tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 25 07:20:18 2009

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Re: Question about Klingon books (e.g., Gilgamesh et al.)

ghunchu'wI' 'utlh (

Whenever I take on an editorial role, I always point out the confusing
or controversial or just plain incorrect usages. When I'm reading a
book for enjoyment, I have cultivated an ability to ignore them.

Yes, there are phrases in ghIlghameS that wouldn't pass muster in a
formal class on Klingon. There are also phrases in some English
version of the epic that don't quite match classroom English. It's
poetry, after all. I don't promote such books as examples to emulate,
merely as good practice for understanding. For example, I certainly
wouldn't suggest that people ought to speak in the way Shakespeare

In the specific example of {-lu'} and {-wI'} on the same verb, I'm
going to side with the belief that it's incorrect. {-wI'} turns the
verb into a noun, specifically the noun that would have been the
verb's subject had it been used in a sentence. {-lu'} says, in effect,
that there is no subject. They have incompatible effects. The intended
meaning of {*leghbe'lu'wI'} is obvious, but the grammar does not
properly support that meaning. We lack any grammatical tools to
nominalize a verb's object -- which I suppose is reasonable,
considering that many verbs never have objects and no verbs *must*
have objects.

On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 11:46 PM, Christopher Doty <> wrote:
>> <leghbe'lu'ghach> is a noun referring to the action of not-being-seen.
> Right, the thing which is not seen: the unseen.  Is there some shade
> of meaning I'm missing here?

{leghbe'lu'ghach} would be translated properly as the "act" of not
being seen. I can think of no simple word to refer to the "thing" not
being seen; for that, a relative clause (as DloraH showed) is an
appropriate tool. {Doch} "thing" is indeed a weak and generic word,
and I'd suggest a more specific {nuv} "person" or {Dol} "entity" or
whatever applies to the context in which you want to use it.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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