More on Hoch

HolQeD article of vol. 5 issue 2, June 1996, page 11

Written by Marc Okrand; Originally published in HolQeD, the quarterly journal of the Klingon Language Institute, Flourtown, PA, ISSN 1061-2327.


Clarifies the usage of Hoch (when it comes before a noun). Describes the difference in meaning when using it with an explicitly pluralized noun and a non-pluralized noun. -- Nothing is said about Hoch occuring after a noun, though.


Written by Mark Shoulson (describing discussion with Marc Okrand) While reading the new book from Marc Okrand, The Klingon Way, I noticed that several sentences used Hoch as a quantifier, for "all of" or "every." As Captain Krankor has already pointed out elsewhere in this issue, the use of Hoch has been a topic of some debate in the past. We weren't sure quite how to use it as a quantifier. Some believed it should be used as a numeral, and placed before the noun (?Hoch paq[mey] for "all the books"), and some (including this writer) believed that it should be treated as a noun in a noun-noun construction, since it was listed as a noun in the dictionary (i.e., paq[mey] Hoch). Canon to this point has been mostly ambiguous. But in TKW we have many examples clearly showing that the supporters of the first opinion were in fact correct: Hoch comes before, and not after.

In asking Dr. Okrand about this (grumbling slightly, since I had been shown to be wrong), he told me something else interesting about Hoch. You may notice that sometimes Hoch is followed by a noun with explicit plural markings, and sometimes it isn't. This is hardly surprising: Klingon plural markings are always optional anyway, so an unmarked noun can still be plural. But apparently in Hoch constructions there is a difference. When Hoch precedes an explicitly plural noun (he was very careful on this point: by "explicitly plural" we mean a noun which is either an irregular, inherent plural [e.g., cha torpedoes, ray' targets] or a noun with a stated plural suffix [*-pu',* -Du' or -mey] attached), it means "All the X's" taken collectively. So Hoch tlhInganpu' is "all Klingons," and Hoch paqmey is "all the books." But, if the noun is not explicitly plural (i.e., it's a normal noun, not an irregular plural and not marked with a pluralizing suffix), it means "each X," considered individually. So Hoch 'ebmey tIjon (TKW p.51) is well-translated by "capture all opportunities" (and not "each opportunity"), but wo' toy'taHvIS Hegh 'e' tul Hoch tlhIngan (TKW p. 74) refers (as the English implies) to "every Klingon," individually. It's a fine shade of meaning, which may not always be significant, but it's important to understand that the distinction is available.

It's notable that this shows us that sometimes it does matter if a noun is pluralized, that unmarked nouns can't totally substitute for plural ones due to their unspecified nature with respect to number. This isn't completely surprising, though, since we already have seen examples of how using -mey instead of an irregular plural or another pluralizing suffix changes the meaning. We still await clarification as to how Hoch can be applied to pronouns ("all of us," etc.)

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