tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Feb 02 13:44:50 1999

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Re: KLBC: Two things...

: >Leave <qechmeyraj> as it is, but read it as "your ideas scattered
: >all over the place."
: IMHO, putting -mey on qech wouldn't imply "scattered about"
: DloraH

Correct... because {-mey} is the expected plural form of {qech}.  For body
parts and people, the "scattered about" sense of {-mey} comes to mind precisely
because it is NOT the expected suffix.  According to the discussion of {-mey}
in TKD p.23f:
This suffix is used to mark the plural of any noun: {mIDmey} "colonies",
{yuQmey} "planets". It can also be used with nouns referring to beings capable
of using language (those nouns which take {-pu'}). When it is so used, it adds
a notion of "scattered all about" to the meaning. Compare: {puq} "child",
{puqpu'} "children", {puqmey} "children all over the place". The suffix {-mey}
cannot be used with body parts. It should be noted, however, that Klingon poets
often violate this grammatical rule in order to evoke particular moods in their
poetry. Thus, forms such as {tlhonmey} "nostrils scattered all about" do occur.
Until the subtle nuances of such constructions are firmly grasped, however, it
is suggested that students of Klingon stick to the rules. Finally, some nouns
in Klingons are inherently or always plural in meaning, and therefore never
take plural suffixes: {ray'} "targets", {cha} "torpedoes", {chuyDaH}
"thrusters". The singular conterparts of such words are utterly distinct: {DoS}
"target", {peng} "torpedo", {vIj} "thruster". The singular forms may take the
{-mey} suffix, but that would carry the "scattered all about" connotation:
{DoSmey} "targets scattered all about", {pengmey} "torpedoes all over the
Further, using {-mey} on one of these inherently plural nouns is out and out
wrong.  Okrand characterizes {ngopmey} "plateses" as babytalk in KGT p.33. 
(BTW, we don't know whether Klingons view babytalk as cute... or annoying.)  I
would imagine when a Klingon hears an adult alien use the wrong plural suffix,
chances are he won't think him an unexpectedly skilled and subtle poet of
Klingon, he'll just think the alien is making a common (for non-Klingon
speakers) mistake.

As Okrand recommends, it's probably best to leave such subtleties to the
Klingon poets.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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