[tlhIngan Hol] “Some nights ago” / julwIj wov SoHbej

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Mon Jun 11 12:01:03 PDT 2018


I agree with ghunchu’wI’:  ?julwIj is probably okay.  But using an inanimate possessive suffix on an inherently speech-capable noun is not:

(TKD 25):  It is grammatically correct to use the regular possessive suffixes with nouns referring to beings capable of speech (as in puqlIj your child), but such constructions are considered derogatory; joHwIj for my lord borders on taboo.

(KGT 190):  Addressing my Lord or my Lady as joHwIj rather than joHwI' is insulting indeed, since it implies that my Lord or my Lady is a lower order of being. Similarly, a group of heads of households would probably not appreciate being referred to as joHDu', since that would be the appropriate way to say Lords or Ladies only if they were body parts. The only thing worse would be combining mispronunciation with grammatical blundering, such as by saying joQDu'wIj (my ribs) ... when joHpu'wI' (my Lords, my Ladies) is intended. Mistakes of this kind are simply not tolerated and there are no recorded instances of anyone living long enough to repeat the offense.
Two more examples like DeSqIvDu' :

(KGT 80):  The ends [of a pigment stick] (sometimes referred to as the nItlhpachDu' [literally, fingernails])
(KGT 152):  Grammatically, even as slang, Ho' follows the rules appropriate to its literal meaning. Thus, even though it may refer to a person, its plural is Ho'Du' (teeth), making use of the plural suffix for body parts (-Du'), not Ho'pu', with -pu', the plural suffix for beings capable of using language.

Also jIb Ho'Du' comb (literally hair teeth) from TalkNow!
--Voragh


On Sat, Jun 9, 2018 at 9:46 AM, Daniel Dadap <daniel at dadap.net<mailto:daniel at dadap.net>> wrote:
Oh, another question that came up while doing this one: what grammatical gender does something not capable of language take when one wants to express that a being capable of language is metaphorically that thing? For example, to say “you are my sun”, should it be julwIj SoH, or julwI' SoH?

From: Alan Anderson
Canon is not consistent enough to provide a firm rule, but the handles called DeSqIvDu' elbows on a nevDagh cooking pot get the "body part" plural. I tend to go with the idea that the word itself usually provides the category, and here I would say julwIj. You're not actually referring to a speech-capable sun, so I don't think using the non-speech-capable possessive carries a derogatory implication.

-- ghunchu'wI'
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