tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Aug 23 12:08:16 2002

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"The Cat in the Hat"

>..."The Cat in the Hat" and "a man from Peru" are such useful ideas
>that I'd expect them to be legal if the placement of type-5'd nouns were
>based primarily on semantics.

ja' tulwI':
>i don't understand. could you please explain this to me (beginning
>from "The Cat in the Hat")?

There's a rule in Klingon grammar which says that the first noun in a
noun-noun pair never takes a Type 5 "syntactic marker" suffix.

The ideas carried by those Klingon suffixes are generally expressed using
prepositions in English: "to", "from", "for", etc.  In English, nouns can
be modified to create phrases such as "flowers for my mother" and "clock on
the wall".  These phrases can be used anywhere a noun fits, including the
subject or object of a sentence.  "I put <flowers for my mother> in a
vase."  "The <clock on the wall> has the face of a cow."

Let's pick locatives as an example.  We don't see locative nouns used as
sentence subjects in Klingon.  We can assume that there's no grammatical
restriction for it, and that the reason for this is that they just don't
make sense there.  But if we make that assumption, we still have to deal
with the explicit grammatical restriction against locatives as the first
noun of a noun-noun construction.  You cannot directly translate "clock on
the wall" into Klingon without either adding a verb or losing the "on" idea.

This issue is often called the "Cat in the Hat" problem, because the
children's book of that name is occasionally mentioned as something that
ought to be translated.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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