[tlhIngan Hol] Relevance of language ability to third person singular pronouns

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Sep 11 07:44:33 PDT 2018

On 9/11/2018 10:26 AM, qurgh lungqIj wrote:
> It's my belief that the use of {-wI'} over {-wIj}, {ghaH} over {'oH}, 
> etc says much more about the speaker's relationship with the object in 
> question than it does about the object itself. I don't believe there 
> is an objective list somewhere that says "X get's this suffix, Y get's 
> this suffix". It's all subjective. There is no right or wrong, there 
> is only the successful, or unsuccessful, transfer of ideas and 
> concepts from one individual to the next.

I mostly agree. There are some times when a noun's gender is set by the 
external language rather than by the individual speaker's person opinion 
— *DeSqIvDu'* instead of *DeSqIvmey *for the handles of pots, for 
instance — but most of the time the rule is simply the usual /capable of 
using language/body parts/other./ It's just that the speaker has 
latitude to decide which category a noun belongs in. If you 
anthropomorphize your targ to the point of believing it speaks to you, 
or if you think parrots or computers actually understand what they're 
saying to you, you'll use *ghaH* instead of *'oH,* because you're just 
applying the usual rule according to your assessment of these nouns' 

You wouldn't normally vary your use of gender for a given noun, unless 
maybe as a rhetorical device or to speak in another's voice, or if your 
evaluation of two different entities using the same noun are different 
(e.g., robot Number Five versus the other Nova robots). Were she 
speaking Klingon, Dr. Pulaski would have started out calling Data *'oH* 
and switched to calling him *ghaH* as she came to realize her error. 
Most of the time a ballpoint pen would be an *'oH,* but Veet Voojagig 
would have referred to one as *ghaH.*

Generally, there IS a right answer for most nouns, and listeners would 
look at you suspiciously if you used the wrong gender. But speakers are 
allowed to vary in the fuzzy areas where a reasonable argument could be 
made in favor of an unexpected gender.


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