[tlhIngan Hol] numbers and inherently plural nouns

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Sep 2 14:16:53 PDT 2020

Great response.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, but not recently.

I think a lot of it can simply be a matter of personal writing (or speaking) “style”. If you ALWAYS use the plural suffix on any plural noun, that speaks loudly in terms of your intentional style, and it’s likely exceptional from the general norm. Similarly, if you always omit the plural suffixes, you are similarly adhering to a style that is probably exceptional.

For myself, I make a point of using plural suffixes if I’m clarifying that something is plural when it’s not obvious or when the plurality of it is significant to my intended expression, and I tend to omit it any other time. It’s also possible to use a plural suffix to emphasize the “gender” of the plural noun (not sexual gender, but grammatical gender of “uses language/body part/anything else”.

I don’t think it’s ever wrong to omit the plural suffix or to use it, for any specific utterance, though it can be confusing or vague in some cases to omit it, and just seems somewhat chatty and excessive to always use it.

The revelation for me, given what you posted just now, is that it might actually be allowable and useful to use plural suffixes with plural/collective nouns. Consider:


In one word, you tell whether you are aiming at people, more specifically at certain body parts, or maybe just their ships.

I mean, maybe I’m aiming at Romulans, or maybe I won’t even fire if I can’t get in a good head shot, or maybe I’m a pacifist, determined to shoot the weapons out of their hands, ‘cuz, hey, my disrupter doesn’t HAVE a STUN setting, right?

You’ve just expanded my capacity to express with concise specificity.

My day just improved. I’m smiling in my mask, prepared for a long walk home...

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Sep 2, 2020, at 10:40 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> 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.
> -- 
> SuStel
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