tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Jan 27 12:41:19 1999

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Re: Sumchuq

nuja' charghwI':

> {Sumchuq X Y je} would NOT work because {Sum} can ONLY be 
>  intransitive. It is a verb that can be used adjectivally, so it 
>  can never take an object. The {-chuq} suffix, despite its 
>  verb's prefix indicating differently, always implies 
>  transitivity.

Like you, I'd been thinking that in Klingon, as in many other languages, the
"each other" form is a *reciprocal*.   Most straightforwardly, such a form is
used with transitive verbs only, and means that the plural subjects are each
other's direct objects.  Since {Sum} cannot take an object, such a  form could
not be used.

But I just reread TKD 4.2.1 and discovered that MO didn't say {-chuq} means
this, or
even that it is a reciprocal; only that "This suffix is used only with plural
subjects.  It is translated 'each other' or 'one another' ."  

Similarly, MO didn't say what I'd thought he said about {-egh}: that it's a
*reflexive*, or (again, by the most straightforward definition of that term)
that it means that the direct object is the same as the subject.  He only said
that "This suffix is used to indicate that the action described by the verb
affects the performer of the action.  It is translated by English 'self'."   

Thus, MO left open many other possibilities, some of which have been developed
in many Earth languages.   For example, the middle voice of ancient Greek and
Sanskrit may be used to mean various twists on the transitive, such as
reflexive, reciprocal, and passive (and even neuter intransitive, such as "The
stick bends"); but it is also used for actions done for the subject's own
benefit or to the subject's own loss.   The way that the action affects the
performer can be as indirect object, instead of direct object.   This kind of
latitude *might* exist for {-chuq}: various relationships other than direct
object *might conceivably* be indicated among the plural subjects, such as
location from each other's viewpoint -- which would explain {Sumchuq}.   

But that would open the door for unrestrained speculation, which I don't think
we know enough to support, and produce a chaos of forms which only the
inventors could understand or accept.   Can we resolve this one example
definitively and preclude all that?


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