tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Oct 21 07:05:08 1993

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Noun-Noun vs. Compound



>From: cleggp@rpi.edu
>Date: Wed, 20 Oct 93 18:29:41 EDT
>Content-Length: 3108


>>From: (Mark E. Shoulson) shoulson@ctr.columbia.edu
>>To: "Klingon Language List" <tlhIngan-Hol@klingon.East.Sun.COM>
>>Subject: Noun-Noun vs. Compound
>>
>>>From: cleggp@rpi.edu
>>>Date: Wed, 20 Oct 93 12:04:24 EDT
>>
>>>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.

It's more that the distinction between possession and association is shaky
to me.  We have terms like {woj choHwI'} ("radiation's changer".
Possession here?), and in the veS Qo'noS list of words (which are probably
also canon), {tuj muvwI'} for "thermo-suture" (heat's joiner), {HoS
choHwI'} for "transtater (energy's changer), {peQ chem} (magnetism's
field), {Hegh QaywI'} for "pneumatic hypo (medecine's transferer) and so
on.  Some of these you would certainly not consider "possesion", but they
work by association.

Another canon example is something from Power Klingon, a construction I've
used now and then here and hoped it was right.  How do you say "All the
books/every book"?  The only word for "all" we have is "Hoch", which is
given as "everyone, all, everything (n)".  I argued in favor of "paq[mey]
Hoch" for "the book's all".  After all, we do say "all of the books", just
as we'd say "the book of the captain", and talk about someone given "his
all", why not?  But it's certainly not possession in the sense of
ownership!  Nonetheless, an insult in PK is {targhlIj yab tIn law', no'lI'
Hoch yabDu' tIn puS}---"Your targ has a bigger brain than all your
ancestors put together" (Okrand's translation, not mine, so don't hassle me
about the "put together").  [Side question, pointed out to me by Glen
Proechel.  In this insult, and the devastating one {Hab SoSlI' Quch} ("Your
mother had a smooth forehead"), why aren't the explicitly insulting forms
{no'lIj} and {SoSlIj} used?  I'd thought the regular ones weren't
necessarily respectful, but Glen assures me that in Terran languages which
have similar distinctions, using the non-insulting form in an insult would
be unusual.  But that's a topic for a different thread.]

>Now to cover my arse, I realize that in the beginning of 3.4 Okrand writes
>that the noun-noun construction can be used "...to 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.

I, apparently, am less so.

>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.

I could probably agree to that... but getting such people as we have here
to agree on anything, experience shows, is no simple matter!  Before anyone
gets steamed about that, I think that's pretty close to a compliment.

>...Paul

~mark



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