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

D qunen'oS mihkoun at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 02:39:34 PDT 2022

> I don't think there is sufficient canonical backing to make any
far-reaching conclusions

Yes, indeed. After going through this thread again today, I realize that
it's difficult to draw conclusions from just one incident where 'oqranD
commented on the use of {mob}.

> {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 else)".
> Which meaning do you intend by "he is only a child"?

I was trying to express "he is the only child", as in "the only child of
two parents"; but I realize now that this meaning cannot be expressed by
writing {puq neH ghaH}, because -as you explained- this would mean "'He is
only a child' in the sense of 'He is a child alone', 'He is a child (and
nothing else)'."

Anyway, thank you ghunchu'wI', loghaD, and De'vID for sharing your
thoughts. I'll go ahead now, and for ease of reference, copy-paste the
previously mentioned message.

{neH} vs. {mob} (was: nuq bop bom: 'ay' cha'vatlh cha'maH cha': 'omwI'pu')

********** Message Starts **********

From: "De'vID" <de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com>

> I once ordered {bIQ neH} to drink at a restaurant. Marc Okrand,
> sitting across the table from me, suggested that I really meant {bIQ mob}.
> That would have been proper if I were not having anything else. As I
> did intend to order food as well, however, my usage was correct. I wanted
> "mere water" as opposed to "water alone".

Is the distinction here between "plain water (with nothing in the
water, i.e., no ice or lemon slice or carbonation)" (= "I'll have a
simple water") vs. "just water" (= "I'll have water and no other food
or drink")?

{neH} trivialises the action when it follows a verb, but its effect on
a noun seems to be one of restriction rather than trivialisation.
{yaS neH yIHoH} means "kill only the officer (and no one else)", not
"kill the mere officer".  Similarly, {jonta' neH yIqIp} is "hit only
the engine (and nothing else)".  I'd understand {bIQ neH yIqem} to
mean "bring only water (and nothing else)".  That is, among the
possible things you could bring me, bring only the water, and bring
nothing but the water.  This is different from "bring me plain water".

OTOH, I wouldn't understand {bIQ mob} immediately as "plain water"
unless someone explained it to me.  I can see how "water alone" might
mean water with nothing in it, but I could just as easily have
interpreted that as water with nothing else (outside the water)
accompanying it.  I think I would've said {bIQ nIt} for "plain water"
(probably just because of the similarity between {nIt} and "neat").
But if Maltz said to me, "Klingons say {bIQ mob} for 'plain unadorned
water'," I'd accept it without hesitation.

In many restaurants, though, the waiter takes the drink order
separately from the food order, so either {bIQ neH} or {bIQ mob} would
probably be understood as meaning you want just water (for your drink,
and in contrast to other drinks or fancy water) while leaving you the
option to also order food without contradicting yourself.

The relevant excerpt, from TKD 5.4:

<begin excerpt>
{neH} <only, merely, just>

Unlike the other adverbials, it follows the verb which it modifies.
The semantic effect is one of trivializing the action.

{qama' vIqIppu' neH} <I merely hit the prisoner.> ({qama'} <prisoner>,
{vIqIppu'} <I hit him/her>)
{Duj yIQotlh neH} <Just disable the ship!> ({Duj} <ship, vessel>,
{yIQotlh} <disable it!>)

The use of {neH} in the preceding sentence implies that the ship is to
be disabled, but not damaged further.

Also unlike the other adverbials, {neH} can follow a noun. In such
cases, it means <only, alone>.

{yaS neH} <only the officer, the officer alone>
{jonta' neH} <only the engine>
<end excerpt>


********** Message Ends **********

Ζεὺς ἦν, Ζεὺς ἐστίν, Ζεὺς ἔσσεται· ὦ μεγάλε Ζεῦ
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