[tlhIngan Hol] numbers and inherently plural nouns

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Sep 2 16:16:00 PDT 2020

On 9/2/2020 5:16 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> 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.

I'm not talking about whether or not you USE the suffixes, only whether 
Klingons think of suffixes FIRST when confronted with the concept of plural.

TKD presents a bunch of examples.

*yaS vImojpu'*//means only /I became an officer/ because context rules 
out me becoming multiple officers.

*yaS DImojpu'* means only /We became officers/ because the pronomial 
prefix AND context rule out us becoming a single officer.

*yaS jIH* means only /I am an officer/ because the pronoun AND context 
rule out me becoming multiple officers.

*yaS maH* means only /We become officers/ because the pronoun AND 
context rule out us becoming a single officer.

But when we get to *yaS mojpu'* we have to resort to external context. 
*gheSmeH tayvaD paw jav yaS. rInDI' tay, yaS mojpu'.* Now we have 
context, and we know that it means /They became officers./

> 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.

I'm not saying it is. It explicitly isn't. "Fortunately for students of 
Klingon, it is never incorrect to add a plural suffix to a noun 
referring to more than one entity, even in those cases where it is 
unnecessary to do so." I'm simply wondering whether Klingons may think 
of plural suffixes as optional to ADD to nouns rather than as optional 

> 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:
> ray’pu’
> ray’mey
> ray’Du’
> In one word, you tell whether you are aiming at people, more 
> specifically at certain body parts, or maybe just their ships.

No, these words don't take these suffixes, or at least TKD says they 
never do. I'm not sure why what I posted led you here, since I wasn't 
talking about this.

If you want to distinguish speaking targets from body-part targets from 
other targets, you need to do so by description. The grammar won't do it 
for you.

*ray'lIj 'oH ghotvetlh'e'. ray'Daq yIbach!*

(And notice that context tells us that *ghotvetlh'e'* must also be 
plural because one person usually can't be multiple targets.)

I daresay in most cases you'll have some context as to what your 
multiple targets are, and it won't be necessary to ask grammatical 
gender to distinguish this for you.


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