tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Nov 24 18:58:06 2009

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Re: pu'jIn

ghunchu'wI' (

On Nov 24, 2009, at 8:08 PM, Christopher Doty wrote:

>> Loading up on nouns in a noun phrase may make logical sense, but it's
>> often difficult to parse.
> I'll probably get in trouble for this, but it is difficult to parse
> for English speakers because we have two genitive constructions, and
> we do our best to keep them separate.

That's an interesting proposal, but I'd venture that long strings of  
nouns are difficult for us to parse mostly because none of us is a  
native speaker of Klingon.  The cognitive load on my brain when  
speaking Klingon is definitely a bit higher in general than when I'm  
speaking English.  Simplicity is easier to handle than complexity,  
and small numbers of things are easier than large numbers of things.   
I don't think a difficulty with phrases consisting of many nouns in a  
row is due to any more than that.

It was probably ten or twelve years ago when a few of us tried to  
quantify our mental "stack size" for parsing nested relative  
clauses.  In English, six or seven levels was not a big problem.  In  
Klingon, we started getting lost around four or five.  I wish I had  
documented it at the time.  Maybe we should repeat the experiment the  
next time a group of us gets together; it would probably make a good  
research project.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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