tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Mar 04 07:39:36 1994

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Noun-Noun Construction



I wrote this earlier today, and it hasn't come back from the list, and 
now I can't remember whether I ever posted it or not!  So, if you get 
this twice, my most humble apologies...no wait, what I meant was, if 
you get this twice, deal with it!

---

Regarding the noun-noun construction:

Since there's been such discussion on this topic, I decided to 
go read the TKD section on the noun-noun construction, to see
what wisdom could be gleamed from the cryptic pages.

The example given in TKD is "nuH pegh," which is translated as
"the weapon's secret," or "the secret of the weapon."  Hmm.  This
certainly can not be interpreted as "the secret weapon," which
is what my first impression told me (you know, the impression you
get before you *think*).

"nuH pegh" seems more appropriate, for example, when Geordi and Data
were testing the "Federation issue" phaser gun, which had been
charged using a Romulan power source.  The weapon's secret was the
power source.  

So, now I wonder, how could one say, "the secret weapon"?  Although
there is "pegh" as a verb, it's not a state or quality; it is given
as "keep something secret."  So, I suggest to you that "pegh" can
not be used as an adjective, which would have been a simple solution.

[ A side note: I wrote this before ~mark's reply to my "adjective" 
post, so don't fry me. {{:| ]

My next impulse, however misguided, was to try the "to be" solution.  
Thus:

1.  pegh 'oH nuH'e'

Grammatically fine, seems to mean "As for the weapon, it's a secet."
But, what happens when I try to use it in a context, as such:

2.  pegh 'oH nuH'e' 'e' vISov

(Admittedly, a simple context, but it will demonstrate my point.)  If
I'm trying for "secret weapon," this certainly is not correct.  This
more likely means "I know that the weapon is a secret," or "the fact
that the weapon is a secret is known to me."  But the interpretation
I would have wanted for "secret weapon" in this context is "I know
what the secret weapon is."  Thus, there is a secret weapon, I've
discovered it, and it's the DeathStar!! or whatever.  Sentence (2)
does not have this meaning, so back to the drawing board.

Example (3) is more complex, but I think I've gotten the meaning 
right:

3.  peghlu'bogh nuH

I offer the translation: "the weapon which is kept secret."  Now, when
put in the context created for (2), the interpretation is correct: "I
know the weapon which is kept secret" and it's...a cloaking device!!  or
whatever.  

What's the point of all this?  Well, mostly I'm just testing my 
understanding of things.  Also, I would suggest the construction in 
(3) as an alternative method of disambiguating both non-possessive
noun-noun constructions, and adjective interpretations when there's
no adjectival verb (i.e., one expressing a state or quality, TKD 4.4
p. 49), as is the case with "pegh."

I'd be interested in hearing others' feedback on this.

Holtej



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