tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Mar 13 00:15:04 1994

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>From: [email protected] (Amy West)
>Date: Thu, 10 Mar 94 14:47:55 PST

>On Wed  9 Mar 94 20:50, Mark E. Shoulson writes:

>> I'm not sure that a DIvI' necessarily contains nonsentient elements
>> any more than a family.  Families also have associated paraphernalia,
>> coats of arms, pets, etc.  Is a family's ancestral home less part of it
>> than the planets of the yuQjIjQa'?

>I guess that's where the difference in opinion comes from then.  I
>don't see the possessions of the family, like the family Bible, as
>being a part of the family.  When someone walks into a family's
>house, it doesn't mean they are *in* the family.  But yet, I see the
>possessions of something like the Federetion as being part of the
>Federation.. When someone is in Federation territory, they are
>considered to be inside the Federation. 

No, they are in *Federation _space_*, i.e. space controlled by Federation,
just as someone who walks into my home is in, well, my home.

>The difference is more
>apparent when you consider what defines the Federation or a country
>or Empire vs what defines a family.  So for me, a word like "family"
>(although not a plural) is still a collection of family members who
>are all capable of using speech and why not make a distinction
>based on what makes up the collective?

Because then you'd never make *any* distinctions.  Consider:  I am made up
entirely of body-parts (please, no religious discussions), all of which are
non-speaking (yes, it's nujwIj; it can't use language any more than my
feet; it's just a tool for expressing it just as my hands can write it) and
pluralized with "-Du'".  Why not pluralize people with "-Du'" as well?
They're just collections of body-parts, and why not make a distinction
based on what makes up the collective?  The body-parts are made up of
molecules which are also non-speaking; why not call all people
"non-speaking" objects and leave it at that?  Why not?  Because the whole
is not equal to the sum of its parts.  The whole has different capabilities
and different qualities than its parts.  The whole which comprises me,
taking my body-parts as acting a single whole, is a sentient critter (or so
they tell me).  The whole of a family, despite the features of its
constituents, isn't sentient, except when used metonymincally to refer to
its members.  No, don't start saying that in this case I'm saying the whole
is "less" than the sum of its parts; that's the same value-judgement that
you made before; assuming that somehow there's "less respect" for families
by putting them in the "-wIj" class.  There are sentient objects and
non-sentient objects.  Once something's in the non-sentient class, using
"-lIj" is *NOT* pejorative.  MOREOVER, putting something in the
non-sentient class isn't pejorative either, if that's where it belongs.
There's no shame or disrespect involved in using the right form.

Another reductio-ad-absurdium for you: let's say I'm Harcourt Fenton Mudd,
transporting women as cargo.  They're my only cargo.  If I refer to them as
such, are they "tepwI'" or "tepwIj"?  Does it matter if they're dressed, so
I'm transporting their clothes as well; does that magically change them
from "-wI'" to "-wIj" since now my cargo includes non-sentient clothing?


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