[tlhIngan Hol] inherently plural nouns when they are implied

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Wed Jun 1 06:29:11 PDT 2022

On Wed, 1 Jun 2022 at 14:39, D qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:

> Suppose I'm telling the following story.
> There's a captain whose crew is incompetent. They have the targets in the
> screens in front of them, but they still can't see them. So the captain
> says:
> "Idiots.. They can't see the targets, even when the screens display them.."
> Which of the two should I write?
> QIpwI'pu'; ray' luleghlaHbe', vabDot lu'aghtaHvIS jIH.
> QIpwI'pu'; ray' luleghlaHbe', vabDot 'aghtaHvIS jIHmey.

Why did you write {jIH} in the first sentence and {jIHmey} in the second?
In any case, if {ray'} is the elided object pf {'agh} and the subject is
plural, then it should be {lu'aghtaHvIS} (using the they-it prefix).

I sent a message to the mailing list with the subject "inherently plural
nouns and collection nouns for groups of people (in the paq'batlh)" quoting
a part of an exchange between Dr. Okrand and myself about this:

So I guess the question is this:
> When at a point of a passage an inherently plural noun has been stated,
> but in the subsequent story this noun is omitted (elided I think is the
> term), do we treat the thing described as singular or do we treat it as
> plural?
> Is the inherently plural noun treated as singular only when it is written,
> or are the things described by that noun to be considered as something
> singular for the duration of the remaining story, even when the inherently
> plural noun which describes them is omitted/elided?

Quoting the relevant portion of the message I cited above, the 1st edition
of the paq'batlh had this sentence:

{'uQ'a' luSop neghwI' 'e' vIchaw' / chaHvaD 'Iw HIq vInob / vaj
tlhutlhlaH 'e' luSIQlaHbe'}
"I will let my soldiers feast, / Give them blood wine / Until they can
stand no more!"

Dr. Okrand noted that {negh} should be treated grammatically as singular
throughout, so the above is in error. Correcting just this error would
result in:
{'uQ'a' Sop neghwI' 'e' vIchaw' / ghaHvaD 'Iw HIq vInob / vaj tlhutlhlaH e'

Note that {SIQlaHbe'} is correct (and not {luSIQlaHbe'}), even though the
subject is not explicit, because {negh} is grammatically singular. Note
also that that isn't the final revision of the sentence as it will appear
in the 2nd edition, as it has been further revised (but the further
revisions are not relevant to your question).

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