tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Oct 20 15:30:12 1993

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Noun-Noun vs. Compound

>From: (Mark E. Shoulson)
>To: "Klingon Language List" <tlhIngan-Hol@klingon.East.Sun.COM>
>Subject: Noun-Noun vs. Compound
>>Date: Wed, 20 Oct 93 12:04:24 EDT
>>I think it's actually pretty clear-cut.  The noun-noun (as opposed to "
>>compound noun") is like a form of direct possessive or something.  Like
>>it says in TKD, A-B fits the "B of the A" or "A's B".  Whereas a compound
>>noun is the combination of two other words.
>This would be a repeat of the letter I just sent out, so I won't make the
>points again, but talk about the examples.
>>jolpa' is "transporter room"
>>jol pa' is "transporter's room"  again slight, but there is the possessive
>>connotation which is exactly wrong; the transport beam doesn't "own" a room;
>>we are talking about a room where the transporter is kept.  Almost like
>>pa' jol "the room's transporter", but then the object of the phrase as been
>>moved to "pa'" which is wrong.
>No, the "possessive connotation" is in your head.  "This room's temperature
>is too high".  Do rooms own temperatures?  No, it's the temperature
>associated with the room.  Again, we have *two* ways of indicating this in
>English, so we make some distinctions (mostly stylistically and
>historically) that Klingon, with its single form of genetive, can't do.

It's not only in my head, but it appears to be in Okrand's as well.  I again
refer you to the noun-noun section in TKD.  In 3.4 he writes "As discuessed
in section 3.3.4, this is the Klingon possessive contruction for a noun
possessed by another noun."  The noun-noun construction is also used to
partially describe prepositional phrases such as "above" and "below".  But
according to 3.4, this use appears to be relegated ONLY to location.

Now to cover my arse, I realize that in the beginning of 3.4 Okrand writes
that the noun-noun construction can be used " produce a new construct
even if it is not a legitimate compound noun".  He then explains that, by
"legitimate", he means that it would be found in a dictionary.

But then he goes on about how the construction is possessive.

So it's definitely questionable about what Okrand means.  Upon reviewing both
arguments, I'm completely up in the air about it.

What IS pretty obvious is that Okrand never planned on having a single 
Klingon standard that would be updated regularly; otherwise he probably would
have been a bit more exacting in his wording of various parts.  While I
don't want to propose anything in particular (that's gotten me in over my
head a few too many times!), I would consider anything we do on the mailing
list to be something of a "dialect".  I don't think we could ever be
completely correct, because we'd have to be able to get "official" answers
from Okrand for every question we have.  In the past week, since I've been
on here, I've personally asked at least two questions that resulted in
different answers from different people.  Perhaps it's time to give up on
trying to ascertain EXACTLY what Okrand thought, and just come to a decision
and build from that.


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