[tlhIngan Hol] {yInSIp} and {voQSiP} (oxygen and nitrogen)

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Sun Oct 4 11:54:33 PDT 2020

On 10/4/2020 12:19 PM, SCOTT wrote:
> I have learned that {yInSIp} is "oxygen" and {voQSIp} is "nitrogen." Naturally, I looked up {SIp} and found that it means "gas."
> It would seem, then, that these words refer to the elements in their gaseous states. Today, though, Duolingo gave me {voQSIp taD} as "frozen nitrogen."
> I believe that frozen nitrogen is nitrogen in its solid state. That would make {-SIp} superfluous, and I would expect it to be {voQ taD}.
> Do elements that have a gaseous state retain {-SIp} regardless of the element's state? Would it always be something like "frozen oxygen gas" and "frozen nitogen gas"?

When Okrand shoves words together to create new complex nouns, it's a 
clear sign that the word has been lexicalized this way and is considered 
a fixed word. We have no information about solid or liquid forms of 
*yInSIp or* *voQSIp,* so we must assume that their English glosses are 
correct and relatively complete. The glosses of *yInSIp* and *vOQSIp* 
don't say anything about referring only to gasses beyond a /guessed/ 
etymology, so we have no reason to suppose they only refer to gasses.

We could, if we wanted, invent an etymology that supports any position. 
I might, for instance, say that Klingons discovered oxygen and nitrogen 
in their gas forms and named them with *SIp,* and when they later 
learned of their other physical states, the names were so entrenched 
that they just continued to use them.

But I just made that up. We don't really know. Maybe Klingons have 
separate words for solid oxygen and nitrogen. Maybe they just switch 
*SIp* with *lep.* We don't know.

Anyway, nobody complains if someone says /frozen water /in English. We 
say /water vapor/ without blinking. For all we know, *yInSIp taD* is 
exactly as acceptable.


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