tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 25 16:53:58 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Christopher Doty (

> I don't think I've ever seen that example.

It was one that Voragh sent round earlier.  It's the most obvious one,
but there are several in there which are also quite similar.

> As I mentioned before, there are several examples of noun–noun
> constructions with {-vaD} on the first noun. I believe they all occur in
> isolated noun phrases (that is, not in verbal clauses). The rules tell
> us this is not allowed, but there they are. They *are* noun-nouns.

*Why* are they noun-nouns?  I see nothing in TKD that says that any
two nouns next to each other are always and only in a N-N
relationship.  In <yaSvaD taj nobpu' qama'>, you wouldn't say that the
two nouns are in a N-N construction, I assume.

It seems to me, based on the rule that you can't have suffixes on the
first noun, your reasoning is backwards here.  If you see "N-vaD N,"
those nouns CANNOT be in a N-N construction, because it would be
ungrammatical, so they must be considered something else (two nouns
that just happened to end up next to each other).

> The BoP poster, plus this one, have enough of them that I can't complain
> *too* strongly if someone uses them, but as you now see, they will be
> really ambiguous if you try to use them: are they modifying the object
> or the verb? Personally, I will not use them without confirmation from
> Okrand.

I just don't see this as ambiguous.  As I outlined above, "N-vaD N"
cannot be ambiguous, because it can't be a N-N construction.

If you translate it straight across into English, you get "A
dishonorable battle is a battle for tribbles."  Now, I'm willing to
acknowledge that I've basically just translated a somewhat idiomatic
construction into Klingon, and one might have objects for that reason,
but I still don't see

> I am also convinced that Okrand simply forgot that the rules in TKD
> forbid this sort of thing.

Can you tell me what rule this is?  I'm still not following.  I know
that there is a rule that suffixes can't go on the first noun in a N-N
construction, but I haven't seen a rule that says all noun-noun
sequences are automatically noun-noun constructions...

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