[tlhIngan Hol] With "joq" - how do we choose the right verb prefix ?

kechpaja kechpaja at comcast.net
Thu Aug 31 12:24:11 PDT 2017

On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 01:55:02PM -0400, Alan Anderson wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 12:56 PM, Aurélie Demonchaux <
> demonchaux.aurelie at gmail.com> wrote:
> > While discussing on the "Learn Klingon" group on Facebook, we wondered how
> > to choose the correct verb prefix when "joq" (and / or) is used in the
> > object and / or subject of the sentence.
> > [...]
> > if it were just a "je" we'd use "DI-" without hesitating, or if it were a
> > "ghap" we'd use "wI-", but with joq... ?
> > Has it already been discussed at some point what to do when you can't
> > determine whether a verb's object / subject is singular or plural ?
> >
> I don't think there is a prescriptive answer to this question. My instinct
> is to avoid the situation, the way I often do with English sentences that
> call for an assumption of gender when it's not important to the idea. (I
> dislike the "singular they", but I don't have a problem making entire
> sentences plural in order to use "they" and "them" instead of "he or she"
> and "him or her".)
> Failing that, I usually go with whatever is more likely to be the case. In
> the {vIraS Hol tlhIngan Hol joq} example, I would arbitrarily call it
> plural, mostly because I think most people who would reject learning French
> would not be part of the audience.
This is an interesting question. I would probably have defaulted to the
singular, since that's what I would do in English:

A cat or (maybe) a dog is chasing me. 

But it had never occurred to me to even ask this question, so it's good
that it got brought up. There's no reason it should have to go either
way (you can think of reasons for both options), so this would end up
being a question of what feels most correct to Klingons (and, for more
formal language, a question of what prescriptivist Klingon grammarians
think is the right answer). 


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