[tlhIngan Hol] Pluralizing inherently plural nouns

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Wed Aug 16 07:45:33 PDT 2017

Or you could use the singular form {DoS} "target".  E.g. {DoSmey} "targets scattered all about" (TKD).

Many inherently plural nouns have a singular equivalent:

DoS/ray' 		target(s)
jengva'/ngop 		plate(s)
mang/negh  		soldier(s)
peng/cha		torpedo(es)
qempa'/no' 		ancestor(s)
Sup/jo 			resource(s)  
vIj/chuyDaH 		thruster(s)

It is possible to use plural suffixes with these singular forms when stressing individuality over the collective.  For example, see Okrand's discussion of {mang}:

(KGT 49f)L  The word mangpu' is seldom used, but it is not ungrammatical. It carries with it the notion that there are individuals (more than one {mang}) making up the group; {negh} focuses on the group as a unit. 

But be careful:  Sometimes doing so may be perceived as just an error:

(KGT 33-34):   Another grammatical feature of Klingon about which children frequently become confused involves nouns that are inherently plural, such as {cha} (torpedoes) and{ ngop} (plates [for eating]), as opposed to their singular counterparts {peng} (torpedo) and {jengva'} (plate). Instead of using the special plural forms, children tend forms plurals of these words by simply adding the plural suffix {-mey} to the singular forms ({pengmey, jengva'mey}) ... Adults also add {-mey} to these nouns, but they do so to indicate that the items are scattered about ({jengva'mey}, plates scattered all over the place). For children who say {jengva'mey}, it apparently means simply plates; that is, it is nothing more than the plural form of {jengva'}. Children seem to be aware of the existence of the inherently plural forms, however, for they use them as well, though usually with the suffix {-mey} superfluously appended: {chamey} (torpedoeses), {ngopmey} (plateses). Inherently plural nouns are considered singular as far as how they fit into the overall grammatical structure. Thus, the singular pronoun {'oH} (it) is used for both {jengva'} (plate) and {ngop} (plates) in sentences such as {nuqDaq 'oH jengva''e'?} ("Where is the plate?") and {nuqDaq 'oH ngop'e'?} ("Where are the plates?"). Children, however, tend to use the plural pronoun {bIH} (they) with {ngop} (as well as with {jengva'mey} and the redundantly suffixed {ngopmey}):  {nuqDaq bIH ngop'e'?} ("Where are the plates?").


-----Original Message-----
From: tlhIngan-Hol [mailto:tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org] On Behalf Of Lieven

Am 16.08.2017 um 15:39 schrieb mayqel qunenoS:
> If have an inherently plural noun, e.g. {ray'} for "targets", and we 
> want to express "many targets", then what do we say ?
> {ray'mey}

Pluralizing aplural noun is like saying "targetses" or "mens".

> or {ray' law'} ?

This can never be wrong; it follows grammar perfectly.

Lieven L. Litaer

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