tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Oct 30 14:15:23 2009

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Re: Ditransitive reflexives

Tracy Canfield (toastrix@gmail.com)



(I'm taking my response off-list, because I don't have anything to add about
Klingon at this point.)
2009/10/30 David Trimboli <david@trimboli.name>

> 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
>
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