tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Oct 30 12:09:37 2009

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Re: Translations of type 2 suffixes with -be'

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

Tracy Canfield wrote:
> jIDoy' 'ach jIQongbe'nIS
> "I am tired but I need to not sleep."  (Presumably the speaker has other
> responsibilities that cannot be abandoned.)
> The general sense of the sentence is clear, but "I need to not sleep" is
> awkward in English.  We just don't say it that way.

The awkwardness comes from two sources. First, as you point out, we 
don't usually say it that way. I add "usually" to that, because there 
are times when we *do* say things that way, sometimes when we want to 
emphasize something.

The second source is the old rule about not splitting infinitives. 
You've split an infinitive in "to not sleep," and, while this rule is 
largely debunked today, it has taken a strong hold over English, to the 
point that perfectly reasonable split infinitives sound bad to the ear. 
("I need not to sleep" is bad even to someone who regularly splits 
infinitives. There are ways to split infinitives properly, and ways not 
to do so (to not do so?). It's not something you can summarize with a rule.)

> In general, what would be the preferred English translation of verbs with
> -be'nIS?  I'm not trying to translate a specific phrase so much as I'm
> looking for general patterns.

There is no "preferred English translation" of {-be'nIS}. The preferred 
translation is whichever one sounds best to the ear, whichever one a 
fluent speaker would find most correct. Don't look for formulas to 
translate; listen to the phrase and search your understanding of English 
for the best translation.

The rest of the examples you give are exactly the same: you're concerned 
that a simple formula for translation is not equally valid for each 
phrase. So what if "ready to not analyze" sounds weird in English? 
{pojbe'beH} sounds perfectly reasonable in Klingon, so far as we know.

Alas, we have no native speakers of Klingon to tell us the same 
subtleties of Klingon usage that we have in English. Fortunately, "most 
Klingons will never know the difference."

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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