tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Apr 02 21:35:37 1999

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Re: transitive/intransitive

For Klingon, it very well may be that there are two distinctions which
change the grammar.

(1) Verbs that can take objects, vs. verbs that cannot take objects.

(2) Verbs that do have objects in specific sentences, vs. verbs that do not
have objects in specific sentences.

An example of (1) is {Sop} vs. {Quch}.  You can "eat" something.  You cannot
"be happy" something.  You can {legh} something, but you cannot {Qong}
something.  Note that this is different from the distinction of verbs of
quality vs. verbs of action.

An example of (2) is {targh tIq vISop} vs. {jISop}.  Of course, it may be
that the prefix {jI-} isn't literally "no-object," but means "no-object or
general object, whichever is useful here."  In any case, the grammar seems
to be identical.

So is the difference between transitive and intransitive the same as the
difference shown in (1) or the difference shown in (2)?  Or something else?
This is very important, because the whole {-moH} problem revolves around not
whether a verb which CAN take an object goes through the {-vaD} somersault,
but whether a verb which IS taking an object will go the the motions.

If transitivity is so vitally important to understanding Klingon, why is it
that it is virtually ignored through all of the materials we have so far?  I
imagine a Klingon linguist lurking on the list, and thinking "Transitivity
for {ghoj}?  Who cares?  Stop your whining and just use the bloody thing!"

Stardate 99253.2

jatlh ghunchu'wI':
It is apparent from this discussion of the verb prefixes that some verbs
generally can have objects and some verbs generally can not. Rather than
refer to them as "verbs which can have an object" and "verbs which can not
have an object", we apply a commonly understood linguistic term and call
them "transitive verbs" and "intransitive verbs". The terms are not used
by Okrand in The Klingon Dictionary, but the idea of classifying verbs based
on whether or not an object is possible does not come from an outside

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