tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 30 19:06:46 2009

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Re: Numbers with pronouns

Christopher Doty (

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 18:52, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> I don't think you'd specify two of a group; you'd just specify two. This
> happens in Star Trek III:
>    wa' yIHoH!
>    Kill one of them.
>    "kill one"

Actually, in thinking about this example... We know that numbers can
be used as nouns, as in this example, so they should be able to stand
in in cases with a pronoun as the verb:

<cha' maH>
"We are two"

So maybe better would be (ignoring for the moment your later comment
about the pronoun-as-verb, for parallelism with what I wrote before):

<cha' maH, 'ej nItebHa' maHtaHvIS>
"We are two, and while we are together..."

Does this seem more agreeable?  Can number + pronoun be used in a
simple clause like this?

> Context tells you that it's just one of a group.
> So the following would be how I would do it:
>    meH vI'el. pa' wej yaS tu'lu'. mulegh cha'.
>    I entered the bridge. There were three officers there. Two (of them)
>    saw me.
> Nothing is "wrong" here; it's just weird to me. I've got more than
> fifteen years of experience with Klingon, so sometimes things just
> strike me as wrong without them clearly being so. Doing strange things
> with pronouns-as-verbs tends to provoke this reaction in me.

Ah, ok. I just wanted sure if you were still talking about <cha'>, or
referring now to the pronoun-as-verb.

>> Although I would like to know how to say such a thing....
> It would depend, again, on context and on your emphasis. {matay'} means
> "we are together"; I would probably start there.
> One of the devices that Okrand has used occasionally is to simply shove
> related words or sentences together to imply that they are combined.
> There are no rules for this, but it could be used in this case. Let's
> say I wanted to talk about how great it is to be united as Klingons:
>    tlhIngan maH; matay'!
> This might be interpreted as "We are Klingons together" or "We are
> united as Klingons." If you go the extra step and accept *{cha' maH} as
> "we are two," then you've got your phrase; substitute {cha'} for {tlhIngan}.

I actually meant that I wanted to know how to specify "two of them"
versus "the two of them."  I guess you're right, though, that context
will sort this out in any sentence with a verb prefix plus word order,
but this is interesting...  Just to be sure, though: there isn't
anything in canon that precludes the use of an adverb with a verbal
pronoun; it just seems odd?

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