[tlhIngan Hol] can lo'laH take -laH ?

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Thu Jul 30 11:53:34 PDT 2020


I can see why *{loD Quchba’} might make more sense to an English speaker than a Klingon speaker:

Adverbs in English can apply to either a verb or an adjective, so I can both obviously win an argument and be the obviously happy guy who won it. Klingon has yet to reveal a grammatical method for applying an adverb to an adjective. I remember noticing this the first year I started studying Klingon.

In Klingon, we have adverbial chuvmey that apply to verbs in a clause, but we lack a grammatical construction in which they could apply to a verb following a noun adjectivally, and we have verb suffixes with adverbial functionality (like {-ba’}), which, so far as we know, can apply to verbs and possibly pronouns (acting as the verb “to be”), but we have a rule (that has subsequently been modified by canon without explicit explanation) that suggests that the suffix can’t be used on a verb used adjectivally.

Of course, Okrand can wave his magic wand and change this at any time in any canon example or discussed rule change, and a person who breaks this rule will still be understood by an English speaker, and any non-native speaker of Klingon will have limited authority to tell them how certain we are that they are wrong, since the rule we’d point to has already been broken in canon, so we can’t be certain how much farther we’re allowed to break it, if at all.

Sent from my iPad

> On Jul 30, 2020, at 9:19 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> 
> 
>> On 7/29/2020 7:50 PM, De'vID wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> On Wed, 29 Jul 2020 at 19:36, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
>>> And when has it been proven that you can't use -laH on an adjectivally acting verb? I don't think you can, but I don't think it's ever been proven to be so.
>> 
>> Surely, this is forbidden by this sentence in TKD 4.4: "If a Type 5 noun suffix is used (section 3.3.5), it follows the verb, which, when used to modify the noun in this way, can have no other suffix except the rover {-qu'} /emphatic/. The Type 5 noun suffix follows {-qu'}."
>> 
>> We now know that the exception to the rule should really have been something like "except any rover other than {Qo'}", because we've seen {-be'} ({wa'maH yIHmey lI'be'} from PK) and {-Ha'} ({Duj ngaDHa'} from KGT) used on a verb acting as an adjective following a noun, but we have no reason to believe that the rule as stated is wrong about non-rover suffixes.
> Well, yes, but we've never been given such a rule, and have had to suppose that this is the correct rule. I could imagine, for instance, that the rule is to allow any suffix that doesn't stop the verb from expressing pure quality. For instance, loD Quchba' obviously happy man seems to make perfect sense. I'm not saying that's the rule, just that it's another possible rule.
> 
> So when we got the -be' and -Ha' exceptions to the adjectival rule, it's because we saw them in the wild, without explanation. Those don't prove a rule; they just show us additional allowed suffixes.
> 
> I take the point that there IS a rule given to us, but the rule is clearly incomplete.
> 
> Anyway, even if we suppose Okrand added a -laH to an adjectival verb before deciding he shouldn't have done that, what sentence did he do that in that called for retrofitting? It would have to be something already published, otherwise he wouldn't have needed to retrofit it. The only sentences that came out before TKD are the ones in Star Trek III, neglecting the clipped one-word commands of the original Star Trek movie, and lo'laH does not appear to be used in any of them.
> 
> -- 
> SuStel
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