tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 02 15:24:34 2009

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Re: Numbers with pronouns

Christopher Doty (

On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 14:03, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> 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.

One could argue (strongly, I think) that pronouns are formed from a
verb prefix, e.g., <jI->, and a something else <-H>, as all of the
pronouns end in <H>.

It's possible, ""historically,"" that this <H> is an old copula in
Klingon.  The match between the pronouns and the verb prefixes is not
perfect in every case, but then, the prefix system is a giant mess
anyway.  This might also have been the source of the <H> at the end of
the various verb suffixes, which all have a vaguely copular reading.

Another possibility (which doesn't add much to the (pro)noun/verb
discussion, but which I include nonetheless for the sake of
completeness; feel free to skip), is that the <H> in the pronouns is a
pronominal formative.  In lots of North American languages, where verb
prefixes are essentially the "main" or "primary" way that person is
indicated, separate pronominal words are formed from the prefix plus a
pronominal formative.  This formative doesn't have any meaning until
itself, but simply occurs to let the pronominal prefix stick to
something when there isn't anything else for it to stick to.  There
are also examples where the verb prefixes change over time, but the
form that occurs with the pronominal formative still has an older
form.  But I digress...

Anyway, the lack of prefixes on the pronouns could well be because
they already HAVE (old, frozen) prefixes, which have become
lexicalized over time.

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