Newsgroup message of March 23, 1998

Subject: DIrmey pagh DIrDu'

Summary

In this message, Okrand explains which plural suffix should be used for animal skins if they are disconnected from a body.

Source

Newsgroup: Klingon Usenet Forum
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 00:15:57 -0500

Quote

Since number is an optional category in Klingon (the plural suffix may be left off even if the word refers to more than one thing), DIr may refer to a skin or skins or skin as a material or substance. Likewise for veDDIr pelt, pelts.

So the problem of which plural suffix to use comes up only when one feels the need to be very specific.

If I understand Maltz correctly, it works like this:

The general plural suffix -mey is not used with body parts (except by poets, of course). Thus DIrmey skins and veDDIrmey pelts are not (or, perhaps better, are no longer) body parts, but rather are materials from which things (clothing or blankets, for example) may be made. They've lost their association with the creatures that originally had them. (This is kind of like the distinction in English between "beef," which is eaten, and "cattle," which isn't.)

If there still is that association, that is, if the creatures still have their skin, or if it's a creature that has multiple skins (maybe layers, maybe different kinds of skin on different parts of the body), or if the skin just came off either by natural causes (as with Alan Anderson's snakes) or by the creatures being, well, skinned, then the body-part plural suffix -Du' may be used: DIrDu'.

But DIr alone, without a suffix, is heard most often.

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