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  5. "That man smokes."

"That man smokes."

Translation:tlhIch pur loDvetlh.

December 22, 2019



This klingon sentence tlhIch pur loDvetlh doesn't seem right because it doesn't show the agency of the smoker. The English contains more than the idea that he is just inhaling smoke. He isn't inhaling smoke passively because he is a fire fighter or something. He is actively engaged in an activity that produces smoke which he then chooses to inhale. Shouldn't it better be a sentence like tlhIch pur'eghmoH loDveth?


This is the idiom which Dr. Okrand has given us. Also, we cannot be certain that -'egh can be used to represent something other than the direct object of the verb with -moH, though I rather like the idea.


I need to pay more attention in future to how -'egh is used. But the expression here regardless doesn't make sense to me. For example, let's say I put up a sign saying: tlhIch purlu' net chaw'be'...I hope I did that right. That would literally mean it is not permitted that one inhales smoke. If that were legal language codified in Klingon law for example, does that mean that a two year old is breaking the law by being in the room with a smoker? When I walk down the street in Europe, would I be breaking such a law because although I don't want to be breathing smoke, I am against my will regularly surrounded by chain smokers wearing skinny jeans? Were the crowds gathered to watch Notredame burn breaking such a law by being in the vicinity of a fire that most of them weren't directly responsible for? It would be pretty useful if -'egh could be used to clarify exactly what is happening with greater accuracy.


It's a idiom. It doesn't have to make logical sense. English smoking could mean a lot of things that aren't to do with inhaling smoke, but we know what it means.


I imagine it as Klingons hearing of humans smoking and thinking they're mad for doing so. "Can you believe it? These crazy humans inhale toxic and addictive smoke for recreation!" That is, it sounds like Klingons don't have the concept of smoking natively, and so developed a phrase for it.

We don't actually KNOW that tlhIch pur is an idiom for smoke; we just know that it was translated that way in TalkNow. Imagine Maltz being given a list of words to translate and coming upon smoking. "What's smoking?" "It's where you breathe in the smoke of burning leaves as a drug." "You people are weird. Well, tlhIch pur is breathe smoke, so I guess that covers it."


This is Klingon, not Vulcan.


Vulcans don't have a monopoly on logic. There is no prohibition on making a Klingon utterance logical, though there is also no overriding need to do so.

We have a translated phrase, tlhIch pur breathe smoke. We don't know whether it's a Klingon idiom or just a translation for something Klingons don't do. We don't know that it's more suitable than tlhIch pur'eghmoH cause oneself to breath smoke. We know that it is in some way acceptable, which is more than we know about any other phrase to translate this.

And that's everything we know about it.


You're arguing that Klingon has not followed the logical course.

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