tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 12 06:37:50 2007

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Re: Prefix and noun agreement

David Trimboli ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

Alan Anderson wrote:
>> Why does it matter if it works for you, if it doesn't work for Okrand?
> It only matters to me when I'm treating Klingon as a language worth  
> studying, rather than as a game with arbitrary and inflexible rules.   

Implying that those of us who disagree with you on this treat Klingon as 
a game with arbitrary and inflexible rules? Harrumph!

> (And I reject as irrelevant the observation that what is natural to  
> us says nothing about what is natural for Klingons.  There are no  
> Klingons.  To me, that seems less of an argument and more of a  
> refusal to consider anything not written as an explicit rule.)

Most natural languages aren't completely natural. Most children 
acquiring English make exactly the same mistakes (double-negatives, and 
so on) because English possesses grammatical rules that are *not* 
natural to the human brain *yet which must be observed anyway*. Studies 
have shown that pidgins, and the creoles that develop out of them, are 
typically more natural for the human brain to interpret than others.

To make claims about what seems natural to your mind is fine. To 
conclude that these things are therefore good to use is folly and, given 
your stature among Klingonists, a disservice to the community. I believe 
that most of us want to speak Klingon according to Okrand, not Anderson. 
Okrand is a prescriptivist only pretending to be a descriptivist.

>> So why bother defending it? It would be really cool if my car could
>> fly. Realizing that it would be cool is not enough to make me tell
>> people that my car can fly. "Just because I have not seen it actually
>> fly yet does not necessarily imply that it cannot fly."
>> My car can't fly, and {maleng QorDu'} is not a grammatically correct
>> Klingon sentence.
> Your analogy fails because my car *does* fly.  Or maybe it swims, or  
> tunnels.  It somehow gets past what the map tells us is not a  
> passable road.  I naturally find that unexpected.  But instead of  
> saying "The map is always right, and what I experience is  
> impossible," I say "Hmm, that's odd.  I wonder how I got there?"

Pure sophistry. Analogies are illustrative only, not mechanically 
rigorous. If we must extend the analogy to a map, it would be a map of 
the highways of Qo'noS given to you here on Earth.

> It is this very "can't disagree" feature which I believe compels me  
> to interpret a subject noun as first person when the prefix says it  
> should be.

Perhaps that is an indication that your instincts have been honed 
incorrectly? Or is that beyond the realm of possibility?

As for "arbitrary and inflexible rules," Klingon is plenty flexible even 
if one decides *not* to deviate from the prescribed rules.

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