[tlhIngan Hol] {neH} as in "the only"

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 14:40:38 PDT 2022

On Mon., Jul. 4, 2022, 14:48 D qunen'oS, <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:

> puq neH ghaH
> he is only a child

I think your English translation is misleading.

{neH} after a verb trivialises it. In your sentence, the pronoun is acting
as a verb. "He is only a child", in the sense of "He is merely a child",
would be {puq ghaH neH}.

{neH} after a noun has a restrictive sense. Consider that {yaS neH} means
"only the officer", "the officer alone". {puq neH ghaH} means "He is only a
child" in the sense of "He is a child alone", "He is a child (and nothing

Which meaning do you intend by "he is only a child"?

But why can't it mean too "he is the only child", as in "the only child of
> two parents"?

Because, following a noun, {neH} means "only" in the sense of "only X (and
nothing else)", and not "the only X (and there are no other Xs)".

For example, {yaS neH yIHoH} means "kill only the officer" (i.e., there are
multiple people, and the order is to kill the one who is an officer, but
not the others). It does not mean "kill the only officer". (Of course, if
there's a group of people only one of which is an officer, the effect is
the same.)

You *can* express the concept of "the only child of two parents" using
{neH}: {wa' puq neH lughaj chaH} "they have only the one child", "they have
one child alone", "they have one child (and nothing else)".

Similarly, we have the {jonta' neH} for "only the engine". But why can't it
> mean too "the only engine"?

Because of the meaning of {neH}.

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