tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Oct 20 05:57:04 1993
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Re: Compound Words & -ghach
On Oct 19, 7:09pm, email@example.com wrote:
> Subject: Compound Words & -ghach
> I don't think chovghach is required. At one point I was using -ghach
> on almost every other word. According to 4.2.9 in the addendum to TKD,
> it says that it's unknown if every verb may also be used as a noun, but
> that verbs with suffixes may definitely NOT be used as a noun. However,
> since "chov" (examination) didn't require any suffixes, -ghach isn't
> necessary. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the way 4.2.9
> seems to read.
I think this is a strong interpretation of 4.2.9 (page 175) based on a
weak premise. While it is true that SOME verbs MAY be used as nouns if they
have no suffixes, it does not follow that ALL verbs can be used as nouns if
they do not have suffixes. I can see that interpretation of the text, but the
text in this case is ambiguous at best and the ramifications of this
interpretation are quite ugly. Since it is quite normal for verbs to exist in
sentences without any affixes, the ambiguity of having them interpreted as
either nouns or verbs is simply confusing. Since -ghach eliminates such an
ambiguity, I would think it might be considered preferable for clarity even
if no other affixes were involved.
I had a similar English example just last week. A housemate wrote "oil
lamp" on the white board in the kitchen. I added, "and grease monkey" after
it. I thought it was a clever accentuation of the ambiguity of "oil" as both
a verb and a noun (acting as an adjective). Nobody got it. They just think
I'm weird (and they are probably right). Still, encouraging this kind of
ambiguity in a language people can scarcely understand WITHOUT it does not
feel like a positive change.
> >"programming language" I might translate: "ghunghach Hol", "language
> >of 'programming-a-computer'". "ghuntaHghach" would be something like
> >"the act of programming a computer which proceeds without definite
> Well, you wouldn't need -ghach for "ghun" (program). And "ghun Hol" would
> translate "language of the program". Perhaps "ghunmey Holmey" (languages
> of programs). I can buy that one. But then how would you associate THAT
> with "paQDI'norgh" (teachings, I'm using this for "class"). Would that
> be, perhaps "paQDI'norgh ghun HolvaD" (or do I have "paQDI'norgh" on the
> wrong side?)
I tend to think most people would translate "ghun Hol" as "The language
programs", which is syntactically valid, but semantically gibberish.
"Language" is subject. "Programs" is verb. Maybe in future technologies,
languages will become capable of programming computers all by themselves, but
at this point, I doubt we would still call such an entity a language. Even
"ghunghach Hol" is weird because it means "language of the program" or
"program's language", in which case, it might be better to call it "ghunwI'
Hol", since it is the programmer who "speaks" the language, not the program
> >I don't think there are rules for making arbitrary new compound words,
> >so we have to stick to N-N constructions.
> Well, they're discussed in TKD 3.2.1, and although Okrand doesn't say that
> you can't, he also does not imply in the least that you can't. I think
> most people would argue that you can.
For what it's worth, I agree. It is the only solution to a limited
vocabulary. It allows for wonderful words, like the Cherokee word for
"automobile" which translates literally as "it stares." A while back, there
was a wonderful Klingon compound word for "scuba diving"...
> >Yes, it does appear there isn't an easy way to make adjectives out of
> >nouns. Again, I don't think we can arbitrarily construct new compound
> >nouns, espeically if one of the constituents is a -ghach form.