tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Mar 20 19:19:26 1996

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Re: KLBC-double-object verbs

charghwI' writes:
>According to Alan Anderson:
>>...You can "feed the prisoner worms"; "worms" is the DO
>> and "prisoner" is the IO....
>Ahhh. You've just illustrated how slippery this concept can be.
>If I say, "Feed the prisoner," you would probably consider the
>prisoner to be the DO.

Okay, I chose a bad example.  The Klingon word {je'} is listed as
"feed (someone else)", the opposite of the common English meaning
of "feed (something to)".  My sentence doesn't translate directly
into Klingon, so it needs to be restated in the way you suggest.

>If I said, "Feed the worms," you would
>expect me to give some food to the worms. Only when I say,
>"Feed worms to the prisoner," does it look like the worms are
>the DO and the prisoner is the IO.

Pardon this linguistic tangent, but I think "feed" in English can
act *exactly* the way "give" does.  There seems to be an implied "to"
in the sentence:  "Feed [something] (to) the worms."  I can interpret
"feed (something)" as "put (something) [into something else]", like
"feed the flour into the mixer" or "feed the cassette into the VCR."
However, the same thing that lets us say either "give me the knife" or
"give the knife to me" confounds this interpretation so it can be said
either as "feed him the worms" or "feed the worms to him".

This is *not* like Klingon {je'}.

> Even here, I would argue
>that the REAL parse of this would translate to "Feed the
>prisoner by giving him worms." "In order to feed the prisoner,
>give him worms."

Because of the uncharacteristically unambiguous definition of {je'},
this is obviously the correct way to say it.

>So much of what we consider to be a direct or indirect object
>is inherant of our understanding of a specific verb. "Give" and
>"feed" are good examples because when we give something, that
>thing we give is the thing whose ownership is transferred, not
>the recipient of the thing. If we feed someone, the recipient
>of food is the direct object. The food is not.

My American Heritage Dictionary defines "feed" (in part) as:
"1.a. To give food to; supply with nourishment.  b. To provide as
food or nourishment."  The first meaning's object is the recipient,
but the second meaning's object *is* the food.  According to this,
English "feed" can act either like {je'} or like {nob}.

>In Klingon, the parallel is the example of the verb {ghoS}.
>What would be an indirect object or locative for any other verb
>is the Direct Oject of {ghoS}. We do not know what specific
>other verbs treat what would be locatives in this way. Also,
>while I can certainly say, {juH vIghoS}, would I say, {juHvo'
>vIghoS} or would that be {juHvo' jIghoS}? I have no certainty,
>since we have no rule that says we can put a Type 5 suffix on a
>direct object without making it an indirect object.

I don't think {ghoS} is that difficult.  {nob} and {Sop} don't require
objects, why should {ghoS}?  I can certainly "approach from home" and
not explicitly specify an object.  {juHvo' jIghoS} works fine for me.

[I've moved a couple of slightly tangential issues into separate topics.]

-- ghunchu'wI'               batlh Suvchugh vaj batlh SovchoH vaj

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