[tlhIngan Hol] numbers and inherently plural nouns

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Sep 3 06:20:04 PDT 2020

On 9/2/2020 11:47 PM, Alan Anderson wrote:
> On Sep 2, 2020, at 7:16 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
>> 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!*
> The grammar of that sentence is doing it just fine. It is clearly 
> indicating, in multiple ways, that the target is not a being capable 
> of speech. It is very jarring for me to see {ghot} as the subject of 
> such a sentence.
> It’s also weird to try to reconcile the singular pronoun with the 
> claimed implication that it refers to a plural entity, but inherent 
> plurals are weird in general when one tries to mix them with 
> explicitly plural ideas.

My mistake, I should have written *ray' ghaH ghotvetlh'e'.* The grammar 
of THAT sentence is doing it just fine, but that's the sentence that's 
there purely to explain that the target is a being capable of using 
language. I added it specifically BECAUSE the grammar of that sentence 
shows the gender. My point is that you can't try to say something like 
*ray'Daq yIbach* and add grammar like *-pu'* simply to show the gender 
of the noun.

As for using a singular pronoun with an inherently plural noun 
representing beings capable of using language, we just got confirmation 
by Okrand that this is the case. Said by De'vID in a message on August 
16, "I'm working with Dr. Okrand on a 2nd edition of the paq'batlh and 
can confirm that the correct pronoun for {negh} is {ghaH}. (Incorrect 
uses of {chaH} and verb prefixes which incorrectly treated {negh} as 
grammatically plural will be corrected in the 2nd ed.)"

I don't remember whether we have evidence that the pronoun of a "to be" 
sentence is based on the first noun or the topic noun, but I believe it 
needs to be the first noun, not the topic noun. We're talking about 
those people. *ray' ghaH*/they're the targets./ Who are the targets? 
*ghotvetlh'e'. *On the other hand, in a sentence like *pa'DajDaq ghaHtaH 
la''e',* the pronoun is based on the topic noun, although "to be" 
sentences with locatives seem to work a little differently than others. 
So if it has to be *ray'lI' chaH ghotvetlh'e',* that's fine; it doesn't 
change the point of my post.


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.kli.org/pipermail/tlhingan-hol-kli.org/attachments/20200903/8398c796/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list