tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Nov 26 20:51:31 2009

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Re: Adverb placement (was Re: The topic marker -'e')

Christopher Doty (

On Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 10:56, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> Christopher Doty wrote:
>> [reH [[DIvI' Duj vISuv] vIneH]]
>> <reh> modifies the entire thing, not just the object sentence.
> Right. Except I would explain it this way:
>    reH [DIvI' Duj vISuv] vIneH

But this isn't the same thing.  If this is the structure, <reH> is
only modifying <vIneH>, and would read something like "I am always
wanting; I fight Federation starships."  <reh> is, in fact, referring
to "wanting to fight Federation starships," and thus the extra set of
[] above.

> Even then, it's not literally doing what TKD says. TKD explains that
> it's two sentences next to each other, not one sentence inside another.

I don't find anywhere that it says this.

> Hanging too closely on "otherwise identical" is not the right thing to
> do. He clearly was not considering adverbials in such sentences.
> Remember, TKD is not a complete grammar, just a sketch of the basics, so
> we have to have to make allowances for exceptions that aren't mentioned.
> Even Okrand warns us about this at the very start of TKD:
>    It should be remembered that even though the rules say "always" and
>    "never," when Klingon is actually spoken these rules are sometimes
>    broken. What the rules represent, in other words, is what Klingon
>    grammarians agree on as the "best" Klingon.

Right, but I view that as being more about clipped Klingon than about
anything else, and about the fact that we could find out that there
are times when the rules in the grammar get broken.  But if we are
striving for "best" Klingon, then the rules in TKD should be taken at
face value.

> So our goal is not to apply each rule and example as if it were holy
> writ, but to sift through the rules and examples until we feel confident
> about how something works.

Well, this is what I am trying to do....

>> Likewise, since these are identical except the use of 'e',
>> [DaH [[jIQongchoH] ['e' vIHech]]
>> "Now I intend to sleep"
>> Since we see that an adverbial initially modifies not just the
>> sentence which is the object, the whole clause that follows.
> But the appearance of the pronoun makes the construction very different
> indeed.

I'm sorry, but again, Okrand SAYS they are identical.  I don't see any
reason to assume that this is a mistake or wrong or referring only to
very formal Klingon unless there is some reason not to..

>    [jIQongchoH] [DaH 'e' vIHech]
> These are two completely distinct sentences. The only thing that relates
> them is the pronoun {'e'}, which simply *refers* to the previous sentence.
> Now, if you want to argue this on the basis of
>    DaH [ [jIQongchoH] ['e' vIHech] ]
> that is, claiming that the two sentences {jIQongchoH} and {'e' vIHech}
> form a single sentence, to which {DaH} may be added as an adverbial, I
> won't argue it with you, though I don't believe this to be the case.
> As another illustration, it would be perfectly reasonable to punctuate
> my sentence thusly:
>    jIQongchoH. DaH 'e' vIHech.

I don't think this is quite true, though.  Okrand notes that the
second verb in such constructions (unless they are verbs of speech)
can't take aspect suffixes; but in two sentences, they probably could.
 Unless it's the 'e' that forces no aspect?  (Can we see cannon on

In other words:

* <jIQongchoH 'e' vIHechpu'>

is demonstrably wrong.  But what about

?? <jIQongchoH. 'e' vIHechpu'>

If the 'e' forces no aspect, then this is wrong.  But, if it is the
other sentence, the second could be right....

I'm also a little leery about this "DaH 'e' vIHech" business because
of this no aspect thing.  If the second verb has no aspect, it is
neutral to time, as Okrand indicates, then I'm not sure it's okay to
put in an adverbial to indicate something about time.  I'm not going
to argue that I'm right about this, it just makes me leery (whereas
putting it at the beginning and modifying the whole thing is fine,
since it's not just about the second verb).

>> The real issue, then, is how you would say "I want to be
>> always fighting Federation starships".....
> That would be identical to "I always want to fight Federation
> starships." {reH DIvI' Duj vISuv vIneH} is, so far as we know, ambiguous.

Right, the structure could be [[reH DIvI' Duj vISuv] vIneH] or [reH
[[DIvI' Duj vISuv] vIneH]].  Maybe aspect marking could be used to
make the distinction? <reH DIvI' Duj vISuvtaH vIneH>?

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