[tlhIngan Hol] law'/puS scope brief conclusion

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Sat Feb 13 08:35:11 PST 2021

For those who chose to not read the longer post, a shorter one; a conclusion without including the process of discovery.

Looking at all of the examples voragh provided of canon comparatives and superlatives, Okrand remained true to his explanation in TKD that there is no alternative grammatical structure for comparing two things in Klingon. It’s always [X Q law’ Y Q puS] where X and Y are nouns and Q is a verb of quality (like {tIn} or {chuS}).

Canon examples expand on this to show that any noun phrase or relative clause can function as a noun (in the role of X or Y) in comparatives, and the entire comparative can be preceded by a dependent clause, an adverbial, or a noun with a Type 5 suffix, which provides context for the comparison. At all times, the comparison behaves as a fossilized grammatical form that does not allow alteration.

In particular, while you can logically conclude that the comparison consists of two halves, each of which might exist in different contexts, each deserving different adverbials, different dependent clauses, and different Type 5 nouns in order to clarify the differences in context between the two things being compared, but that logic has no evidence of being grammatically allowed. Okrand never interrupts <[Context providing head stuff] X Q law’ Y Q puS> to form what one might logically wish to conclude would be allowed: *<[Context providing head stuff] X Q law’ [Different context providing head stuff] Y Q puS>*.

Maybe more context in the future will change this, but for now, this suggested extension is not clearly valid.

Assuming that you can’t have separate scope for the second half of the comparative, there’s no justification for assuming that the head stuff could be restricted to the first half of the comparative.

While the logical view of the comparative sees two halves, the fossilized grammatical structure appears to be one unit, and if there are any preceding context, there’s no obvious justification for assuming it could have “scope” other than over the entire comparative.

The only time one could concern oneself with the scope of what I’ve been calling “head stuff” would be if that head stuff appeared before a dependent clause preceding a comparative, since you might wonder whether the head stuff applied to the dependent clause or to the comparative, but if you think about it, since the dependent clause applies to the comparative, it’s head stuff would also apply to the comparative.

Keep in mind that in a normal Klingon sentence, the head stuff applies to the verb. The verb’s action happens in the location of the locative at the time of the time stamp in the manner of the adverbial, etc. In a comparative, there is one verb that such head stuff would apply to and that verb is invariably repeated. There is no reason to assume that the head stuff would apply to one instance and not the other.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

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