[tlhIngan Hol] numbers and inherently plural nouns

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Sep 2 07:40:39 PDT 2020

On 9/2/2020 9:16 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
> jIjatlh vIneH: "we see three targets".
> DuH wa':
> wej ray' wIlegh
> DuH cha':
> wej ray' DIlegh
> nuq 'oH DuH lugh'e' ?
> DaH.. chaq jatlhqang vay': <<< < wej DoS DIlegh > yIlo'. >>>
> 'a {DoS} 'oHbe' QInvam meq'e'; inherently plural nouns 'oH QInvam meq'e'.
My answer to this question is the same as usual: if there's canon 
suggesting an answer, consider how significant the evidence is. If there 
is no canon suggesting an answer, we don't know the answer. I do not 
have the time right now to do an extensive search. I can't think of any 
examples off the top of my head.

For my money, I'd go for *wej ray' wIlegh.* The targets are plural, so 
we use *ray'* instead of *DoS,* we count them with *wej,* and we treat 
the whole thing as grammatically singular with *wI-.*

But I've noticed something interesting about how TKD presents plurals. 
It doesn't say *-pu', -Du', -mey* are the plural suffixes but they're 
optional. It says "plurality is indicated by a pronoun, whether a verb 
prefix... or a full word..., or by context." After a couple of 
paragraphs, it then says "it is never incorrect to add a plural suffix 
to a noun referring to more than one entity..."

This is interesting because it presents Klingon plurals as not the 
default means of expressing plurality. Pronouns (including words and 
prefixes) are, followed by context, and only then followed by suffixes. 
But this is never the way we teach plurals: we always teach the 
suffixes, and THEN we say they're optional. We encourage their use by 
default, only dropping them when everything is clear. I wonder if this 
has been the wrong approach. It might be appropriate to use plural 
suffixes a lot less than we do.

I'm sure an examination of canon would show tons of plural suffixes 
where they're simply not needed, and the idea of non-suffixed nouns 
being the plural default is not supported by the evidence. But all the 
same, it may be a good idea not to take the "use a suffix, but it's 
optional" approach for granted.


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