[tlhIngan Hol] law'/puS scope brief conclusion

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Sat Feb 13 15:15:35 PST 2021

TL;DR: You still haven't answered the only relevant question: if a locative
before a comparative always applies to the entire construction, what's the
grammar which allows {reH latlh qabDaq qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS} to mean
"the fire is always hotter on someone else's face"?

On Sat, 13 Feb 2021 at 17:35, Will Martin <willmartin2 at mac.com> wrote:

> [...] 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}).

Can you quote from the passage in TKD where it says this description of the
comparative is exhaustive?

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>*.

Never? Do you mean except for {Qam[taH]vIS Hegh qaq law' tor[taH]vIS yIn
qaq puS}, the very sentence that started this discussion?

> Assuming that you can’t have separate scope [...]
While the logical view of the comparative sees two halves [...]

You keep writing "logic" this and "assuming" that. But can you acknowledge
that there is an *actual counterexample* that contradicts your claim?

You'd previously written that the sentences suggested by mayqel qunen'oS,
based on the grammar of the {Qam[taH]vIS...} sentence, seem fine to you. Is
this grammatical structure an exception to your insistence that the
comparative doesn't have two halves? Did you change your mind?

> [...] There is no reason to assume that the head stuff would apply to one
> instance and not the other.

But it's not an *assumption*. The way that evidence works is that if you
produce a dozen, or a thousand, or even a million examples which doesn't
show X, it doesn't prove that X is never true. But if there is just *one*
example of X, then that's sufficient reason to conclude that X is sometimes

You keep asserting that there is "no reason" and "no evidence" that the two
halves of a comparative can have different contexts. But we already know of
one canon example ({Qam[taH]vIS...}). TKW says that grammar is "a bit
aberrant; one would expect {QamtaHvIS}... and {tortaHvIS}". In other words,
it's allowed to put a subordinate clause in front of each half of a
comparative (at least in some situations). If this isn't actual evidence
that the comparative construction has two halves, then what is it?

You also keep repeating that every canon instance of comparatives and
superlatives (except the specific ones under discussion) shows that the
same context applies to both sides of the comparison. Leaving aside that
this isn't true for {Qam[taH]vIS...}, doesn't this actually *support* my
observation that your explanation of the grammar of the comparative is
internally inconsistent?

You've previously explained that you think the meaning of the proverb is
that there is "ONE fire, and the place where it is hottest is at someone
else’s face" (meaning that it is hotter than the same fire on my face or
our face or whatever). If {latlh qabDaq} restricts the entire comparative,
then what's the grammar that produces this meaning? If all canon examples
of comparatives and superlatives (excepting {Qam[taH]vIS...}) apply the
same context to the entire construction, how is this proverb comparing the
one fire on someone else's face to anything not on that face? Until you
answer that question, this sentence appears to be a counterexample to your
claims. A million examples doesn't prove a rule, but a single
counterexample disproves it.

Every time you repeat that all (other) canon comparatives and superlatives
apply the same context to the entire construction, you're just highlighting
how different {reH latlh qabDaq...} is from all of them. So one of two
things has to be true: (1) it's a counterexample to your claims about
comparatives; (2) it means something different than what you think it means.

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