tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Apr 15 12:50:22 2002

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Re: "be'be'" - double negation

> From: "Sean M. Burke" <[email protected]>
> > That leaves open the question of whether Klingon requires (or even allows)
> > negative words to negate the verb.

From: SuStel:
> Nowhere does Klingon have any sort of required agreements in the language.

That is an overstatement that is nearly, but not entirely true. Compared to 
most languages, Klingon has a remarkable lack of need for redundant agreement 
within the language. Meanwhile, unless you use the prefix trick to indicate 
indirect object, the verb prefix has to agree with the number and person of the 
subject and object.

> There's no gender, for instance. 

Well, technically, the difference between nouns made plural by {-mey}, {-Du'} 
and {-pu'} is that of gender. Gender is not, in all languages, sexual. 
Similarly, the difference between nouns modified by {-ma'} or {-maj} is gender. 
Klingon simply determines gender in a more logical way than many languages do.

English has masculine, feminine and neuter, all based on the absence or 
presence and type of sexual organs (visible or not), with some anthropomorphic 
exceptions. French just has masculine and feminine and a lot of memorization 
for English speakers to learn with the vocabulary as to which of the "neuter" 
nouns are masculine and which ones are feminine. German has a neuter, but some 
grammatical rules force the noun meaning "girl" to be neuter, and that makes 
sense to a German speaker.

Danish also has two genders, better thought of as "common" and "uncommon", 
since most nouns are one and a few are the other. You just have to memorize 
which ones are not "common".

Klingon "gender" is very much not memorized with the vocabulary. Gender for 
forming plurals is determined much more by a logical classification of 
nouns: "body part / being capable of language / everything else".

Klingon is also a little strange because we lose the "body part" classification 
when we divide gender for possessive noun suffixes.

We even have rules for interpreting the various intentional breaking of the 
agreement between the rationally determined proper gender vs. the "wrong" 
gender indicated. Sometimes it means "scattered about". Sometimes it is 
insulting. Sometimes it's just plain wrong.

> Until Okrand shows us an obviously
> non-erroneous example of double-negation (he DOES make mistakes, and not
> everything he writes can be taken as holy writ), your attempt to claim its
> validity is entirely baseless.

We agree on this.
> > TKW p.201:
> >     Dal pagh jagh.  [No enemy is boring.]
> >     (not:  *{Dalbe' pagh jagh})
> > Similarly:
> > TKW p.80:  "not lay'Ha' tlhIngan." (and not *{not lay'Ha'be' tlhIngan.})
> > TKW p.46:  "not toj tlhInganpu'" (and not *{not tojbe' tlhInganpu'})
> >
> > (Altho that doesn't specify whether you /can/ say *{Dalbe' pagh jagh} and
> > get the meaning "No enemy is boring".)
> But it DOES prove that negation-agreement is NOT required.

> SuStel
> Stardate 2282.4


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