[tlhIngan Hol] Suffix position: semantically significant?

John R. Harness cartweel at gmail.com
Thu Jun 7 13:20:03 PDT 2018

" Are there agglutinative languages where suffixes must be used in a
specific order like Klingon?"

I'm not an expert but my sense is that this is generally the case with most
agglutinative languages.



Socialist Alternative <http://www.socialistalternative.org/>
Klingon Language Institute <http://www.kli.org/>

On Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 9:45 AM, Steven Boozer <sboozer at uchicago.edu> wrote:

> Lieven L. Litaer:
> > Indeed this sometimes causes ambiguous situations, and if you really
> want
> > to avoid ambiguity, you must either rephrase it, or add suffixes like
> {-qu'} to
> > mark the important suffix. But there's no way to change the system of the
> > suffixes order. And after a while you will even get used to the correct
> order.
> >
> > Besides, a suffix does not only modify its preceding suffixes or word
> parts, it
> > modifies the entire thing. It really is hard sometimes, and you cannot
> do
> > wordplays you may do in English by switching words.
> (TKD 175):  This suffix [i.e. {-ba'}]  is used when the speaker thinks
> that his
>         or her assertion should be obvious to the listener. Nevertheless,
>         there is still room for doubt; the suffix does not imply as strong
> a
>         conviction as {-bej} certainly.
> Note that Okrand said that the "assertion should be obvious to the
> listener", not the previous suffix or part of speech.  As Lieven said, the
> numbered suffixes modify the entire utterance.  It's one of Okrand's "just
> because" rules which we must accept.  Only Rover suffixes can be freely
> moved around. (Indeed, that's why they are called rovers.)  Most of our
> evidence comes from written texts but I imagine that in speech one could
> draw attention to the important suffix, if needed, by using extra stress, a
> slight pause, a gesture, etc.
> Are there agglutinative languages where suffixes must be used in a
> specific order like Klingon?  If so, how do speakers of those languages
> emphasize one element?  Or do they?  Perhaps they're so used to listening
> "holistically" to the utterance that they aren't consciously aware of the
> order -- except when someone (a foreigner for example) gets it wrong, and
> then it's perceived as an ignorant mistake and not personal style.
> --Voragh
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