[tlhIngan Hol] The use of 'aqroS

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Aug 2 10:29:43 PDT 2017

On 8/2/2017 1:01 PM, mayqel qunenoS wrote:
> We have the canon phrase {'aqroS qughDo} for "maximum cruising speed". 
> (canon because it is from the bird of prey poster).
> The way I analyze this phrase, it is "cruising speed of maximum".

There are two ways to interpret the noun-noun construction, genitive or 
possessive. Possessive is a subset of genitive.

You already understand possessive: it means the first noun owns, or 
holds, or is otherwise associated with the second noun. *HoD quS* 
/captain's chair; chair of the captain; chair owned by, held by, or 
otherwise associated with the captain./

Genitive means the first noun modifies the meaning of the second noun, 
typically by narrowing the possible types of noun you're talking about. 
*baS 'In* /metal drum:/ you're not saying metal owns, holds, or is 
associated with the drum; you're narrowing down what kind of drum you 
mean by saying it's the metal kind.

Possessive is a subset of genitive because a possessive noun also 
narrows the possible meanings of the second noun. Of all possible 
chairs, the one you're referring to is the one owned, held, or 
associated with the captain.

*'aqroS qughDo* /maximum cruising speed /is an example of a genitive 
construction that is not a possessive construction. The cruising speed 
doesn't own, hold, or find itself associated with the concept of 
maximum. Instead, you're specifying what kind of cruising speed you're 
talking about by narrowing it down to maximum cruising speed.

English sentences do not make this distinction clear, and Klingon almost 
doesn't distinguish at all between them. I can think of one instance 
where it does: when using pronouns with "relative area" nouns, you don't 
use the possessive suffixes; you use pronouns in a noun-noun 
construction: *jIH Dung* /area above me /instead of *DungwIj; maH 'em* 
/area in front of us /instead of *'emmaj.* Otherwise, it's unclear 
whether, for instance, *tlhIngan Hol* means /language associated with 
Klingons/ or /language specified by its Klingonness./ Or if you don't 
know the context, one might have a bunch of chairs lined up, and you're 
asked which one is the chair some hypothetical captain might use. There 
the phrase *HoD quS* wouldn't be possessive, because you're not talking 
about a captain owning or holding or being associated with the chair; 
you're talking about narrowing down the type of chair.

> Would it be acceptable if we wrote {qughDo 'aqroS} for "the maximum of 
> cruising speed" ? Would it mean the same ?

*'aqroS qughDo* talks about a cruising speed: maximum cruising speed, 
instead of half cruising speed or minimum cruising speed. *qughDo 
'aqroS* talks about a maximum: cruising speed maximum, instead of 
emergency speed maximum or thruster speed maximum.


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