[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: puS

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Sat May 22 18:02:07 PDT 2021


So, until we hear otherwise, I guess {vItlhHa’} would have to do as an uncountable {puS}, unless someone has a better suggestion.

I’d forgotten {vItlh} if I’d ever noticed it for what it apparently is.

charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On May 22, 2021, at 1:24 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 5/22/2021 12:57 PM, Will Martin wrote:
>> Whenever my wife hears someone say something like, “There are less people at this party than the last one,” she cringes and points out that one should say “fewer” instead of “less”. The proper use of “less” is something like “The left front tire on that car has less air in it than the right front tire.”
>> Meanwhile, the Klingon gloss of {puS} covers “few”, but not “less”. Is its meaning limited to the gloss?
>> In the {law’/puS} construction, we say things like {jIH tIn law’ SoH tIn puS} without implying that we are talking about more inches (in which direction?) or square inches of surface area, or cubic inches of volume, so that we could be talking about my “many” cubic inches and your “few” cubic inches. We commonly use it for “more” and “less” in the non-numeric comparison of quantity, lacking any integer value.
> It's the difference between countable and uncountable nouns. You use fewer with countable nouns and less with uncountable nouns. Fewer people, fewer attacks, fewer ideas, but less water, less time, less honor.
>> I mean, am I really saying, “I have many bigs; you have few bigs,”? It feels more like, “I have much bigness; you have less bigness."
>> Is there anywhere outside of the definition gloss where the definition includes the “less” meaning in addition to the stated “few” meaning?
> I can't directly answer this question, but I can point out that vItlh be high, be great (in quantity, size, intensity) is used for uncountable nouns, while law' be many, be numerous is used for countable nouns. And law' is used in comparatives and superlatives even if they've got uncountable nouns, so I wouldn't go trying to analyze puS directly as used in those types of sentences.
> Maybe there's an uncountable counterpart to puS that we just haven't learned yet. Or maybe puS does both. We really can't tell, and I don't think it would be safe to rely too much on the English grammar of the gloss for the Klingon grammar.
> -- 
> SuStel
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