tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Oct 30 12:43:08 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: Ditransitive reflexives

Tracy Canfield (

I know the theory, and I agree with your summary of it.  I would say that
when Klingon violates this pattern, it isn't violating universal grammar,
because this particular pattern isn't part of UG; it's common across human
languages for a different reason.
2009/10/30 David Trimboli <>

> 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.
> --
> SuStel
> tlhIngan Hol MUSH

Back to archive top level