tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 02 15:11:06 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

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

Re: Numbers with pronouns

Christopher Doty (

On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 13:00, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> Yes, if you put suffixes on the pronoun, it's more verb-like than its
> English counterpart. But I didn't say that {tlhIngan jIH} was
> grammatically identical to "me Klingon"; I just said that saying one is
> the same as saying the other. The overall EFFECT is the same.

But these AREN'T the same.  "I am a Klingon" is the same as Klingon
<tlhingan jIH>.  If you're trying to capture the ungrammaticality of
the English, you need something different in Klingon: <jIjIH tlhingan>
or <jIH tlhingan>.  Something that is wrong, anyway.

> Everyone has already jumped all over me saying "YOU SAID PRONOUNS AREN'T
> VERBS! SACRILEGE!" They're NOT verbs; they're pronouns. But in Klingon,
> (most) pronouns can perform some of the functions that verbs do, while
> still remaining pronouns.
> Klingon pronouns are halfway between nouns and verbs. They have features
> of both, but are neither.

If pronouns have features of both nouns and verbs, the real question
here is *what sets them apart from both of those categories*? We have
lots of words in Klingon that function as nouns and verbs.  What is
wrong with considering the pronouns as simply another case of this:
sometimes they are nouns, sometimes they are verbs.  They're called
"pronouns" because they are semantically unique from either, but that
doesn't mean that they are a separate syntactic class.

Actually, this is a good question.  Do the pronouns ever behave in a
way that sets them apart from other parts of speech, syntactically

> When I say {tlhIngan jIH}, I'm saying "me
> Klingon." When I say {tlhIngan jIHtaH}, I'm saying "me Klingon,
> continuous." If I say {DujDaq jIHtaH}, I'm saying "me, on the ship,
> continuous." The effect is a Klingon pounding his chest and saying "Me,"
> or pointing at a ship and saying "Me there!"

This isn't the effect at all, because one is ungrammatical and one is not.

> And regarding Christopher's demanding to know (once again) where Okrand
> said this: he didn't. I'm not repeating anything Okrand said; I am
> proposing a grammatical model and description based on available
> evidence. Accept it or not; I don't care. I haven't heard the old {jIQub
> vaj jIH} for a few years now; it's not something that's terribly
> important. It's just an amusement. Klingon handles "to be" the way
> Tarzan does, and that's funny.

I am "demanding" to know this because I don't really understand the
logic that people on this list.  I have tried to both a) extrapolate
from what is known and b) strictly follow what is laid out in TKD and
elsewhere.  Regardless of which strategy I use, someone comes back
with the other strategy.  Because I was getting in trouble for
extrapolating, I was trying to follow TKD very closely, but then I'm
told that we can extrapolate.  Why is this sometimes okay and others

Back to archive top level