tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jan 05 10:00:04 1999

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Re: chuyDaH+mey (was Re: Problem Words)

On Mon, 4 Jan 1999 18:46:07 -0800 (PST) Alan Anderson 
<> wrote:

> ja' charghwI':
> >The interesting confusion Okrand then leaves us with is that
> >since these words are supposed to be treated grammatically
> >singular, what happens when we put a number in front of them? Do
> >we still treat is grammatically singular? Is the plural suffix
> >the only thing we don't do to consider it plural? It is a bit
> >messy yet.
> Oh.  *Now* I see what you are talking about. 

Good. I figured we were simply miscommunicating more than we 
were disagreeing.

> They are inherently plural,
> thus they never get a plural suffix -- but can they fit in a sentence as
> a true plural?  Does the presence of a quantifier make a difference?  I
> thought you were worried about quantifying them in the first place, not
> what you did about the suffix when they were quantified.  I apologize
> for misunderstanding your problem and coming back with misaimed answers
> based on the obviously plural usage on the poster.

> The sentence on the poster which says {muDDaq 'eDSeHcha lulaQlu'bogh: jav}
> uses a word translated as "take-off/landing thrusters", which is similar in
> character to {chuyDaH} "thrusters" -- and it *does* have a plural-indicating
> verb prefix. 

Meanwhile, I see an important difference between {chuyDaH} and 
{'eDSeHcha}. {chuyDaH} has a companion noun {vIj}. The result is 
that {vIj} doesn't get {-mey} on it without the "scattered all 
about" meaning, and {chuyDaH} never gets a plural suffix. So far 
as we know, {'eDSeHcha} has no singular equivalent and has no 
restrictions. It may simply be a noun that in English we see as 
plural (thrusters) while in Klingon they see it as singular. It 
may be made of pieces, but they see it as one unit.

In that case, like with any other normal noun, putting a number 
in front of it makes the plural suffix unnecessary, so it is 
typically omitted. Until I get a little more evidence to the 
contrary, I'm not seeing {'eDSeHcha} as being grammatically 
similar to {chuyDaH}. I think it is a normal noun. Most evidence 
points to that likelihood, until we get a separate noun meaning 
"attitude-control thruster".

> If we aren't allowed to put a plural suffix on the word even
> when it's definitely being used in a plural fashion, that would be odd.
> Not that odd is bad, of course. :)

Of course.

I'm less interested in this perfectly following any given old 
rule than I am in just finding out how this conflict of rules is 
resolved. So far, I'm not all that convinced that you can even 
put a number in front of a noun like {chuyDaH}, let alone how 
we'd handle the prefix if such an event occurred.


Wow. Minor revellation.

If {chuyDaH} really refers to the cluster, and {vIj} really 
refers to the individual thruster, then it would indeed be 
natural for the plural of {vIj} to imply unclustered thrusters, 
since the cluster has another name for it.

But then again, what if a cluster was composed of three 
thrusters and you wanted to say that two of them were misfiring. 
They are not scattered, but they are not a whole cluster...

This is a lot more complex than it initially appears.

> >The real mess we can't resolve yet is how to deal with multiple
> >clusters in terms of grammatically singular treatment of
> >inherantly plural nouns with numbers in front of them. How would
> >you answer:
> >
> >chuyDaH 'ar lughaj cha' tlharghDuj?
> >
> >When you give your answer, does the verb have {lu-} or not?
> It doesn't if you're talking about {'eDSeHcha} instead of {chuyDaH}.  It's
> not a perfect answer, but I think it helps a lot.

I agree on all points.
> -- ghunchu'wI'

charghwI' 'utlh

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