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

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Re: Ditransitive reflexives

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

Tracy Canfield wrote:
> 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.

> 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:, 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.

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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