tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Nov 27 15:25:56 2009

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Re: Checking understanding of -be'

Christopher Doty (

On Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 15:03, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> The examples you've chosen below deal with exceptional grammar, and may
> not be the best choices for a general understanding of {-be'}.

What is it here that is exceptional?

>> 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.)

Yeah, I was assuming that one wouldn't be asking about who did it.
Say, as in a hotel room, where it is almost surely a previous guest,
but the identity of said person is unknown, and probably unknowable;
thus I was going for the <-lu'>.

>> 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.

I guess I didn't really mean anything about ability here (especially
since <-lu'> and <-laH> can't occur on the same verb), so my English
translation is bad.  Perhaps more to my point would have been
something like.

"No one sees us (not anyone at all)"

As opposed to

"Someone doesn't see us (but maybe others do)"

>> 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.

Ah, right, of course, because we're talking about the subject and not
the object... <-Ha'> is still a bit of a mystery to me, as its
discussion in TKD is so brief.  It looks like it rovers in the same
way as <-be'>, but that isn't explicitly stated, so it's not really
clear...  I'll try to think of a better example where there isn't a
better way to say this; maybe that will help clarify what I meant.

> In GENERAL, {-be'} simply negates the immediately preceding suffix or
> verb.

Yeah, this is what I was trying to get at with <leghbe'lu'> negating
only the verb (i.e., there is a someone who didn't see it, but other
might have) and <leghlu'be'> (that no one does see it).

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