tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 30 13:18:04 2009

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Re: Double negatives

Christopher Doty (

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 12:55, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> 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."

Ah, that makes perfect sense.  Not sure why I wasn't following the logic.

> 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.

Well, <-be'> negating verb + object isn't that weird.  One might say
that, when <-be'> immediately follows the verb root, it negates the
predicate (verb + object); elsewhere, it negates just what precedes
it.  I'm tempted to ask for examples of <-be'>, but I reckon that's a
giant list, so I'll just look through the stuff I have.


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