tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Mar 13 04:15:45 1994

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

-moH and other suffixes

I was thinking a little more about the problem of "suffix-ordering", and
the assumption some folks have that suffixes must be translated in the
order they appear rather than in the order that makes sense.  This came up
once regarding things like "tay'eghmoH" for "to civilize oneself".  The
"-'egh" somehow seems in the wrong place; as though it should go outside
the "-moH".  I still believe that it belongs where it is; we have no
evidence that the ordering of suffixes bears on the semantics.

But here's another set of musings I had on the subject.  What about the
type 2 suffixes?  Let's consider a word, one that can't be argued is a
fossilized "-moH" construction since it doesn't appear as such in the
dictionary... "QongmoH", "to put to sleep".

Now, how would you say "I am ready to put you to sleep"?  Naive
construction based on ordering meanings and disregarding the grammar gives
us "*qaQongmoHrup".  But the "-rup" belongs earlier!  That gives us
"qaQongrupmoH".  Ah, but some wiseacre will argue that this means "I make
you ready to sleep" and can't mean "I'm ready to put you to sleep".  I
disagree.  I'd think its primary meaning would be "I'm ready to put you to
sleep", simply because that's a more useful meaning.  I suppose it could
also have the other meaning, to be noted from context.  Note, too, that
there's another way of explicating the "I make you ready to sleep" meaning:
"bIQongrup 'e' vIqaSmoH" (man, we get a lot of mileage out of "'e' qaSmoH",
don't we?) and for the other: "qaQongmoH 'e' vIta'rup".  This last isn't
quite so good.

What do you folks think?  I think "qaQongrupmoH" for "I'm ready to put you
to sleep" is legal.  This came up, btw, when I was making a sentence "I'm
willing to teach you" and got "*qaghojmoHqang", then fixed it to
"qaghojqangmoH", and then decided to do something else and ask the list


Back to archive top level