[tlhIngan Hol] Noun-noun constructions with quantifiers

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 08:23:23 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).

On 20 February 2017 at 01:59, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> 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
> English.
> 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.

If I had to translate "some Klingon sentences" on the spot, I'd have
said {'op tlhIngan Hol mu'tlheghmey}, i.e., option (a).

However, the only relevant canon example that I can think of is
{targhlIj yab tIn law' no'lI' Hoch yabDu' tIn puS}, which has {no'lI'
Hoch yabDu'} instead of {Hoch no'lI' yabDu'}. So if I had time to
think about it, I'd write down option (b).

It may be one of these things where formally you'd write (b), but when
speaking you'd say (a). Only Maltz knows.


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