tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 13 11:38:29 2013

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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Greetings from Maltz

Rohan Fenwick ( [KLI Member]

ghItlhpu' Qov, jatlh:
> I find when I'm speaking I almost always miss the lu- on lutu'lu',
> and frequently when writing.
> The same happens to other languages.

I sent an email to the list yesterday outlining some examples in Earth languages, but it didn't get through (too big, for some reason), so I'm sending them again here in plain text.

> No, those aren't unrelated languages, but they all did that
> independently.

Well, have some (mostly) unrelated languages to add to the evidence, then. :) In Ubykh this is possible too, where it's not even just a simple phonological dropping of an affix, but
 a full-blown singular-for-plural agreement pattern involving two 
affixes and the root:

Ubykh /alekhén/ "there they are" but /t’q’ueğuıní let/ "there are two trees"

In fact, it's quite common in languages for explicitly plural nouns to allow plural agreement to be dropped from the verb more generally. In Turkish and Yucatec Maya the presence of a plural subject usually deletes the verbal plural-marking affix:

Turkish /yapıyorlar/ "they are making [it]" vs. /adamlar yapıyor/ "the men are making [it]"
Yucatec /lik'iloob/ "they rise up" vs. /lik'il lewinik'oob/ "the men rise up"

In Georgian, it's normal that only animate plural subjects trigger plural agreement:

Georgian /bavšvebi ac’uxeben/ "children upset her" vs. /mcenareebi ac’uxebs/ "plants upset her"

and the similar (in)famous rule that neuter plural subjects normally take singular verbs in Classical Greek:

Greek /ê:san/ "they were", but /kalà ê:n tà sfágia/ "the sacrifices were good"

KGT (pp. 168-172) indicates that such a thing is found in colloquial Klingon as well, where there is no ambiguity as to the plurality of the object.

jatlhtaH Qov:
> I'm fascinated by the fact that Klingon seems to have done it
> on its 
own without Mark planning it into the language. Maybe
> t's just something
 that languages do.

Possibly, though I'm pretty much convinced that Marc likely planned it all along: he's actually been entirely consistent with his use of {tu'lu'} in canon, and it appears with explicitly plural objects in TKD, PK, SP2, KCD, KGT and BoP.

Conversely, I'm not aware of a single canon example of {lutu'lu'}. Which is now making me rethink whether I should use it with the "there are" meaning at all. Upon rereading, the TKD paragraph on the construction seems pretty explicit that the "there is" meaning is associated with a null prefix.

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