tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 30 12:57:24 2009

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Re: Double negatives

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

Christopher Doty wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 11:45, ghunchu'wI' 'utlh <> wrote:
>> {Hoch DaSopbe'chugh batlh bIHeghbe'}
>> "Eat everything or you will die without honor."
> I'm confused by this.  The translation contains no negatives, but in
> the Klingon, both clauses have a <-be'>...?  "If you don't eat
> everything, you will not die honorably?"  I get the translation of the
> second one, but not the first...

Okrand always translates colloquially, not literally, unless he 
explicitly goes out of his way to tell you the literal translation. He 
explains this in the introduction to TKD.

In this case, he has shown a tendency to translate "<imperative> or 
<alternative>" as {X-chugh Y}, where X and Y are clauses.

    bIDIlbe'chugh vaj bIHegh.
    Pay or die. (CK)
    "If you do not pay, then you die."

    bIje'be'chugh vaj bIHegh.
    Buy or die. (PK, TKW)
    "If you do not buy, then you die."

    Hoch DaSopbe'chugh batlh bIHeghbe'.
    Eat everything or you will die without honor. (PK)
    "If you do not eat everything, you do not die honorably."

That last one contains the {-be'} that negates more than just its 
preceding element that I mentioned before. We subsequently learned about 
putting {-Ha'} on adverbials, which would lead us to expect {batlhHa' 
bIHegh} "you die dishonorably," but that's not the proverb.

But this tendency isn't absolute:

    veqlarghlI' yIbuS 'ej veqlarghwI' vIbuS.
    You pay attention to your Fek'lhr and I will pay attention to mine.

Sometimes Okrand's translations are even less literal than one might expect:

    QaghmeylIj tIchID, yIyoH.
    Have the courage to admit your mistakes. (TKW)
    Admit your mistakes, be brave!

This one is doubly odd, because later in KGT Okrand tells us that 
whenever you use the imperative with a verb of quality, it also takes 
{-'egh} and {-moH}. Instead of {yIyoH} "be brave," one would expect 
{yIyoH'eghmoH} "make yourself brave." Why doesn't this happen here 
(besides the fact that Okrand hadn't yet invented this rule when TKW was 
published)? Maybe it's a fossilized proverb? Maybe there are special 
rules about {-'eghmoH} on verbs of quality that weren't revealed in KGT? 
Who knows?

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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