tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed May 20 06:39:46 2009

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Re: Question problem

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

Doq wrote:
> 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/!)
> We were told that question words take the place of the words that 
> answer them.

We're told "For /'Iv/ "who?" and /nuq/ "what?" the question word fits in 
the position that would be occupied by the answer."

> 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.

In the case of timestamps, it's fairly clear that they should come 
first—although I bet Okrand wasn't considering the question words when 
he wrote that.

Otherwise, we have nothing that tells us we have to mimic whatever would 
be comfortable in English. As long as you're not overloading the 
"header-space" with too many words to parse, feel free to order things 
however you see fit.

David Trimboli

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