tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 01 05:22:49 1999

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Another Re: Cardinal Directions (to Marc Okrand)

The following is from Marc Okrand on the Klingon Newsgroup


Re: Cardinal Directions (to Marc Okrand) ("Marc Okrand" , 00:22)

Alan Anderson wrote in message ...

>> [...]
>> The directional nouns may also be used with possessive
>> suffixes.
>Is this a regional feature, or is it common to all
dialects?  As I
>understand it, the locative nouns generally don't use the
>suffixes, appearing instead in constructions like {jIH
retlh} "area
>next to me".  The exception is the speech typical of the
Sakrej region,
>where the possessive suffixes are used to say {retlhwIj}.
> [...]

Good point.  I should have been more explicit.

In the standard dialect of Klingon (<ta' Hol>) and in most
other dialects, the locative nouns (or nouns of location,
or nouns expressing prepositional concepts) do not take
possessive suffixes, while in the dialect of the Sakrej
region, they do.

The directional nouns (<chan, 'ev, tIng>), on the other
hand, take possessive suffixes in all dialects (or at least
in all dialects studied to date).

It is also possible (though the Sakrej folks tend not to do
this) to use the full pronoun plus locative noun
construction with the directional nouns: <jIH chan> "east
of me" (literally "I area eastward") (<jIH> "I").
There is a slight meaning difference between <jIH chan>,
using the full pronoun, and <chanwIj>, using the possessive
suffix, however.  The construction with the full pronoun
emphasizes the pronoun (in this case "I," the speaker
him/herself) as the reference point; the construction with
the pronominal suffix is more neutral.  Thus, <chanwIj> is
"east of me, east of where I am, east of here," but <jIH
chan> is "east of ME, to MY east."

Perhaps what occurred historically (though there may well
be other explanations) is that the speakers of the Sakrej
dialect took a grammatical rule which had a restriction
("possessive suffixes may follow directional nouns, but not
other locative nouns") and generalized it (applied it more
broadly) by eliminating the restriction ("possessive
suffixes may follow locative nouns" -- or maybe even,
simply, "possessive suffixes may follow nouns").  In
theory, it could have happened the other way around.  The
speakers of some dialect -- including <ta' Hol> -- could
have interpreted the rule to be "possessive suffixes never
follow locative nouns except for directional nouns" and
then made the rule apply more generally by dropping the
exception (yielding "possessive
suffixes never follow locative nouns").  But this didn't

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