tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Apr 27 06:52:10 2009

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RE: The language of the spirit

Steven Boozer (

>I seem to recall a note somewhere that for qa' (spirit) one uses the
>possessives and pluralizers indicating a language user.  

  ghe'torvo' narghDI' qa'pu' 
  when spirits escape from Gre'thor (KGT 117)

KGT 117:  Note that the word for "spirit", {qa'}, takes the plural suffix {-pu'}, which is used for beings capable of using language. Spirits do speak.

st.k 7/19/99:  the plural of {Qun} ["god, supernatural being"] is {Qunpu'} since they are or were presumably capable of using language, which is what the plural suffix {-pu'} implies ... {Qunpu'} are distinct from {qa'pu'} "spirits" (such as the spirits of the dishonored dead which reside at Gre'thor). 

>                                                        I assume that
>yab (mind, brain) refers more to the physical organ than it does to the
>English nonphysical concept of mind, and therefore would not only not use
>the language suffixes, but would never be used to refer to any sort of
>sense of self as the English word can.  

Our only example of {yab} refers to organs (plural):

  targhlIj yab tIn law' no'lI' Hoch yabDu' tIn puS 
  Your targ has a bigger brain than all your ancestors put together! PK

Whether {yab} meaning "mind, intellect" takes a plural suffix is unknown but I don't see why not -- at least under certain circumstances, e.g. the Providers (TOS "The Gamesters of Triskelion").  {wej yabDu'} refering to the three disembodied brains housed in a machine, while {wej yabpu'} might refer to them as three evolved and separate intellects, each certainly "capable of using language".  

N.B. there is another word for "brain (organ)", particularly as a food item.  Okrand comments:

KGT 225, 236:  another word, {yab}, also means "brain" as an organ, but in addition it means "mind, intellect" and is not used in reference to food" (KGT 225, 236)

Canon Master of the Klingons

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