tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Oct 06 10:24:14 2015

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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Canon: Associate Producer

Steven Boozer (

Will Martin:
> While this is all good information and accurate, a tidbit that might make
> it make more sense is that {lo'laH} became exceptional because Okrand 
> inadvertently used it as an adjective modifying a noun. {-laH} is not a
> suffix you can normally use on a "to be" verb used as an adjective. He
> declared {lo'laH} a root verb in order to retroactively make his mistake
> not a mistake without having to declare that all "to be" verbs can use
> {-laH} added while they are used as adjectives. It's not a rule change
> he wanted to make, so the verb became exceptional.

For those interested, Okrand wrote on st.klingon (11/1997):

   [{lo'laH}] is a simple verb in its own right (though it's an unusual
   two-syllable one), not the verb {lo'} use plus Type 5 suffix {-laH}
   can. It is likely that there is some sort of historical connection to
   the verb + suffix form, but, if so, it is just that -- historical.

You can see the progression in his thinking:

  They are useless to me. I cannot use them. TKD

  leghlaHchu'be'chugh mIn lo'laHbe' taj jej 
  A sharp knife is nothing without a sharp eye. TKW

  lo'laHbe'; chetvI' chIm rur 
  worthless as an empty torpedo tube KGT

We've also learned of even more weirdness WRT {-laH} in KGT:

KGT 181:  Among those suffixes that can never occur together are {-lu'} (indefinite subject indicator) and -{laH} (can, able).  The former is used when the subject is unknown or indefinite, often translated into Federation Standard by means of the passive voice: {jagh jonlu'} ("One captures the enemy", or "The enemy is captured").  The latter is used to express ability: {jagh jonlaH} ("He/she can capture the enemy").  If it is desirable to express the ideas of "indefinite subject" and "ability" at the same time, such as in the sentences "One can capture the enemy" or "The enemy can be captured", it is not uncommon to use the noun {vay'} (somebody, anybody) as the subject of the sentence: {jagh jonlaH vay'} ("Somebody can capture the enemy", or "Anybody can capture the enemy").  Nevertheless, some speakers seem to want to put the two concepts into a single word, and, on rare occasion, they will do so.  Rather than violating the rules by using the two suffixes sequentially (that is, *{-lu'laH} or *{-laHlu'}), however, these speakers will say either {-luH} or {-la'}, employing totally artificial, made-up suffixes formed by fusing {-lu'} and {-laH}, as in {jagh jonluH} or {jagh jonla'} ("The enemy can be captured"). No one accepts such constructions as grammatical; their inappropriateness, the way they grate on the Klingon ear, is exactly what gives them elocutionary clout.  A visitor may hear one of these odd suffixes occasionally, but, as with other intentionally ungrammatical forms, it is best to avoid using them until one is extremely comfortable with the nuances of Klingon style.

When it comes to Okrand, I'm reminded that once the XVIth century Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund made a grammatical mistake in his Latin.  When told of this, he replied, "Ego sum imperator Romanorum, et supra grammaticam."

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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