tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 25 18:53:16 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Christopher Doty (

Okay, good, then we have been talking past each other a bit, I think.
So let me walk through my reasoning a bit...

<yIH may'> is certainly "a tribble battle," or "a battle of tribbles."
 We agree on that, I think.

But the battle that I am envisioning has nothing to do with tribbles.
Tribbles is just being used as an insult.  To circumlocute a bit,
imagine two warriors in the midst of a battle.  One says to the other
(this sounds like the start of a joke, but it's not*):

<may'vam 'oH may' quvHa''e'. yIHvaD 'oH yInob!>
"This battle is a dishonorable one.  Give it to the tribbles."

I'd rather like another verb here (more like leave behind... chuvmoH?
Meh.  Anyway...).

This is what I was getting at, not an issue of the battle being a
battle of tribbles, but that the battle is fit only tribbles to engage
it, so leave it that they might have it.

I think maybe this thing I tried to say is weird, as it is sort of a
translation of idiomatic English. Let's try something else.

What if we take the canon

<Qugh la'vaD QIn pav>
Urgent message for Commander Kruge.

And think of a more extended context.  What if I said:

"The transmission is an urgent message for Commander Kruge."
<Qugh la'vaD QIn pav 'oH jabbI'ID'e'>

Does this strike you as wrong for the same reason, when there is a
clear recipient of an actual concrete thing?


*But maybe it should be...

On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 17:51, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> Christopher Doty wrote:
>> On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 17:25, David Trimboli <> wrote:
>>>>> 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...
>>> If a sequence of nouns is not a noun-noun construction, what is it? What
>>> roles do those nouns play in the sentence? The earlier nouns can't be
>>> modifying the later nouns, because that's a noun-noun construction.
>>> Nouns with syntactic markers or timestamp nouns might sit next to each
>>> other, but all of those apply to the *verb*, not the other nouns.
>> Ah ha! I finally see what you are saying, I think.  Namely, that in
>> <yIHvaD may'>, <yIHvaD> must modify <may'> to get the reading I
>> intend, but it also can't if it's in a n-n phrase, because then the
>> first word doesn't take a suffix.  Is this the issue you're seeing?
>> If so, let me know and I'll address it specifically instead of going
>> into detail about all of the other stuff in this email.  I think we've
>> been talking past each other a bit if this is the issue.
> Yes! That's it exactly.
> --
> SuStel
> tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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