tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Jul 09 10:43:51 2009

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Re: Questions with law'/puS

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

Terrence Donnelly wrote:
> We haven't seen {-'a'} used on an adjective verb?  This greatly
> surprises me. Positive, negative and interrogative are such
> fundamental modes of discourse that I find it almost impossible to
> believe you couldn't use {-'a'} with an adjective.

Eh? What would *{tlhIngan HoSghaj'a' vIlegh} mean? "I see the Klingon 
who may or may not be powerful"?

I'd much rather see Type 6 suffixes on adjectival verbs. Much more 
useful. *{tlhIngan HoSghajlaw' vIlegh} "I see the Klingon who seems 
powerful." But, of course, you can do this sort of thing legally with 
complete sentences: {HoSghajlaw'bogh tlhIngan vIlegh}.

Actually, transforming it into a relative clause like that is a good 
demonstration as to why you WOULDN'T expect {-'a'} to be a good suffix 
on an adjectival verb. As a relative clause, the Type 9 suffix is taken 
by the {-bogh}, with no place for an {-'a'}.

> When people reacted so strongly to my use of {-'a'}, I concluded that
> we must have _no_ examples of verb suffixes on a {law'/puS} pair.
> But now that I know we have canon for at least one verb suffix,
> {-be'}, I find it very hard to believe that we couldn't use {-'a'}.

It was in KGT, where Okrand is telling us about special exceptions to 
the usual law'/puS construction. law'be'/puSbe' is a specially 
sanctioned formation, and not evidence of a general trend of using verb 

> Oh, now I see what you are saying.  You are interpreting the
> {law'/puS} verbs as if they are adjectivally modifiying noun phrases,
> as if {SoH HoS law'} meant something like "many (strong you)", in
> which case you are right: an interrogative on an adjective verb used
> adjectivally is not something we've ever seen, and it doesn't make
> much grammatical sense, either. But I've always interpreted them
> verbally, as in "The strong of you is many", in which case other verb
> suffixes are potentially allowable.  I grant you, going by word
> position alone, they look more like adjectives than verbs, except
> we've never seen two adjectives in a row like that anywhere else, and
> ascribing verb-like meaning to them to me makes more sense
> grammatically.  I'd say that the syntax of the {law'/puS}
> construction is so fossilized and so unlike anything else we've seen
> that you can't really draw a definite conclusion.

I'd go even farther and say that one SHOULDN'T try to interpret the 
components of a law'/puS as any kind of known grammar, because one will 
inevitably try to apply grammar appropriate to the model construction 
but inappropriate to the law'/puS.

It's special. It can't be interpolated or expanded. It must remain 
fixed. Period. Done. Game, set, and match. rIntaH.

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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