Newsgroup message of March 2, 1998

Subject: Re: -be', -Ha'


about words whose default is translated with dis- in English


Newsgroup: Klingon Usenet Forum
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 22:53:39 -0500


Neal Schermerhorn wrote:

>> par parHa' dislike like
>> naD naDHa' commend discommend
>> yuD yuDHa' dishonest honest
>> yep yepHa' careful careless
>Dishonesty may be a default too. Odd that voq is "trust"_ though...

David Trimboli wrote:

>An idea: ALL of these, including voq, could be the default, as Qermaq
>suggests. Consider a battle (a fairly default Klingon activity). Liking
>and being honest are not particularly important in battle. However,
>trusting and being careful are. Whether or not this is the actual reason
>for these alleged defaults, it shows that there might easily be a good
>reason that voq defaults to what we consider a positive term.
>(Note: disliking and being dishonest may equate with positive terms in
>Klingon, thus their being "defaults.")

Learning about Klingon character or mindset by way of studying what Qermaq terms defaults in vocabulary will probably lead to interesting insights. I think both Qermaq and SuStel are on the right track: par dislike, for example, is probably the more neutral or expected reaction of a Klingon to someone else; parHa' like (or, more revealingly, not dislike or undislike or misdislike or even disdislike [?!], since it's made up of par dislike plus -Ha', the negative suffix implying that something is undone or done wrongly) is a modification (an undoing?) of this expected reaction.

It may be that not everything has a default. Note, for example, QuchHa' be unhappy and 'IQ be sad. These two words don't mean quite the same thing: QuchHa' is made up of Quch be happy plus the negative suffix -Ha', suggesting a change from being happy to not being happy. 'IQ does not have this connotation, nor does Quchbe' be not happy (or, if you prefer, not be happy). Nevertheless, is the default in this pair Quch be happy or is it 'IQ be sad?

On the other hand, when the only way to express a certain idea is by modifying a word (for example, by adding a suffix) rather than using an entirely different word, perhaps one can argue that the nonmodified word is the default. Thus, the only (known) way to express the opposite of par dislike is by adding a negative suffix to par. Unlike QuchHa' be unhappy and 'IQ be sad, there's no choice when it comes to like; you've got to use a word based on par: parHa'. It appears that the only kind of like there is is the undoing or misapplication of dislike. (Of course, you could also say parbe' like or, more literally, not dislike, using the negative suffix -be' not; but parbe' is also based on par. parHa' is heard more frequently than parbe', however, and this may be a hint at the usual way a Klingon looks at things.)

Interestingly (and bolstering the idea that dislike is a default), there's also the word muS hate (which is presumably stronger somehow than par dislike). It also has no known opposite except for the suffixed forms: muSHa' dis-hate or unhate; muSbe' not hate.

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