of its speakers would agree that it's essentially a toy
> compared to just about any natural language.  Linguists think the
> Klingon language is very straightforward?  Again, no argument.  Its
> rules are simple and its exceptions are vanishingly few.
> Alas, I find that "linguists tend to bring unnecessary preconceptions
> to Klingon" is too often the case as well.

Again, you seem to think that people who know things that you don't
are automatically wrong.

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