tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 02 14:06:50 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: Numbers with pronouns

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

Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM, David Trimboli <> wrote:
>> The effect is a Klingon pounding his chest and saying "Me,"
>> or pointing at a ship and saying "Me there!"
>  Klingon handles "to be" the way
>> Tarzan does, and that's funny.
> Funny, maybe, but not accurate.  Many human langauges share this lack
> of a copula in some subset of sentences that would use one in English;
> the Russian present tense is a well-known example:  "Ya russkij" = "I
> (am a) Russian."  I don't think it would be a good idea to tell the
> Russians that they're all talking like Tarzan. :)

I'm perfectly aware that some languages do this, and as an English 
speaker I still think it's funny.

> The fact that to put the sentence into the perfective aspect in
> Klingon you say {tlhIngan jIHpu'} implies to me that there's nothing
> missing, no element that you could say was being left out as Tarzan
> leaves out his "to be"s.  That sentence a verb:  {jIH}.

I see your confusion. I'm not saying that Tarzan leaves out words. I'm 
just saying that's how he speaks. First the pronoun, then the associated 
(proper) noun. Me Tarzan. You Jane. Him Cheetah. He's saying "Me 
(points) = Tarzan. You (points) = Jane. Him (points) = Cheetah." Tarzan 
knows the words, but not the syntax. My point has been that the meaning 
behind Tarzan's syntax, "me=Tarzan," is the same as the meaning behind 
the Klingon "to be" construction. The Klingon can have other things 
added to it for more sophistication than Tarzan is capable of, but it's 
basically the same idea. jIH=tlhIngan. tlhIngan jIH.

> The word {jIH} may not be categorized as a verb in Klingon
> dictionaries, but parts of speech are largely artificial anyway; Latin
> grammarians considered nouns and adjectives to be the same category.
> What's important is that it's functioning as a verb syntactically.

But they apparently don't use prefixes. And we've seen very few suffixes 
used on them. And, artificial or not, Klingon grammarians classify them 
as {chuvmey}, not as {wotmey}. They are only partially like verbs.

If {wotmey} is at one end of the parts-of-speech continuum, {DIpmey} is 
at the other end, and everything in between is {chuvmey}, you want to 
put pronouns far closer to {wotmey} than I do. I want to put them in the 

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

Back to archive top level