tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Mar 14 05:04:58 1994

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Re: -moH and other suffixes

On Mar 13,  5:15pm, Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
> Subject: -moH and other suffixes
> I was thinking a little more about the problem of "suffix-ordering",... 
> 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"?  

     nI'chugh jabbI'IDlIj vaj choQongmoHlaH  {{:)>

> Naive
> construction based on ordering meanings and disregarding the grammar gives
> us "*qaQongmoHrup".  

     VERY naive! The point here is that rovers modify whatever root verb or
suffix they follow while typed suffixes modify the verb, linked in one way to
the subject or object. The only way that {qaQongmoHrup} is a word is if the
{-moH} has somehow become part of the root verb. This suffix in particular
does draw one to do this because more than any other, it changes the MEANING
of the root verb. It essentially adds another verb (cause) to the sentence
linked to this verb. We then are given little direction as to whether the
other suffixes apply to causing or to the root verb.

> 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 don't think this works. {-rup} generally means that the subject is
ready to do the verb. The confusing point is that there are two subjects
here. "I" is the subject of "I am ready to cause," though "you" is the
subject of "you sleep". I went looking for canon and thought I had a good
example with {wIchenmoHlaH} "We can create it." The {-laH} suffix applies to
the REAL subject "We" and not the embedded subject "it". This means "We can
cause it to take form." It does not mean "We cause it to be able to take
form." I was happy.

     Then I saw {HeghqangmoHlu'pu'} "It made him/her willing to die." Hmmm.
(scratch, scratch, scratch...) The {-lu'} is always challenging in settings
like these. Other castings of Okrand's meaning could be, "He/she was made to
be willing to die," or "Somebody/Something caused him/her to be willing to
die." I would have expected "Somebody/Something was willing to cause him/her
to die," or "He/she was willingly caused to die." I could even see, "He/she
was willing to be lethal." (Heh, heh). Nope. This is another one of those
Okrandian examples that just makes things muddier. The whole function of the
example was to show how these suffixes interreact. Instead, it just shows
that the interreaction is unpredictable.
> 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
> instead.
> ~mark

     I think this is the only way to say this combination of suffixes, and
while I would not tend to think of it as ambiguous, looking at the Okrand
examples, I think it is. Because these are typed suffixes, their order is not
negotiable, and they are not SUPPOSED to modify each other so much as both
modify the verb. Unfortunately, Okrand gives no rules for how to combine the
concept of being ready and the concept of causing when applied to a verb.


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