tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Oct 30 12:34:44 2009

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Re: Ditransitive reflexives

David Trimboli ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

Tracy Canfield wrote:
> 2009/10/27 David Trimboli <>
>> Klingon was designed very intentionally to violate universal 
>> grammar—since Klingons are not Terrans. Note, for example, {SuD} 
>> "be blue, green, yellow" and {Doq} "be red, orange," which violate 
>> the "warm/cold" dichotomy of color in natural language.

> The color terms might fall into that category of linguistic 
> universals that aren't UG.  All known human languages have words like
> "drink" and "sun", but I don't know of anyone suggesting those are 
> part of UG; they're just things all humans want to discuss.

I'm referring to a theory that says all natural (human) languages follow
a certain hierarchy of color terms, depending on the number of primary
color terms the language has. If a language has only two color terms,
these always mean "light/warm colors (white/yellow/red)" and "dark/cool
colors (black/blue/green)." If a language has three or more color terms,
those two categories get further broken down, but terms from one
category never cross over into the other category farther down in the
hierarchy. The theory suggests that the hierarchy occurs because of the
physiological makeup of the human eye. See

Klingon has four color terms: {qIj} "be black," {SuD} "be blue, green,
yellow," {chIS} "be white," and {Doq} "be red, orange." According to the
theory about color terms, yellow is always a color associated with warm
colors, and blue and green are always associated with cool colors. The
Klingon verb {SuD} violates the hierarchy, and Okrand has confirmed that
he did this on purpose. It is a linguistic joke.

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