tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Mar 08 14:36:46 1994

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Re: choyaj'a'?

charghwI' on tlhIH and 'ar:

>     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.

I don't think so; I think you are over-reaching.  It says explicitly
plural suffixes.


>     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

That's my take.  It doesn't say no plural, it says no plural suffix.
An interesting question we might ask at the same time is:  can you
use 'ar with an inately plural noun?  That is, can you say:  cha 'ar
or does it have to be peng 'ar?  I see no reason cha 'ar is
syntactically wrong (though it may not be the choice,
stylistically-- we don't know).

>     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.

Actually, I think this is one case were he was extremely clear.  He
said you can't use a plural suffix on a noun with 'ar.  That's
pretty clear.  That's all he said.  That's all that applies.

In particular, be careful not to fall into the age-old trap:  When
we follow the explicit rule and eschew a plural suffix on an 'ar
noun, *that does not mean the noun is singular*.  Again, lack of an
explicit plural suffix does not mean a noun is necessarily singular.
It therefore does not necessarily follow *at all* that things with
'ar are considered singular in any way shape or form.  An alternate
explanation might be that, in fact, they are very strongly
considered *plural* in nature, so much so that one never uses the
plural suffix because it would be so hugely *redundant*.

So, in short, I think we trod on shakey ground if we try to read
more into it than what he said.


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