[tlhIngan Hol] Noun-noun constructions with quantifiers

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Sun Feb 19 16:59:57 PST 2017

On 2/19/2017 6:52 PM, André Müller wrote:
> In a noun-noun construction, when introducing a preceding quantifier 
> such as {'op} or {Hoch}, is it better to put it in front of the whole 
> phrase as in a) below, or in front of the second element, as in b)?
> In this example, I am trying to say "Some Klingon sentences", would 
> that be:
> a) {'op tlhIngan Hol mu'tlheghmey}
>      or
> b) {tlhIngan Hol 'op mu'tlheghmey}
> Sentence a) could be misinterpreted as "sentences of some Klingon 
> languages". This is also the reason why I am tending to choose b).

I find that it helps to think of the phrase in "weapon's secret" form 
rather than "secret of the weapon" form. The latter can trip you up with 
alternative meanings; the former is pretty much guaranteed to match the 
sense of the Klingon, though it may not always be the most colloquial 

Given that, I'd go for a). Each first noun (phrase) modifies and 
constricts the second noun (phrase). /Klingon some sentences/ doesn't 
get constricted in a way I'm comfortable with;/some Klingon sentences/ does.

Now, there's no guarantee that Klingon's noun-noun constructions have to 
match the sense you get with the English translation, but I think 
there's a reason beyond English convention that /some Klingon sentences/ 
makes sense while /Klingon some sentences/ does not. I think the 
correct-sounding one, in some way I can't express, more correctly 
narrows down the meaning than the other one. It's the same with the noun 
suffixes: they appear in the order they do for linguistic reasons; it's 
not an arbitrary order.

All that said, it's true that either order could be said to LOGICALLY 
arrive at the same thing: some of the set of Klingon sentences versus 
the set of some sentences that are Klingon. So while I definitely prefer 
a) over b), I can't definitively say that b) is wrong.


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