tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon May 18 18:53:05 2009

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Re: Question problem

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

Doq wrote:
> I wanted to ask, "Why are you starting slowly?"
> Suddenly, I realized that I had one grammatical slot to put two words
> in. I don't think we've been given any license to use two adverbials
> with a single verb, since adverbials don't have conjunctions like 
> nouns and verbs do. Meanwhile, the question word for "why" is 
> grammatically treated as an adverbial, so I'm stuck.

Is it? TKD 6.4 simply says the question words /nuqDaq/, /ghorgh/,
/qatlh/, and /chay'/ occur "at the beginning of the sentence." It says
nothing about them taking an "adverbial slot."

In fact, we don't know anything about "adverbial slots." TKD 5.4 simply
says that most adverbials occur "at the beginning of a sentence." We've
never SEEN two adverbials in a single sentence (not counting /neH/,
which works differently), but that doesn't automatically deny us the

Basic Klingon sentence structure seems to be very amorphous. I picture
it this way:

	<header> <object> <verb> <subject>

where <header> is a nebulous blob containing all the bits that aren't
the object, the verb, or the subject. Timestamps tend to come first,
adverbials tend to come before nouns, question words tend to come before
everything else. Of those tendencies, I think only the one about
timestamps is explicit (TKD p. 179); the others probably come about due
to our native language instincts. Strictly speaking, according to the
book, timestamps tend to come first, adverbials tend to come last, and
everything else appears between the two.

This general structure has, of course, many exceptions. This is not an
all-inclusive formula.

qatlh QIt bItaghlI'?

(Notice the lowercase /q/ in /qatlh/!)

David Trimboli

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