tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jul 14 20:02:51 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

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

Re: Questions with law'/puS

Doq (

You are ignoring that {-be'} is a suffix that can be used on verbs  
used as adjectives, as in {cha' yIH lI'be'}. "Two useless tribbles" is  
really "two not-useful tribbles". You can use {-be'} on verbs while  
they are being used as adjectives. You can't use most verb suffixes on  
verbs while they are being used as adjectives.

In other words, I can say "The weapon is big," and "The weapon is not  
big," and "Is the weapon big?"

I can also say, "the big weapon" and "the not-big weapon", but I can't  
really "the is-it-big? weapon".

See the problem?

Hmmm. On the tape, I remember it as being {cha' yIHmey lI'be'}. That  
pretty much proves that my earlier "memory" was indeed false.

Anyway, Okrand explicitly told us NOT to analyze {law'/puS} with any  
kind of parallel English grammar, and I don't see that he's done that  
here. You could just as easily describe it as:

You say to me, "My ridgy many forehead, your ridgy few forehead!"

To which I answer, "Your ridgy not-many forehead, my ridgy not-few  

So, if this is closer to the "meaning" of {law'/puS} in a raw  
translated form, how would you make an interrogative out of an  


On Jul 12, 2009, at 11:54 AM, Terrence Donnelly wrote:

> --- On Sat, 7/11/09, qe'San (Jon Brown) <> wrote:
>> See Maltz's Reward Part IV  HolQeD 13:1 pg 10:
>> QuchwIj vIl law' QuchlIj vIl puS
>> my forehead is reidgier than your forehead
>> To diagree with this notion, that is, to assert that your
>> forehead is not
>> ridgier than mine (it may be the same), one would use the
>> construction A Q
>> law'be'  B Q puSbe' (A's Q is not many, B's Q is not
>> few) (-be' not):
>> QuchlIj vIl law'be' QuchwIj vIl puSbe'
>> your forehead isn't ridgier than my forehead
> Please note that, although I was warned in the direst terms not to  
> think of the contrastive verb pair in {law'/puS} as having the force  
> of verbs, or to try to analyze the construction at all, MO has  
> analyzed it, and that is evidently how MO thinks of them.  From MO's  
> own words, it appears that the Q word takes on a nominative meaning  
> (the abstract quality described by the adjective verb), which is  
> modified by the A as if it were an N1-N2 compound, for which the  
> comparative verb acts like a predicate. Think of it as a kind of  
> topic phrase: "As for your forehead's ridginess, it is few." It  
> doesn't matter how different the syntax is from any other Klingon  
> sentences, since the comparative is unique, because Okrand has  
> actually parsed the syntax for us.
> I still believe that the interrogative is such a fundamental  
> discourse mode that I would be shocked speechless if {law''a'/ 
> puS'a'} turned out to be illegal. But, given the lack of  
> corroboration, I probably would refrain from using it under normal  
> circumstances.
> -- ter'eS

Back to archive top level