tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Apr 16 00:58:01 2002

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Re: "be'be'" - double negation

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

Good point.  However, I'd make a small addition: Klingon's genders (also more 
accurately called noun classes) are logical in the sense that the meaning of 
the word determines its class.  But the genders of French words (to use an 
example I'm familiar with) are logical in another way: the word itself tells 
you what the class is.  I don't have to know that "chat" means cat to know 
that the word needs masculine adjectives and pronouns, because it has the 
form of a masculine noun.  I would also know that "chatte" was its feminine 
form, again without having to know that it meant a female cat.  (Of course, 
there are exceptions to the regular formations of the masculine and feminine, 
but not _too_ many.)  If I just saw the word "tlhon" and wasn't sure what it 
meant, I'd be clueless as to what plural marker it needed.

For "chat"/"chatte", the genders of the words are predictable by logic _and_ 
by the sounds of the words, which is generally not true in French.  I wonder 
if there are many languages where the word classes always behave this way.  
Perhaps Swahili?  Does anyone know?


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