tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Oct 20 14:40:05 1993

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Punctuation revisited

>From: Will Martin <>
>Date: Wed, 20 Oct 93 11:44:04 EDT

>While I agree with everything else you said, I think there is a
>difference between noun-noun and compound noun constructions. 3.2.1 describes
>compound nouns with examples that point to one noun as a sort of adjective to
>the other: earthworm (What kind of worm? An EARTH worm.), password (What kind
>of word? A PASS word.), and jolpa' (What kind of pa'? A *jol* pa').

>This is very different from noun-noun construction (3.4), which
>generally implies possession. It would be a dubious translation at best to
>call jolpa' "transporter's room" or "the room of the transporter," though in
>this specific case, the meaning would likely survive. While arguements could
>be made to intentionally blur the distinction between these two
>constructions, I generally see a fundamental difference that in most cases is
>quite distinct between compound nouns and noun-noun construction.

I'm not so sure.  In some cases, especially with compound-words made from
verbs (like QongDaq, which could be a noun-form of Qong), or generally
well-entrenched compounds, I can see your point.  But I tend to take the
genetive noun-noun construction more broadly than simply possession.  Even
in English, "transporter room" really means pretty much the same as
"transporter's room".  The "'s" in English really implies "associated with"
or "pertaining to".  If it were the only possessive construction we had,
we'd easily say "transporter's room", just as we'd say "the John book"
instead of "John's book" if noun-noun were the only method we had.  Klingon
*does* only have the one method, so it has to do the work.  The distinction
in English, to me, is mostly stylistic.

Oh, and less related to this point than to the one about "mughojmoHwI'" vs.
"ghojmoHwI'wI'", consider this: "The officer's teacher".  In *both* forms
it would wind up as "yaS ghojmoHwI'".  Viewed one way, it's the "-wI'"
suffix attached to the clause "yaS ghojmoH"; viewed another, it's noun-noun
for "yaS" + "ghojmoHwI'" (same argument for "-ghach").  There's no real way
about the ambiguity here: Even in English you can't tell whether it's
someone who teaches the officer or a teacher that's somehow associated with
the officer (the one he hired, say).  Also note that for singular
possessor, when you pluralize the thing-possessed in one way, you only add
"-mey/-pu'", but the other way requires that you add "lu-" and optionally


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