Subject: Re: Cardinal Directions (to Marc Okrand)
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 00:22:18 -0500
From: "Marc Okrand" [email protected]
Newsgroups: startrek.klingon

Alan Anderson wrote in message ...

The directional nouns may also be used with possessive

Is this a regional feature, or is it common to all
dialects? As I understand it, the locative nouns
generally don't use the possessive suffixes, appearing
instead in constructions like jIH retlh "area next to
me". The exception is the speech typical of the Sakrej
region, where the possessive suffixes are used to say

Good point. I should have been more explicit.

In the standard dialect of Klingon (ta' Hol) and in most
other dialects, the locative nouns (or nouns of location,
or nouns expressing prepositional concepts) do not take
possessive suffixes, while in the dialect of the Sakrej
region, they do.

The directional nouns (chan, 'ev, tIng), on the other
hand, take possessive suffixes in all dialects (or at least
in all dialects studied to date).

It is also possible (though the Sakrej folks tend not to do
this) to use the full pronoun plus locative noun
construction with the directional nouns: jIH chan "east
of me" (literally "I area eastward") (jIH "I").
There is a slight meaning difference between jIH chan,
using the full pronoun, and chanwIj, using the possessive
suffix, however. The construction with the full pronoun
emphasizes the pronoun (in this case "I," the speaker
him/herself) as the reference point; the construction with
the pronominal suffix is more neutral. Thus, chanwIj is
"east of me, east of where I am, east of here," but jIH
chan is "east of ME, to MY east."

Perhaps what occurred historically (though there may well
be other explanations) is that the speakers of the Sakrej
dialect took a grammatical rule which had a restriction
("possessive suffixes may follow directional nouns, but not
other locative nouns") and generalized it (applied it more
broadly) by eliminating the restriction ("possessive
suffixes may follow locative nouns" -- or maybe even,
simply, "possessive suffixes may follow nouns"). In
theory, it could have happened the other way around. The
speakers of some dialect -- including ta' Hol -- could
have interpreted the rule to be "possessive suffixes never
follow locative nouns except for directional nouns" and
then made the rule apply more generally by dropping the
exception (yielding "possessive
suffixes never follow locative nouns"). But this didn't