tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Feb 25 13:11:06 2002

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Re: agentive -wI'

> ja'pu'
> >{baHwI'} is fine. {QomnISlaw'wI'} is not a very good candidate.
> qay' nuq?  I don't feel uncomfortable with using whatever suffixes are
> appropriate to identify the particular shade of meaning I wish to express.

I believe you are missing my point. For me, the issue of suffixes is a minor 
side issue to the more core issue about the difference between a relative 
clause and a {-wI'} nominalized verb:

A relative clause is something that you use incidentally to describe a noun. A 
nominalized verb is a means of naming a noun in an easily recognizable form. I 
don't need to know a gunner's name or history to be able to identify him as the 
gunner. If I talk about the gunner, you'll know who I'm talking about. {baHwI'} 
is, more than anything, an issue of vocabulary more than grammar. This 
nominalization is a way of building words.

I would be highly unlikely to ever refer to a gunner as {baHbogh nuv}. I could 
do it. Nothing in the grammar blocks my doing it. The whole point is that 
{baHwI'} is a COMMON TERM. The mechanism of {-wI'} helped build that word a 
long time ago and people have been using it ever since. You don't use {-wI'} to 
build new words for things that are not likely to become common terms.

Unique and new relative clauses are built all the time. We make them up, use 
them and throw them away. They are somewhat more awkward to express than 
nominalized verbs, but that doesn't matter because their use is tuned for this 
specific expression at this time. Each relative clause is custom made.

You don't custom make nominalized verbs with {-wI'}, unless you are being 
humorous or poetic. For the most part, you use {-wI'} to build that which is 
intended to become a common element of vocabulary, not a custom made phrase.

Nouns named as verbs with {-wI'} are crisp, brief and to the point. You aren't 
supposed to have to stop and figure them out. If this is a custom made term, it 
should have been a relative clause, not a nominalized verb.

It's not just a matter of rules. It is a matter of purpose. There is a REASON 
that Relative Clauses exist, and there is a reason that nominalized verbs with 
{-wI'} exist, and those reasons are fundamentally different, and if people 
stopped trying to use one tool for the other purpose, we'd have much better 
formed Klingon text around than we do now.

So you ignored my specific choices here:


What is a {baHwI'}? That's easy. It's a gunner. Common vocabulary.

What is a {QomnISlaw'wI'}? Ummm. I don't know. I'd have to study it a while and 
figure it out. It seems to be a person or device which apparently needs to 
experience an earthquake. This will never be a common element of vocabulary, 
and it is entirely too vague to be useful as a word. It shouldn't be a word. It 
should be a Relative Clause, written better with more clarity as to who or what 
is doing what and why or how.

Qov's {QoylaHbe'wI'} is very clever, and its meaning is pretty obvious. There 
are enough people who satisfy this definition that it could easily be a common 
element of vocabulary. I have no problem with this word. Meanwhile, the 
majority of examples that people come up with using {laH} and/or {be'} in a 
word ending with {-wI'} are ugly perversions of the vocabulary.

The point here is not understanding the letter of the law, but the spirit of 
it. It is not an issue of what suffixes the rules allow. The issue is what 
verbs and suffixes combine with {-wI'} to clearly express the meaning 
assignment of a noun for common vocabulary.

> I could go into much detail about how encountering {-wI'} at the end of a
> string of verb suffixes usually doesn't invalidate anything I've already
> started to interpret about the word, but the essential truth is that it
> just works for me when I read (or hear) it.

So, are you saying that you have no problem with {QomnISlaw'wI'}? You really 
think Okrand should include that in his next vocabulary list?

Or are you saying that you should be able to cram any Relative Clause into one 
word with {-wI'} so long as there is no explicit head noun? Or maybe you 
additionally require that the head noun of a Relative Clause needs to be the 
subject of the verb and unstated in order for the Relative Clause to be 
expressed as a nominalized verb using {-wI'}.

I think this whole trend of building new, incidental, unnecessary words to 
replace Relative Clauses is misguided.

> ja' SuStel:
> >nuq Qub ...uh... ghunchu'wI'?  pongDaj choHnIS'a'?
> jaS pongwIj vIwIvta' rut vIneH, 'ach mubepmoHbe' pabDaj.
> pongwIj vIghajbogh vIpoltaH.

Your name has become part of the common vocabulary. I have no problem with it.
> -- ghunchu'wI' 'utlh


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