tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Oct 30 14:10:30 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing



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

Re: Ditransitive reflexives

David Trimboli (david@trimboli.name) [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']



Tracy Canfield wrote:
> 2009/10/30 David Trimboli <david@trimboli.name>
>> Tracy Canfield wrote:
>>> 2009/10/27 David Trimboli <david@trimboli.name>
>>> 
>>>> 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 
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_term
>> 
>> 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.

> 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.

Is that really the case? Wikipedia, at least, backs me up on this: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_grammar, under both Criticism and 
Examples. Now, I'm not well-read on this subject, and I would never 
claim that Wikipedia is an authority on anything, but it seems to me 
that the theory of color terms does qualify as part of universal grammar.

-- 
SuStel
tlhIngan Hol MUSH
http://trimboli.name/mush







Back to archive top level