From: Marc Okrand [email protected]
Newsgroups: startrek.klingon
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 23:57:37 -0500
Subject: Re: 'ej and sequence (for Dr. Okrand)

Marc Paige wrote ...
There has been some discussion lately about whether or not the conjunction
'ej has or does not have and sequential aspects. I agree with those that
say that the sequencial nature of a joined phrases depends on the context of
the phrases taken as a whole. This is the same way I treat 'and' in English.
Do you have any words of wisdom to settle this dust up?

As far as I know, 'ej means "and" in the sense of "in addition," "also,"
"as well as," and the like. It does not have any temporal or sequential
implications. That is, it does not (by itself) mean "and then."

For example, Klingon jISop 'ej jItlhutlh "I eat and I drink" (jI- "I,"
Sop "eat," tlhutlh "drink") means "I eat and also I drink." It could
refer to events that occur in alternating fashion (eat some, drink some,
eat some, drink some more) or, especially in the case of some Klingons,
events that occur pretty much simultaneously. It could also mean "I eat
and then I drink," but it does not necessarily mean that. If that is the
intended meaning (and if being a little vague or ambiguous or unclear will
cause misunderstanding and hence discomfort), additional stuff must be
added or the whole thing must be rephrased to make the meaning explicit
(such as jItlhutlhpa' jISop "before I drink, I eat" ).

Similarly, the most likely interpretation of jItlhutlh 'ej jIQong "I
drink and I sleep" (Qong "sleep") is not that I drink in my sleep
(though it could be used for that if I really did it), but rather simply
"I drink and also I sleep," a listing of two things I do, presumably (but
not explicitly) not at the same time.

Then there's qaDuQ 'ej bIregh "I stab you and you bleed" (qa- "I you," DuQ "stab," bI- "you," regh "bleed"). It
probably would be used when the stabbing precedes (and is the direct cause
of) the bleeding. But it doesn't explicitly say that; it only says "I
stab you" and it also says "you bleed." The sequential interpretation
(and/or the cause-and-effect interpretation) is due to the way the world
works. Or some worlds.

Since it is possible to say either jISop, jItlhutlh "I eat, I drink" or
jISop 'ej jItlhutlh "I eat and I drink" to refer to the same thing, it
might seem as though 'ej is optional. Grammatically, that's fair to
say. In terms of meaning, however, when 'ej is used, it adds something;
it emphasizes or points out some sort of connection between the two events
-- though not necessarily a temporal one.

Finally, although I've been referring to "events," the same holds for
states and conditions and the like. Thus, jIghung 'ej jIQeH "I'm hungry
and I'm angry" (ghung "be hungry," QeH "be angry") could be used if
first I'm hungry and then (whether as a result of the pangs or not) I get
angry, or if I'm hungry and angry at the same time, or if I waver between
the two.

In short, 'ej is neutral as to time.