"Lurveng wears only a small sash."
Translation:Ha'quj mach neH tuQ lurveng.
Does this mean that "Lurveng wears only a small sash" (as opposed to Worf, who wears a big one), or does rather that "Lurveng wears only a small sash" (and is otherwise parading around naked like a Ferengi woman). This English is ambiguous; does the Klingon version convey the same ambiguity?
It's an interesting question. I would only have interpreted it as Lurveng wearing a small sash and nothing else. I can see the case for the other interpretation, in that neH following a verb means the verb merely happens.
But I feel fairly confident that the rule about neH following a verb only applies when the verb is not being used adjectivally. Here, the neH applies to the entire noun phrase Ha'quj mach, which gives it the only this noun, nothing else meaning.
I think it could also be used to refer to attributive verbs, e.g.:
Ha'qujmey Doq neH vIparHa'. ‘I only like red sashes.’
I would interpret that the person doesn't like blue or black ones, not that the person literally likes nothing else. So for me the original sentence is ambiguous, because it's not exactly clear, what scope the neH has.
Oh, sure. You have to interpret the only in the right context. Ha'qujmey Doq neH vIparHa' doesn't mean I don't like dogs or ice cream; in any normal context it's just talking about sashes.
But imagine the conversation goes something like this:
1: vIghro'mey DaparHa''a'?
Do you like cats?
1: vIHtaHbogh qagh DaparHa''a'?
Do you like moving gagh?
1: ghupu' 'IH DaparHa''a' jay'?!
Do you like &$%^ beautiful babies?!*
1: vaj nuq'e' DaparHa'?!?!
Then what DO you like?!?!
2: Ha'qujmey Doq neH vIparHa'.
I like only red/orange sashes.