[tlhIngan Hol] HochHom in noun-noun constructions

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Thu Feb 4 07:56:32 PST 2021

The normal phrasing in English would be, “He ate almost all the pies,” meaning that he started with ten and there are only one or two left. If there were three or four left, we’d say, “He ate most of the pies,” since he ate more than half of the total number of pies, though it wouldn’t be totally wrong to say that even if there were only one or two pies left.

I think that probably is rooted in the human relationship to numbers best expressed in more primitive languages where numbers are counted, “One, Two, Three, Many.” The more pies, the less specific the number, unless you want to explicitly express the number. We have expressions for “a pie” (1), “a couple pies” (2), “a few pies” (usually 3, but maybe 4), and then more vague expressions, like “quite a few pies” (implying more pies than one might expect) and “a lot of pies” (vaguely, subjectively evaluated as more than “quite a few pies”), “a whole bunch of pies” (a kind of emphasis on the number vaguely implying more than “a lot of pies”), and the list goes on, including the use of auxiliary words not safe for mixed company, typically in the form of “a [X]-load of pies” where [X] is a placeholder for the speaker’s preferred expletive. It doesn’t really matter which one.

If someone said, “He ate almost each pie,” that would be a startlingly odd phrasing, suggesting that perhaps he took a spoon and scooped out the middle of all ten pies, but left the crust around the middle, with maybe a margin of an inch or so of pie around the edges.

And if he said, “He almost ate each pie,” I’d have the image of an alien lustily approaching each pie, and just before plowing into it, paused and reconsidered and refrained, before deciding that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and eyeing the next pie with piqued interest, repeating the process for each of ten pies.

Does this help?

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Feb 4, 2021, at 8:14 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> There's something I'm wondering with regards to {HochHom} in noun-noun constructions.
> And perhaps my confusion comes from the fact, that I don't understand fully the meaning of the english "almost all".
> So I need to ask..
> There are ten pies. An alien walks in and starts eating. When he's finished, someone comments by saying "he ate almost each pie".
> What does this mean? That, lets say, initially there were 10 pies, and now there only two whole pies left? Or that the alien in question, ate a portion from each one of the ten pies, and in result we now have the leftovers from each one of the ten initial pies?
> ~ Dana'an 
> remain klingon
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