tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Jul 09 09:26:11 2009

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Re: Questions with law'/puS

Terrence Donnelly (terrence.donnelly@sbcglobal.net) [KLI Member]



-- On Tue, 7/7/09, ghunchu'wI' <qunchuy@alcaco.net> wrote:

> Date: Tuesday, July 7, 2009, 4:12 PM
> On Jul 7, 2009, at 2:59 PM, qe'San
> ((Jon Brown)) wrote:
> 
> > Using "who?" an observer of the classic joke migh just
> ask a fellow  
> > observer:
> >
> >        'Iv Doy' law' Hoch Doy'
> puS, qama' 'avwI' ghap Dangu'
> 
> I think you want the imperative prefix {yI-} instead of
> {Da-}.  I  
> also think {per} "label, specify, ascertain" might be a
> better verb  
> here than {ngu'} "identify".
> 

I have come around to ghunchu'wI's idea that {'Iv X law'/latlh X puS} does indeed mean "Who is the more X?", and that {Hoch X puS} would be used for the superlative, "the most X?".

However, even with the proper verb suffix on {ngu'}, I don't think this sentence works.  There is nothing connecting the question part of the sentence to the command part, moreover, when Okrand suggested the use of {ngu'}, it was to replace a non-existent indirect interrogative pronoun, not to use it with a direct interrogative phrase.  These to me are two different sentences, that don't really go together to say what qe'San wants to say: "Who is the most tired (in the world)? Identify the guard or the prisoner!"

The limits of a comparative have always come first in the comparative phrase, and I don't think that would change with a question: {qama' avwI' ghap qellu'taHvIS (or wIqeltaHvIS), 'Iv Doy' law' latlh Doy' puS?}, or (to use {-'e'} as an actual topic marker) {qama''e' avwI''e' ghap, 'Iv Doy' law' latlh Doy' puS?}. Or, if you want to keep the command, {qam'a avwI' ghap wIqeltaHvIS, Doy'qu' ghot yIngu'.}

-- ter'eS






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