tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Sep 16 06:57:58 2009

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RE: nom*i*nal*ize 2. to convert (an underlying clause) into a noun phrase

Steven Boozer (

Okrand [HolQeD 3.3:13]:
>> just as bare stem + {-ghach} is okay, but weird, prefix + verb (with or
>> without a suffix) + {-ghach} is even weirder. But not unheard of (...)

>The conclusion I draw from this is that, say, {qaleghpu'ghach} is not part of
>the regular use of language but would not be out of place in a context
>calling for the so-called "nonce word," i.e. "a word coined and used apparently
>to suit one particular occasion" (Encyclopedia Britannica). This might
>typically happen when writing or translating a literary work. On encountering
>   "the wagon beginning to fall into its slow and *mileconsuming*
>    clatter"  (William Faulkner)
>    "She gave me a you-can-go-to-hell-for-all-I-care sort of look"
>    (Ira Levin)
>the reader might, to use Okrand's words, "look up and say "huh?" but know
>exactly what was meant. It's following the rules, but it's following them
>into a place they don't normally go."  [HolQeD 3.3:13]
>Granted, Okrand says nothing about {verb-lu'-ghach} forms. However, based
>on their meaning and form I see no reason why anyone should be precluded
>from using them for a single specific occasion. Like any nonce word, such 
> words "although [not to be] found in any dictionary, [would be] instantly 
> comprehensible." ("Nonce word," Wikipedia) at 
>I'd like to add that having the potential for creating nonce words makes
>our invented language a little more like a natural language.

Okrand would agree with you.  In fact, in Klingon such words are called {mu'mey ru'} and to use them is called {pabHa'}: 

KGT 176:  Sometimes words or phrases are coined for a specific occasion, intentionally violating grammatical rules in order to have an impact. Usually these are never heard again, though some gain currency and might as well be classified as slang. Klingon grammarians call such forms {mu'mey ru'} ("temporary words"). Sometimes, {mu'mey ru'} fill a void--that is, give voice to an idea for which there is no standard (or even slang) expression; sometimes, like slang, they are just more emphatic ways of expressing an idea. A common way to create these constructions is to bend the grammatical rules somewhat, violating the norm in a way that is so obvious that there is no question that it is being done intentionally. To do this is expressed in Klingon as {pabHa'} ("misfollow [the rules], follow [the rules] wrongly"). 

KGT 181:  No one accepts such constructions as grammatical; their inappropriateness, the way they grate on the Klingon ear, is exactly what gives them elocutionary clout. A visitor may hear one of these odd suffixes occasionally, but, as with other intentionally ungrammatical forms, it is best to avoid using them until one is extremely comfortable with the nuances of Klingon style. 

HQ 3.3:10:  It's a highly marked form. It's a word you are forming for a specific occasion and a specific effect. If you were a poet or philosopher or hard scientist and had to describe something very specifically these kinds of words might be appropriate but it carries the feeling of very technical arcane vocabulary, not normal everyday stuff. So can you say it? Yes, but you are saying more, rather than less or neutral.

KGT 180:  Some speakers of Klingon never use such nonconformist constructions. Some use a few from a stock set. Others seem to be somewhat creative. Among Klingons, there is a fine line between creative use of the language and silliness, however, and Klingons are rather intolerant of the latter. Accordingly, the visitor to a Klingon planet is advised to avoid making such constructions until he or she is very well versed in Klingon culture. 

KGT 172:  Agreeing is not a trait typically associated with Klingon nature, however, and apparently, at least under certain circumstances, this may extend to grammar as well.

Canon Master of the Klingons

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