tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Jul 13 14:06:03 2002

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Re: 'e' Xlu' vs net X, was Re: grammar questions

>From: "Andrew Strader" <>
> > Is there any reason that "'e' Xlu'" has to have a different meaning from
> > X" in order for it to be allowed? By analogy, just because we have 
> > that doesn't mean that "jar ret" is invalid. Certain things can have 
> > than one way of being said.
>So is it your opinion that /net/ is never required?  That it is totally
>optional?  If /'e' X-lu'/ is allowed at all times, what is the point of
>I can certainly agree that there are times when a language will have more
>than one tool to do something, but in this case declaring /'e' X-lu'/ to be
>identical to /net X/ would seem to make the whole word /net/ absolutely

What, then, is the point of any of the future/past time period words, when 
we have /ret/ and /pIq/?  MO answers:

The words {ret} and {pIq} could also be used with days, months, and
years (e.g., {wej jaj ret} <three days ago> rather than {wejHu'}), but 
utterances of this type are not particularly common, sound a bit archaic, 
and are usually restricted to rather formal settings.

With longer time periods, such as a century ({vatlh DIS poH}),
millennium ({SaD DIS poH}), or a period of 10,000 years ("myriad,"
perhaps) ({netlh DIS poH}), the words {ret} or {pIq} may be used in place of 
{poH}, e.g., {cha' vatlh DIS poH} <two centuries>, but {cha' vatlh DIS ret} 
<two centuries ago>. The phrase {cha' vatlh ben} would mean "200 years ago." 
The choice of construction depends on what is being emphasized: in this 
case, the total number of centuries (two) or the total number of years 
(200).  (HolQeD 8:3)

So /ben/ and /DIS ret/, while they mean essentially the same thing, are 
still slightly different.  If that were not the case, then they could be 
swapped with no difference in meaning in the two example phrases, but MO 
says they cannot.

I'm not saying I agree with taD; I haven't made my mind up yet.  But there's 
precedent in the language for such subtle differences between two ways of 
saying something; though two phrases may have the same denotation, they can 
have different connotations.



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