tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Aug 19 12:41:58 2013

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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Sunlight and Starlight

Alan Anderson (qunchuy@alcaco.net) [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']



On Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 2:08 PM, Bellerophon, modeler
<bellerophon.modeler@gmail.com> wrote:
> My ideas about Klingon come from speculation rather than usage. Clearly
> canon is like the tip of an iceberg, giving tantalizing hints about what
> lies beneath the surface.

I often think of it as a fence with gaps. We don't know exactly where
all the boundaries lie.

The safest course of action is to avoid the undelimited areas
completely, but that can be unrealistically restrictive. Wild
speculation sometimes ends up well beyond the line suggested by the
nearby fences, even as it fails to violate any given rules. Actually
using the language helps provide a sense of where the missing sections
of fence ought to be, though one often can't help bringing one's
preconceptions to the idea of what Klingon "should" do in those cases.

> Consider for instance the three canon nominalizers: -wI' makes a noun of
> agency as in muvwI' (at least for non-stative verbs); -ghach makes either a
> noun expressing a state as in lo'laHghach or a noun expressing a result (or
> a new state) as in naDHa'ghach; and <null> results in all sorts of nouns
> that are identical in form to the verb.

This is the first time I've noticed anyone suggesting such a "null"
nominalizer. Why propose that the verb is the true word and the noun
is merely a variant of it, rather than the other way around? English
speakers regularly verb nouns in that way. I'd be surprised if a
typical Klingon speaker would fail to understand {*maqeprup}, but I'd
be similarly surprised if {*woD vIlegh} made any sort of sense to many
people.

> The apparent non-canon nominalizer
> -la' is seen only in the noun Qapla', which expresses a result.

I suspect that the apparent nominalization is a semantic mutation, not
a grammatical feature. My dissection of {Qapla'} gives a nonstandard
but perfectly recognizable "One is able to succeed."

> If Qapla' is
> not just a unique idiom, could different meanings result from <null>,
> -ghach, and -la'? The use of nominalizers in English is often idiomatic, and
> I wonder what the full grammar and usage might be in Klingon. For example,
> could the verb pab "follow (rules)" result not only in pab "grammar," but
> also pabghach "observance (of rules)", and pabla' "a fair move"?

Ignoring for a moment the strained nature of {*pabghach}, how do you
propose that it differs from the noun {pab}? "Grammar" is not
restricted to language; it can apply to any system of rules or
principles. Use an intervening verb suffix and you'll probably be able
to get across a more nuanced meaning: {pabtaHghach} "[the process of
ongoing] rule-following [leading to a goal]" or {pablaHghach} "ability
to follow rules".

I'm very curious to see what logic led you to your "fair move" idea. I
don't see a way to get there.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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