tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Oct 28 10:57:17 2009

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Re: intuition and grammar (was Re: Ditransitive reflexives)

Andrà MÃller (

2009/10/28 <>
> If speakers are  allowed to add their own grammar into the language,
> doesn't that defeat the purpose of speaking the native language of the
> Klingons?  I don't know if I should be saying anything considering my n00b
> status but I just couldn't help but seeing that.  I know that in any other
> language grammar is set in stone and never changed.
> Just my two cents

Quite the contrary actually. No grammar is really "set in stone" (in the
sense of 'may not change over time'). Grammar (as well as the lexicon and
the semantics) in natural languages changes over time, due to speakers
introducing new habits, stopping using certain forms or making "mistakes",
which spread and get grammaticalized sometimes. Some of these changes we can
notice ourselves.
The only languages with a grammar "set in stone" that I could think of,
would be constructed ones. Not Klingon, as Okrand adds stuff to it (not much
and not too often, but still once in a while). Not Esperanto, as it has
changed a little since its invention too... but those two languages'
grammars get close to be "set in stone".

So in Klingon, speakers (with the exception of Marc Okrand) are not allowed
to change the grammar or to introduce new words, although there's no one
really to punish them. ;)

Prescriptive grammars in natural languages such as English or German are
merely a snapshot of the grammar currently used by the majority of the
people... and sometimes (at least for the German Duden grammar) it's partly
obsolete and should be updated to reflect the modern grammar of the

Just my two (Euro-)cents. :)
- André

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