Newsgroup message of June 29, 1997

Subject: Re: Some quick questions...

Summary

Does qajatlh mean anything? Can jatlh take an object other than a language?

Source

Newsgroup: Microsoft Network expert forum
Date: 29 Jun 1997

Quote

The object of jatlh "speak" is that which is spoken. Thus, it's OK to say "speak a language," for example:

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh "you speak Klingon"
(tlhIngan Hol "Klingon language," Dajatlh "you speak it")

But it's also OK to say "speak an address, speak a lecture," for example:

SoQ Dajatlh "you speak an address" or, more colloquially, "you deliver an address" or "you make a speech"
(SoQ "speech, lecture, address," Dajatlh "you speak it")

To say simply:
jatlh "he/she speaks"

implies "he/she speaks it," where "it" is a language or a lecture or whatever.

The indirect object of jatlh, when expressed, is the hearer/listener.

Thus:
qama'pu'vaD tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh "you speak Klingon to the prisoners"
(qama'pu'vaD "for the prisoners," tlhIngan Hol "Klingon language," Dajatlh "you speak it")

qama'pu'vaD SoQ Dajatlh "you make a speech to the prisoners"
(qama'pu'vaD "for the prisoners," SoQ "speech, lecture, address," Dajatlh "you speak it")

When the indirect object (in this case, the hearer) is first or second person, the pronominal prefix which normally indicates first or second person object may be used. There are other examples of this sort of thing with other verbs. For example, someone undergoing the Rite of Ascension says:

tIqwIj Sa'angnIS "I must show you [plural] my heart"
(tIqwIj "my heart," Sa'angnIS "I must show you [plural] it")

The pronominal prefix in this phrase is Sa-, which means "I [do something to] all of you" in such sentences as:

Salegh "I see you [plural]"

but when there's already an object (in this case, tIqwIj "my heart"), the "object" of the prefix is interpreted as the indirect object, so Sa- means "I [do something to] it for you" or the like.

This, then, brings us back to your question. Since the object of jatlh is that which is spoken, and since "you" or "I" or "we" cannot be spoken (and therefore cannot be the object of the verb), if the verb is used with a pronominal prefix indicating a first- or second-person object, that first or second person is the indirect object.

Which is a not very elegant way of saying that qajatlh means "I speak to you" or, more literally, perhaps "I speak it to you," where "it" is a language or a speech or whatever:

qajatlh "I speak to you"
Sajatlh "I speak to you [plural]"
chojatlh "you speak to me"
tlhIngan Hol qajatlh "I speak Klingon to you"
(tlhIngan Hol "Klingon language," qajatlh "I speak it to you")

There's another wrinkle to this. The verb jatlh can also be used when giving direct quotations:

tlhIngan jIH jatlh "he/she says, 'I am a Klingon'"
(tlhIngan "Klingon," jIH "I," jatlh "speak")
jatlh tlhIngan jIH "he/she says, 'I am a Klingon'"

(With verbs of saying, such as jatlh, the phrase that is being said or cited may come before or after the verb.)

If the speaker is first or second person, the pronominal prefix indicating "no object" is used:

tlhIngan jIH jIjatlh "I say, 'I am a Klingon'"
(jIjatlh "I speak")

tlhIngan jIH bIjatlh "you say, 'I am a Klingon'"
(bIjatlh "you speak")

There are instances where the pronominal prefix marks a big distinction in meaning:

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh "you speak Klingon"
(tlhIngan Hol "Klingon language," Dajatlh "you speak it")

tlhIngan Hol bIjatlh "you say, 'Klingon language'" [that is "you say the phrase 'Klingon language'"]
(tlhIngan Hol "Klingon language," bIjatlh "you speak")

I realize that this answer to your "quick" question is probably too quick itself. It is not by any means a complete discussion of the several topics mentioned and I may have phrased things not as clearly as they might be phrased. As a result, this answer may end up just raising other questions. qay'be'. We'll get to them as they come along.

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