tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jan 28 01:13:12 2002

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Re: I Object!

In a message dated 1/26/2002 3:22:32 PM Mountain Standard Time, writes:

> Does any language actually "have" grammatical features? Naturally occuring
> ones don't; linguists have simply opted to classify the language's features
> using various taxonomies, observing and describing patterns and rules,
> similarities and differences.

Good show, 'angghal!

I am a Chinese language instructor in Colorado, USA.  What is Chinese 
grammar?  Well, it certainly does exist.  It just didn't exist in the minds 
of Chinese analysts until Western grammarians tried to reduce the language to 
a set of grammar rules.  In the past couple of decades, even a native 
Chinese, Y.R. Chao, has written detailed tomes regarding advanced concepts in 
Chinese grammar.

In Klingon, we have the word {pab} for "a set of rules."  This word is 
defined as "grammar.," too.

In conclusion, we are a bunch of para-linguists (no matter what our 
income-producing jobs call us).  We live in an era when linguistic 
terminology abounds.  No matter how arbitrarily "grammar" has been applied to 
languages that previously had not even been redacted, these "grammars" are 
important tools for our study.  While living in the Republic of China, I 
dwelt in Ulai, a small aboriginal village where I became only the 26th person 
outside the tribes to learn the as-ye-unwritten language Atayal.  As 
interested as I was in dating one of the local mountain girls, I had lots of 
trouble learning the language due to the fact that there were no books, not 
even an alphabet.  (Actually Watan, a Canadian Presbyterian missionary was 
adapting the Chinese BoPoMoFo system into an Atayal orthography while I was 
there.)  I hired a really old lady (reputedly 82 or 84 then).  What did I do 

I used English grammar terms to write down my notes on Atayal!


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