tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Oct 05 14:07:41 1993

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Plurals



>From: laibow@brick.purchase.edu (The Songbringer -- Marnen to the common fol
>    k)
>Date: Tue, 5 Oct 93 16:18:48 EDT
>X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.3 PL11]
>Content-Length: 1503


>Two conundrums, both centering around the word >ghu<:

>1. What is the plural of >ghu<? At first blush, one would think >ghumey<.
>However, many Terran babies can speak to some degree, and to my knowledge there
>is no material about Klingons' verbal development, so >ghupu'< is possible.
>Also, "using language" is never defined: perhaps it means _understanding_
>language rather than _speaking_ it, in which case >ghupu'< suddenly becomes
>more plausible...

I used {ghu} in an example regarding {ghaH/'oH} and {-pu'/mey} just before
the old list conked out.  Did it not get through?  I'd say probably
{ghupu'}.  I consider the "use of language" distinction to be a stab at
distinguishing "sentient" from "non-sentient", yielding the feeling that
makes "it" unsuitable in most English-speaker's minds for a gender-neutral
pronoun, or for use with people, while it's okay to use it with animals
even when their sex is known.  I'd allow {ghu} under capability to use
language, even though they haven't learned it yet.  Calling a mute
illiterate woman {'oH} (the example used in the posting I responded to last
time) would seem to me to be a play on words or nonce-joke, kind of like
calling a eunuch "it" in English (castrati are still "he"'s!)

I'll repost my response from before.

>2 (somewhat harder). What is the plural of >boghbe'bogh ghu< (making a stab at
>"fetus")? >boghbe'bogh ghumey< sounds plausible, since fetuses almost certainly
>cannot use language in any sense of the phrase, but can they be considered as
>separate organisms? What about >boghbe'bogh ghuDu'<? (!) Does this depend on
>the stage of pregnancy? (Why do I have a feeling the answers to this are going
>to roughly correspond with people's views on abortion (yatlhbe'choHmoHghach) ?
>;> )

For all my comments on this, I'm willing to believe that there *isn't* a
hard-and-fast rule for these points in borderline cases.  I'd accept either
"foetus"pu' or "foetus"mey (though "foetus"Du' doesn't work for me.)  It
depends on how you mean to refer to the foetus: as a soon-to-be
Klingon/human/whatever, or as a still-inert object.  Oh, and
{boghpu'be'bogh ghu} works better for me for "not-yet-born baby"; better
still is {wej boghpu'bogh ghu}.  'Course, there's that lovely cutesy
word-play Okrand did with {ghu}/"goo"(babytalk, not yucky stuff).

Hmm.... For no apparent reason, my head wants to see it as
{yatlhHa'choHmoHghach}, if in that form at all.  Must think about other
possible translations...

~mark



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