[tlhIngan Hol] Pronouns and noun suffixes, prefix trick and *bID*

Will Martin lojmitti7wi7nuv at gmail.com
Fri Jan 13 09:21:53 PST 2023

It’s worth noting that in boQwI’, all of the vocabulary examples of either compound nouns or noun phrases containing {bID} have it following the other noun. That doesn’t preclude the use of {bID} before another noun, but it does suggest that there would be something unusual about a noun-noun construction with {bID} before the other noun.

The only canon example of {bID} preceding the other noun listed in boQwI’ is from the Bird of Prey poster:

{cha’ choQmey naQ tu’lu’ ‘ej tep choQ bIngDaq lo’ law’ bID choQ tu’lu’.} “2 Full Decks and a Half Utility Deck under the Cargo Deck”

It’s not a direct translation, since the English version lacks any verb and isn’t a grammatical sentence, serving as a label, while the Klingon is a grammatical sentence, more literally translated as:

"There are two full decks and there is a half utility deck under the cargo deck."

That phrase {lo’ law’ bID choQ} / “half utility deck” is interesting in that it’s not noun-noun. It’s noun-noun-noun (counting {lo’ law’} as a single noun), which is fairly uncommon in canon, and we haven’t had any explanations as to how to interpret such a construction. Going with what we understand, it could be “utility’s half’s deck”, or “deck of the half of utility”. Either of these suggest that it’s a [full?] deck that is half useful, as opposed to a fully useful half-deck, or I guess that half of the ship’s utilities are on the full deck, as opposed to all of the utilities being on the half deck.

This would also fit the “look for what is most like other canon” approach and say that {lo’ law’ bID} puts {bID} after the noun, like everywhere else in canon we’ve seen, and once again, we get “half utility” instead of “half deck”.

So, somehow {bID choQ} is supposed to be recognized as “half deck”, if we are to match the English translation, and that is just weird, compared to all the other entries, like {DIr paH bID}, {paH bID}, or {yopwaH bID}. A pair of shorts is a pair of half-pants, and the {bID} follows the noun. A kilt is a half-dress, and the {bID} follows the noun.

Clearly, it’s supposed to be “half deck of utility” or “utility’s half deck”, and as such, it’s weirdly arranged. Either it’s a mistake, or something is going on here that Okrand has failed to explain to us, or I’m just not thinking deeply enough to plow through this. So, we continue...

So, if we might want to use it like a number, which could precede a noun, or follow it, with the meaning determined by the special rules of numbers, but we’re not told that {bID} is a number. We’re just told that it’s a noun. It’s not mentioned in TKD in the section that describes numbers.

Then again, we have {Hoch}, which is similarly considered a noun and not a number, so the general rules of the genitive noun-noun apply and we additionally have, from canon, derived special rules for {Hoch}, such that {Hoch SuvwI’pu’} means “all the soldiers”, and {Hoch SuvwI’} means “each soldier”, and {SuvwI’pu' Hoch} means “All of the soldiers” and {SuvwI’ Hoch} means “All of the soldier”.

So, with this as a template, {bID choQmey} would mean “half of the decks”, and {bID choQ} would mean… I don’t know… I can’t wrap my head around introducing the difference between “all of” and “each of” to {bID}. It’s easier to interpret {choQmey bID} as “half of the decks” and {choQ bID} as “half of the deck”.

So, if we are trying to differentiate “half of the deck” from “the half deck”, I could see {bID choQ} meaning “half-deck”, but then why do we not say {bID yopwaH} for “shorts” or {bID DIr} for “kilt”?

So… basically, you’ve asked a great question, illuminating one of those really messy little nooks and crannies of Klingon vocabulary. Apparently {bID} followed by a noun means “a half [whatever the noun is], if the noun is singular, WITH EXCEPTIONS MADE FOR EVERY SINGLE EXPLICIT USE OF {bID} IN THE REVEALED KLINGON VOCABULARY.

My guess is that an earlier Emperor always used {bID} after a noun to mean “half-[noun]”, and the vocabulary fossilized with this rule, and a more recent Emperor decided to precede a noun with {bID} for this meaning, so you should precede a noun with {bID} for this meaning, but remember all the exceptions of earlier vocabulary that includes {bID}. Besides the aforementioned three vocabulary entries, if we extend to compound nouns, we also have {moQbID, qubbID je}.

If I’m missing something, I’m wide open to ejecting my ignorance and filling my mind with clarity on the matter.


charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Jan 13, 2023, at 10:35 AM, SuStel via tlhIngan-Hol <tlhingan-hol at lists.kli.org> wrote:
> On 1/13/2023 6:25 AM, luis.chaparro--- via tlhIngan-Hol wrote:
>> 1. Can we use all noun suffixes with pronouns as long as it makes sense, or is there any canonical limitation?
> There are no syntactic limitations.
>> 2.*SoHvaD paq vInob*  and*paq qanob*  are both grammatical. Is there any (canonical) difference between them (e.g. one is more formal, the other coloquial etc.)?
> I believe there is no known difference between them. One is not more formal than the other.
>> 3. Can we use*bID*  before and after a noun and, if it is so, what's the difference?
> Others have asked this. I think we don't have a canonical answer, but there's a summary of the issue here: http://klingon.wiki/Word/BID
> Basically, ask yourself: is the thing X you're talking about identified as an X or is it something a little different than an X by being smaller or shorter or lesser ("half")? Whatever the thing is is the head noun in the noun-noun construction (the last noun).
> -- 
> SuStel
> http://trimboli.name
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