tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Mar 08 04:56:04 1994

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Re: choyaj'a'?

> > charghwI' writes
> majIq replies
charghwI' replies

> >      Considering potentially useful sentences for this summer, I wonder
> > if the following is the best phrasing for what I want to ask a room full
> > of students:
> >      choyaj SoH 'ar?
> Sorry that this is comming from a beginner,...

     Don't be sorry. The only foolish question is that left unasked, for it
will never find an answer.

> ...but, if you're talking to
> a room-full of students, wouldn't you use "you (pl)"?
> So, it would look like this...
> tuyaj tlhIH 'ar?
> -majIq

     I thought of that and decided that it is probably not a good idea. This
is one of those picky little rules you have to remember from the grammar. The
last thing under "Questions", TKD 6.4 says of {'ar} " can never follow a
noun with a plural suffix." This presses one toward applying it to singular
nouns in general.

     Perhaps I have mistaken the meaning of this rule, but if I were to make
it third person and replace "you" with "students", then your sentence

                    muyaj ghojwI'pu' 'ar

     That violates the rule. My sentence becomes:

                    muyaj ghojwI' 'ar

     That follows the rule. Now if it really is okay to use {tlhIH} with
{'ar} because, though it is plural, it has no plural suffix, then you are
right. I am willing to accept that possibility. What do the grammarians

     Hmm. Thinking about it more, I see that we again suffer from Okrand's
vagueness. He did not say that the verbal prefix could not tell us that the
noun was plural even if it were without the plural suffix. His only examples
use third person subjects, whose number cannot be distinguished from the
verbal prefix. I think I still favor just using singular nouns with {'ar}. I
think it makes sense as a thing that is simply stylistic to the language.
Again, I am open to other opinions.


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