tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Dec 06 15:28:31 2007

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Re: Prefix and noun agreement (was: usage of type-7 aspect suffix {-pu})

Alan Anderson ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

ja' SuStel:

> Alan Anderson wrote:
>> The odd thing is that I don't have a big problem treating it as a
>> first person subject when the verb prefix asks me to.
> That *is* odd. What would you make of this:
>     qorDu' reghom qorDu'

I'd have to get some inflection or body language help in order to be  
sure, but my first reaction at the end of the sentence is a  
combination of confusion and irritation at having been posed such a  
syntactic puzzle. :)

Perhaps I should rephrase what I said in my prior note: I don't have  
a big problem treating it as a first person subject when the verb  
prefix has already warned me that I should be prepared to do so.

That warning doesn't apply to the first {qorDu'} in your sentence.   
I've already heard and mostly fixed it as either a third-person  
object or direct address by the time the verb carrying the {re-}  
prefix comes by, so I'd have to backtrack in order to reinterpret it  
as anything else.  If that happens, I'm no longer just hearing and  
understanding; I'm actively analyzing.  So I'm getting the meaning as  
it comes in:  "Family - we meet you."  Fine, obviously direct  
address, carry on.  (Nobody has a problem with the addressee being a  
second-person object, right?  That's pretty much what direct address  

I'm ready for a first-person plural subject now.  No, it's stronger  
than that:  I already *have* a first-person plural subject.  Whatever  
comes after the verb is going to be interpreted in that context.  So  
here comes the second {qorDu'}, then the end of the sentence, and I'm  
left with an incomplete understanding of what was meant.  The problem  
I have with it isn't really that the prefix fails to match the noun.   
What trips me up is that the final noun is the same as the first one,  
and I've already pegged {qorDu'} as the entity I'm addressing.  I  
have conflicting expectations about it, my process of immediate  
interpretation breaks down, and I have to bring the logic/analysis  
part of my brain to bear instead of the language/idea part.  Without  
too much thought, I'd probably end up considering it as repeated  
direct address.  "Hey folks, we meet you, folks."

Make it {qorDu' reghom meb} and it loses the confusing aspect  
completely.  I'd certainly pause for a moment to make sure the  
speaker was finished, but it seems like a straightforward "Family, we  
guests meet you."  That's what I get when I try to watch my mind  
interpreting it, anyway.

On the other hand, when I start with "we guests meet you" in English  
and try to say it in Klingon, it isn't so straightforward.  I don't  
want to *say* {reghom meb}, even though it makes sense to me when I  
hear it.  My most satisfying translation is {mebpu' maH; reghom.}   
I'm pretty sure I would never even consider trying to express the  
idea when thinking in Klingon to begin with.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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