tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue May 18 18:41:44 1999

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Re: [compound questions]

ja' Voragh:
>:   "Is that a targ or a cat?"
>:   {targh 'oH'a' pagh vIghro' 'oH'a'}
>: I use {pagh} because it cannot be both...
>{pagh} links sentences; use {ghap} "either/or" to link nouns:
> targh vIghro' ghap 'oH'a'?
>  "Is that a targ or a cat?"

But that seems to be a completely different question.  muHwI' seems to be
asking which of two alternatives is correct; your suggestion just wants to
know whether it's either of them.

>See the example from "Conversational Klingon":
>  HIq qIj reghuluS 'Iw HIq ghap jab.
>  They serve black ale or Regulan bloodwine.
>The question of course is simply:
>  HIq qIj reghuluS 'Iw HIq ghap jab'a'?
>  Do they serve black ale or Regulan bloodwine?

This question doesn't ask which they serve; it merely asks whether they
serve one or the other.

>It's interesting that the "zero prefix" ("they [do something to] them") is
>used.  Although the answer must be singular - either one or the other is
>served, not both - the two choices together seem to be considered a plural
>object in the sentence.

I'm not certain this can be a valid deduction from the example.  There are
many places where the English translation is not completely literal; this
could easily be one of them.  The use of the "indefinite they" to refer to
a single person of irrelevant gender is common enough in English, even if
it's a bit nonstandard.

>ghunchu'wI' and I disagree on how to ask the compound question: "Is that a
>targ or is that a cat?"  I think that
>  targh 'oH'a' pagh vIghro' 'oH'a'?
>is correct, even though we've never seen a compound sentence of this
>specific pattern, comprised of two or more yes/no questions as clauses.
>This is probably due to the limited nature of what is still a relatively
>small corpus of Klingon.

It could also be part of the general tendency of Klingon not to have a
"which?" question.  This is exactly that kind of question, and it could
easily be "asked" using an imperative:

targh 'oH pagh vIghro' 'oH'.  Ha'DIbaHvetlh yIngu'!

-- ghunchu'wI'

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