tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Sep 18 17:16:00 2002

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Re: TKW p. 186

> >>   yIvoq 'ach lojmItmey yISam
> >>   "Trust but locate the doors."
> >>   Qu' DataghDI' 'aqtu' mellota' je yIqaw
> >>   "When you begin a mission, remember Aktuh and Melota."

 From "Klingon for the Galactic Traveller" (pp. 140-41):
> >  Younger Klingons also tend to use the imperative prefix yI- in
> > circumstances judged inappropriate by older Klingons. In standard
> >   [...]
> > most Klingons still consider the ambiguous use of yI- an error.

>Then I think I belong to "most klingons"  }}:-)

In neither of the proverbs quoted above is the meaning ambiguous.  The 
objects are clearly plural:  {lojmItmey} and {'aqtu' mellota' je}.  The 
(mis)use of {yI-} was just unexpected to an advanced beginner - as, in 
fact, are most colloquial features of foreign languages when first 

 From the same passage in KGT:

   This construction is heard with increasing regularity, though hardly
   a majority of the time. It leads to no misunderstanding as long as
   the object noun (jaghpu' ["enemies"] in the examples above) is marked
   for plural--that is, as long as it has a plural suffix (here, -pu')
   or is a word that is inherently plural (such as cha ["torpedoes"]).

Think of this as being akin to the far more widespread use of {tu'lu'} for 
{lutu'lu'} with plural subjects in Klingon.  Cp. the virtual disappearance 
of "whom", the growing misuse of the subjunctive, etc., etc. in (American) 
English.  I'm sure there are similar "errors" in German among the post-War 
generations that your elders complain about.  Its likely that educated (and 
older) speakers always speak grammatically - that is, after all, the 
easiest way to show off your education! - but remember that most speakers 
of any language are not highly educated.

All languages develop - a fact which constantly dismays prescriptivist 
language teachers.

O tempora! O mores!  <g>

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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