tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Aug 22 10:46:58 2013

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

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

[Tlhingan-hol] DIp moj'a' wot pagh wot moj'a' DIp?

Bellerophon, modeler (

<div dir="ltr">Trick question. Both apparently, and sometimes neither.<div><br></div><div>Alan Anderson said I was the first to suggest a null nominalizer. I&#39;ve always thought that some words that can function as both nouns and verbs had to start out as verbs. Klingons are very action oriented, so a meaning is more likely to find its first expression as a verb. Klingon terseness tends to result in the shortest form that avoids ambiguity. A Klingon wants to say something and needs a noun. Being more interested in brevity than correctness, he simply appropriates a verb. (He is also likely to be a particularly fierce Klingon who will kill anyone who dares to correct him. His ferocity conveys high status, so the new usage catches on.) Hence, I conceived of a null nominalizer.</div>
<div><br></div><div>Of course the process could work both ways, and some verbs could begin as nouns. And the process could be more convoluted than that. Even -wI&#39; constructions (perhaps even ones where -wI&#39; was the noun suffix) could conceivably result in verbs that are back-formations (Degh, for instance?), especially if engineers are allowed to speak. Engineers attempting to speak English coined the appalling word &quot;orientate.&quot;</div>
<div><br></div><div>Back to identical noun/verb pairs, I chose some examples of every possibility I could think of.<div><div><br></div><div>In the case of nouns for actions like &quot;wem&quot; (violation) or for the content of an action like &quot;qeS&quot; (advice), it seems likely to me that the verb came first and was nominalized. The very idea of the action of violation (wem) only exists because of the act of violating (wem). Advice is the particulars of advising, and  the verb &quot;qeS&quot; could have arisen as a short way to say &quot;qeS nob.&quot; But advice is a recommended course of action, and it isn&#39;t considered advice until someone recommends it.</div>
<div><br></div><div>A noun like &quot;yoD&quot; (shield) stands for a concrete object in hand-to-hand combat, and after that a defensive system on a ship, just as in English. It seems unlikely that the verb would come first. (Imagine some Klingon saying, &quot;yoD&#39;eghnIS jIH, &#39;ach wej yoD &#39;oghlu&#39;!&quot;) The verb &quot;yoD&quot; means to use the object for its intended purpose (although perhaps it can also be used as a synonym for &quot;Qan&quot;, and perhaps &quot;yoD&quot; once simply meant protect).</div>
<div><br></div><div>There are also words like &quot;SoD&quot; (flood), for which it seems like a toss-up which came first. Our English word comes ultimately from an Indo-European verb meaning &quot;to flow,&quot; but Klingon doesn&#39;t seem to offer clues about SoD.</div>
<div><br></div><div>Then there are noun/verb pairs like &quot;SoQ&quot; (speech/be closed), where there seems to be no connection between the two, but there could be something in the etymology.<br clear="all"><div><br></div>
<div>I&#39;m curious to see what others make of this. Klingons and Klingonists resort to various expedients to fill gaps in the vocabulary. Those of Klingonists often do not survive contact with Maltz, but that may be preferable to how such matters would be settled between Klingons .</div>
<div><br></div><div>~&#39;eD</div>-- <br>My modeling blog:          <a href=""; target="_blank"></a><br>My other modeling blog:  <a href=""; target="_blank"></a><br>

Tlhingan-hol mailing list

Back to archive top level