tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed May 20 04:46:49 2009

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Re: Question problem

Doq (

We were told that question words take the place of the words that  
answer them. {nuq} is treated grammatically like the noun it replaces.  
The answer could be the same sentence with {nuq} replaced by the noun  
that answers the question. I had thought that discussions similarly  
took the "beginning" question words as adverbials.

My mistake, I guess.

Of course, that doesn't resolve why we should prefer to have the  
adverbial or the question word first, except to mimic the English word  
order preference.


On May 18, 2009, at 9:50 PM, David Trimboli wrote:

> 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
> possibility.
> 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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