[tlhIngan Hol] Verbs of measure

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Wed Mar 27 03:54:33 PDT 2019

On Tue, 26 Mar 2019 at 22:47, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:

> On 3/26/2019 5:33 PM, De'vID wrote:
> > But clearly, whatever TKD says, at some point it became acceptable for
> > the suffixes {-taH} and {-jaj} to be used together. It may even be
> > that {tlhIngan maH! taHjaj!} was re- or mis- interpreted as {tlhIngan
> > maHtaHjaj!}, which was what made {-taHjaj} acceptable.
> Or it may be another example of common ungrammaticality. Nobody who
> thinks about it accepts it as grammatical, but not everybody is going to
> be thinking carefully about it. We can't go invalidating a rule in TKD
> because we have an example that contradicts it.

In KGT, the sentences {wo' ghawran DevtaHjaj} and {wo' DevtaHjaj ghawran}
are used to illustrate the difference between toasts and statements simply
indicating the speaker's desire. Those sentences are literally in the
section of the book about divergence from standard grammar, and yet no
mention was made of the unusualness of {-taH} and {-jaj} together. Okrand
could've easily said that these suffixes are only used together in toasts
and political slogans, or only in fossilised expressions, or in certain
regions, or is considered ungrammatical but commonly heard, but didn't.

Of course, what likely happened is that Okrand simply forgot the rule
existed to begin with. Actually, the rule probably only exists in the first
place because Okrand didn't completely think through the implications when
he changed Klingon from having tense to having aspect. It obviously makes
sense to prevent a suffix indicating a wish for something to happen in the
future from being used with tense markers (past and present would be
incompatible, and future would be redundant). OTOH, a wish that something
continues to happen is perfectly sensible.

People often point out the bit in TKD that says "when Klingon is
> actually spoken these rules are sometimes broken," but we must remember
> that it also says "What the rules represent, in other words, is what
> Klingon grammarians agree on as the 'best' Klingon."

I said it was acceptable, not that it's best practice. If we accept the
fiction that KGT simply describes Klingon as it's actually used, then it's
hard to interpret the use of {-taH} and {-jaj} together, without being
called out, in the section on variations in grammar other than as an
indication that it's become unremarkable in the time of Gowron. It may be
something that grammarians fume over, but {wo' DevtaHjaj ghawran} also
seems to be something people normally say. (And really, are you going to go
piss off Gowron by telling him his political slogan is ungrammatical?)

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.kli.org/pipermail/tlhingan-hol-kli.org/attachments/20190327/5ea1fdf5/attachment-0009.htm>

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list