tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jun 11 12:14:12 2002

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Re: Headers. Yet again.

As much as I enjoy the peace that has slowly come between myself and SuStel and 
as much as I do not look forward to engaging in dispute about this again, I 
feel compelled to answer and think that maybe, just maybe, I have something 
possibly insightful to add to this long-standing, unresolved argument.

> From: <>
> > Since all of the type 5 noun suffixes except -'e' must come before the
> basic
> > sentence, not just locatives must come before the basic sentence, the
> > contrived appellation "header" may be just accurate enough.
> This is the basic misunderstanding that persists for some odd reason.  THE
> KLINGON DICTIONARY does not say that nouns with Type 5 suffixes come at the
> beginning of a sentence.  It says (p. 60):
> "Any noun in the sentence indicating something other than subject or object
> comes first, before the object noun.  Such nouns usually end in a Type 5
> noun suffix . . . ."

SuStel, you see this as the imprecise rule that it is, with an obvious loophole 
built into it. My issue here is that I think maybe you are missing the point as 
to exactly what loophole is being built here. There's something here that is so 
obvious, I think you overlook it, seeking something that is possible, but never 
supported anywhere in canon.

The statement sounds like it was going to say, "All nouns other than subject or 
object have a Type 5 noun suffix and go before the object noun," but Okrand 
pulled back to allow exceptions, using the word "usually". In this, I think you 
are perfectly right.

Meanwhile, I think the loophole he created here was so that he could use time-
stamp related nouns like {Hu'} and {po} which are not subject or object and go 
before the object noun, but they don't have a Type 5 noun suffix. Also, he 
wanted to make room for all those exceptions with {-'e'}. 

I don't see this as anything close to an argument for using Type 5 noun 
suffixed nouns anywhere but before the object noun (except for the noted 
exceptions marking {-'e'} as a very exceptional noun suffix among Type 5s). You 
do obviously believe that this DOES imply that a loophole does exist to allow 
Type 5 (other than {-'e'} marked nouns to go somewhere other than before the 
object noun.

After all these years, Okrand hasn't used the loophole you believe he has put 
in here. He has many times used the loophole that I see this indicating.

Add that Okrand says that usage is more important than the rules. In his 
imaginary universe where this language actually belongs to a race of beings, 
the rules are descriptive, not prescriptive. Your argument is totally based 
upon these rules being prescriptive, since no examples exist for this rule to 
describe the behavior you continue to wait for to vindicate your position.

The rules are tools to help outsiders figure out how to say stuff. After 
they've learned the rules and gotten practice working with them, they can then 
watch "official" usage and move on, rather than always sit, staring at the 
rules, evaluating everything according to the rules.

This doesn't mean that we can run off and violate the rules in new and 
interesting ways. It does, however, mean that OKRAND can run off and violate 
the rules in new and interesting ways, (like with transitive verbs using {-
moH}) and when he does so, we try to figure out the new DESCRIPTIVE rules to 
explain why the usage is the way it is.

As soon as I see any canon that makes more that the described exceptional uses 
of {-'e'} which violate the so-far-unviolated trend in canon to ALWAYS put any 
noun with a Type 5 noun suffix on it (except sometimes {-'e'}) before the 
object noun, I think it is really okay to say that as a description of how the 
grammar has always worked in canon, any noun with Type 5 noun suffix (except 
sometimes {-'e'} as described in TKD) always goes before the object noun.

You have great talent with the language. You are definitely more conversational 
with it than I am. {DaHjaj po} was brilliant, as was the poem about the old 
lady who swallowed the bug. I totally lack your poetic skills with the 
language. I very much appreciate your contributions as a fellow matlh jupna'. 

Meanwhile, this fixation on a likely non-existant loophole in what really does 
appear to be a rule that says all Type 5 marked nouns (except {-'e'}) go before 
the object noun is not, in my useless opinion, a contribution. It's just 
stubbornness. You've hung your national flag on this grammatical turf and 
you'll defend it to the death. It defies rationality, even as it insists that 
it is a logical argument. It has clearly become an ego thing. I can say that 
because I obviously have ego stuff going on as well, and I invite others to 
point out to me when I'm letting my ego get in the way of clarity. I will 
listen to that feedback and consider it heavily (even though I may very well 
simply continue to disagree with the person offering it).

I leave your comments unedited in order to fully represent your contrary 
> Use basic logic.  If most people like chocolate and I am a person, it does
> not follow that I must like chocolate.  If we are using the rules presented
> by TKD, then when something has a Type 5 noun suffix on it, there is no rule
> stating that it must come before the object noun.  If that noun with the
> Type 5 suffix is indicating something other than subject or object, THAT
> invokes the quoted rule to put it in front of the OVS structure.  Not all
> nouns with Type 5 suffixes are something other than subject or object; your
> assertion above is incorrect.

[Adverbial stuff deleted because I completely agree with it.]

> SuStel
> Stardate 2442.4


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