tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Nov 27 15:04:36 2009

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Re: Checking understanding of -be'

David Trimboli ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

Christopher Doty wrote:
> Just wanted to see if my understanding of -be' as a rover jives with y'all's...

The examples you've chosen below deal with exceptional grammar, and may 
not be the best choices for a general understanding of {-be'}.

> If, e.g., someone walked into a room filled with nonsmoking signs, but
> which nonetheless smelled of cigarette smoke, one might say
> leghbe'lu'
> "Someone didn't see (the signs)"

"Sign" is {per}.

    per leghbe'lu'
    per luleghbe'lu'

> That is, there is a someone, although unknown, who didn't see something.

lughchu'. This focuses on the not-seeing. If you wanted to ask about the 
identity of whoever it was who was smoking, you might start with

    per leghbe' vay'
    Someone didn't see the sign(s).

In a situation like that, I'd be inclined to add a Type 6 suffix:

    per leghbe'law' vay'
    Someone apparently didn't see the sign(s).

    per leghbe'ba' vay'
    Someone obviously didn't see the sign(s).

The difference between the sentences using {-lu'} and those without it 
is the same as the difference between "the signs weren't seen" and 
"someone didn't see the signs"; that is, one of emphasis. (This isn't a 
rule of Klingon or anything; I'm just interpreting the meanings.)

> If we were talking about something that wasn't seen by anyone (see,
> maybe, something "unseeable" like <qa'>), one might instead say:
> leghlu'be'
> "It isn't seen/one doesn't see it (maybe loosely even 'it is invisible')"
> Is this "correct" use of <-be'>?

We have a couple of examples of {-be'lu'} and {-lu'be'} (I'm sure Voragh 
can provide them), but I don't think we have any real evidence to 
conclude that one talks about failure to do something and another talks 
about inability to do something. With what we know now, I'd be inclined 
to accept {-be'lu'} and {-lu'be'} as meaning the same thing, while I 
tend to use {-be'lu'} barring any further discoveries.

> If we throw <-Ha'> into the mix, would something like
> leghHa''eghmoH
> mean "It disappeared" (lit., "made itself unseen)??  (I know there is
> a verb for 'disappear', I'm just wondering about this in comparison to
> the use of <-be'>...)

{leghHa''eghmoH} means "it causes itself to unsee." Think of those times 
when someone has said they wish they could "unsee" something gruesome. 
Or perhaps it refers to the effect of closing one's eyes.

To mean "made itself unseen," you'd need to say something like

    'oH leghbe'lu' 'e' qaSmoH 'oH
    it causes that one does not see it (pronouns added for clarity)

Of course, there are much better ways to say this with different words.

In GENERAL, {-be'} simply negates the immediately preceding suffix or 
verb. In the case of negating {-Ha'}, my guess is that {-Ha'} is so 
tightly bound to the verb that {-be'} would negate the entire concept of 
VERB-Ha'. We have examples of {-be'} negating entire phrases ({batlh 
bIHeghbe'} "you will die without honor"), though Okrand has sometimes 
changes his mind about this ({batlhHa' bIHegh} means "you will die 
dishonorably"). Okrand never collects all of the rules for us, and new 
rules are often discovered when further examples of {-be'} appear, so 
it's clear that one mustn't be too quick to jump to conclusions about it.

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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