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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Klingon Word of the Day: pegh

lojmIt tI'wI' nuv 'utlh (

This topic was the single most frustrating issue for me when I was trying to do the best I could at providing the “New Words List” definitions and has similarly been frustrating simply with my own word list over the years.

The root of it is that Okrand has never wanted to commit to classification of verbs of three types, while he has suggested that such a classification does exist, and we’re supposed to keep it straight depending upon his vague glosses and random canon, which often either reveals or violates these classifications.

A verb can be used as an adjective if the gloss takes the form of “verb, be verb”, like {tIn}=“big, be big”.

So, this makes {pegh} a problem because it means “secret, be secret” and it means “keep something secret”. Apparently, it’s two different verbs that happen to be homonyms and have closely related definitions. That’s the only sense I can make of it.

So, one class of verbs can be used as adjectives and the rest can’t, and {pegh} is relatively unique in its ability to dance across that line.

The verbs that can be used as adjectives can’t take a direct object. You can’t “be big” something. You can MAKE something big with {tInmoH}, but you can’t just “be big” something. And you can have a secret thing, and a thing can be secret, and that’s all one verb, but there’s apparently a different verb that sounds just like it so that you can keep something secret, such that the thing you are keeping secret is the direct object of this verb.

So, this SECOND verb that sounds exactly like {pegh} apparently is indistinguishable from {peghmoHtaH}. To keep something secret. The definition doesn’t say, “Make something secret”. It says, “Keep something secret”.

So, this is one of those messy words that makes Okrand happy because real languages are messy and he wants Klingon to be like a real language. Purists (apparently, I am one) tend to not enjoy this messiness as much as he does.

The third classification has to do with whether the action is done to an object, or merely done by an agent (a.k.a. “subject”). Like {vIH}. We argued a lot about {vIH}.

I’m pretty sure that we concluded that the thing with the changing location is the subject, not the object. If I move something, {vIvIHmoH}. If I move, {jIvIH}.

{mev}, {tagh}, {meQ} {So’} and {ghom}?

I don’t really see these as alike, though it may simply be my evolved, personal relationship with each of these verbs.

We know that {mev}, {tagh} and {So’} take objects. Lots of examples and the habits of most speakers suggest this. If I were to use any of these without an object, I’d add {-‘eghmoH} and be done with it, and would have little patience for anyone telling me that I’m wrong.

I have {meQ} listed as intransitive (a term that Okrand hates) because of its use on page 111 of The Klingon Way. {meQtaHbogh qachDaq Suv qoH neH.} The house, subject of the verb {meQtaHbogh}, is the thing on fire. It is not a thing causing something else to burn. So, if I were to burn a house, I’d say, {qach vImeQmoH}. Someone might be able to argue that the {-moH} wasn’t necessary, but nobody can argue that it would be wrong.

As for {ghom}, I always think of that as not taking an object. If you and I meet, it feels much more natural as {maghom} than {qaghom}. The latter sounds a little sloppy, like encoding English more than translating to Klingon. Likely, I’ve done it myself in a lazy moment.

It’s similar to {nga’chuq} in that regard. It takes at least two. No one somebody does it to somebody else.

But Okrand changes his mind about things, so we have inconsistencies. In order to keep the glosses versatile, we lose some capacity to be specific.

lojmIt tI’wI’ nuv ‘utlh
Door Repair Guy, Retired Honorably

> On Jan 2, 2015, at 12:51 PM, Steven Boozer <> wrote:
>>>> Klingon Word of the Day for Wednesday, December 31, 2014
>>>> Klingon word: pegh
>>>> Part of speech: verb
>>>> Definition: keep something secret
> Voragh:
>>> pegh De'vetlh
>>> That is classified information. CK
>>> De' pegh vIghaj
>>> I have secret information. PK
> De'vID:
>> {pegh} is used in these sentences apparently with the meaning "be secret"
>> rather than "keep something secret".
> I'm not sure that Okrand's glosses "be secret" and "keep something secret" aren't meant to be different ways of expressing the same idea:  i.e. something is secret = something is kept secret.  He might have said "keep something secret" for the imperative {yIpegh!} "keep it secret!" since "be secret!" isn't really proper English.  "To keep something secret" doesn't necessarily mean "cause to be secret, make it secret" - i.e. "classify" for which I would still say *{peghmoH} - but more like "maintain secrecy", "something which has been kept secret", etc.  E.g. 
>  pegh vIttlhegh 
>  A proverb keeps things secret. (HQ 5.1)
> HQ 5.1:  Since {pegh} is also a verb (meaning "keep something secret"), {pegh vIttlhegh} can also be interpreted as a sentence meaning something like "a proverb keeps things secret," that is, it withholds information rather than being a ready source of answers.
> That being said, we also have the verb {buv} "classify} and the noun {buv} "classification" which I've understood to mean sort, categorize, catalog, etc. rather than a security level -- although we do have {Hung buv} ["security classification"} from the BoP Poster:
>  Hung buv rav: patlh Hut 
>  classified level 9 and above KBoP
> AFAIK that is the only example of {buv} - noun or verb - I know of, so I may be wrong.
>> There are a few verbs like this where the meaning seems to change from
>> "be X" to "cause something to be X" based on the subject and presence or
>> absence of an object, without requiring {-moH}. The ones that come to
>> mind are {mev}, {tagh}, {meQ}, {So'}, and {ghom}.
> I know that {meQ} is problematic.  Examples of the others?  
> --
> Voragh
> Ca'Non Master of the Klingons
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