tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Dec 30 10:19:06 1999

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Re: {law'} = "much"? [on a new topic now]

>This crashes into the unresolved conflict we have over whether
>{law'} can mean "much" as well as "many", as in {nIn law'
>vIDIl}. Does this mean "I pay for much fuel," or does it have to
>mean, "I pay for many fuels,"?

The difference being...?  Many different *types* of fuel?  How often would this
distinction come up?
: I'm certain it can be *translated* as "much" without difficulty.  Whether
: or not it *means* that is probably not relevant.  There are odd questions
: to deal with whenever we consider "mass" nouns in Klingon.  There might
: not be any semantic distinction between "much fuel" and "many fuels" or
: between "much money" and "many monies".  We've seen {'ul law'} in canon,
: with the only reasonably direct translation being "much electricity".  I
: don't really need to know whether "many electricities" is more literally
: correct.

Fortunately, we have much more than the brief glossary entry to go on.  Okrand
has used {law'} in four ways:

1. Following the "mass" nouns {'ul} electricity, {HoS} power, {luch} equipment)
without a plural suffix (as you would expect).  Note he translates {law'(qu')}
differently in each case:

  chIch vay' 'oy'moHmeH 'oy'naQ 'ul law' tlhuD 'oH 
  Painstiks...emit a highly-charged shock for the express purpose of
  inflicting pain. S32

  HoS law'qu' luch law'qu' je lo' Duj nuH pat Hub pat je 
  A huge amount of the ship's power and technology is devoted to its
  weapons grid and defensive systems. SP3

  HoS law'qu' natlhmo' So'wI' 
  Due to the tremendous energy drain of a cloaking device... S33

2. Following count nouns, interestingly all *with* a plural suffix BTW, usually
translated "many":

  Dujmey law' DachIjpu' 
  You have navigated many ships. (idiom) KGT

  Suv qabDu' law' 
  many faces fight (idiom) KGT

  tlhIngan Dujmey law'qu' SommeyDaq batlh cha'lu' 
  [The Klingon symbol] has been emblazoned upon the hulls of countless
  Klingon starships. SP1

3. Following a *verb* (!) in the idiomatic comparative constructions {A Q law'
B Q puS}, where "any verb expressing a quality or condition may fit into the Q
slot" (TKD:70).  This usage alone shows that {law'} and {puS} aren't as simple
as they might first appear.

4. The odd {lo' law' bID choQ} "a half utility deck" (i.e. "many use/multiple
purpose" deck?) in the BoP poster:

  cha' choQmey naQ tu'lu' 'ej tep choQ bIngDaq lo' law' bID choQ tu'lu' 
  2 Full Decks and a Half Utility Deck under the Cargo Deck  (KBP)

charghwI's unresolved issues aside, I think it's fairly clear that usage shows
{law'(qu')} can be translated "many/much/a (huge) amount/etc." according to
context.  It probably works just like {'ar} "how many? how much?".  (I wonder
if we'll discover that {puS} works the same way?)  

If you really need to specify "many fuels" vs. "much fuel" you might be able to
add a plural suffix: ?{nInmey law'}.  This may well sound as odd in Klingon as
"many fuels" does in English, at least to me.  OTOH, "fuels" may be a common
term or jargon in the fuel production industry or at refueling depots, much
like the plural form "monies" is heard most often from English-speaking
accountants or clerks.  (I once catalogued a 2,000-page reference book
entitled, "Fishes of the Pacific".  Apparently in biology the redundant form
"fishes" refers to different species of fish, while the usual plural "fish"
refers to multiple fish of the same species.  This is probably more a
peculiarity of English grammar and usage than Klingon.)

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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