tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue May 25 07:06:41 1999

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RE: {-meH}: purpose clauses

> [<> jatlhmeH mIwmey qel wa' nav.]
> ja' peHruS:
> >Then, there remains the question of what is the head noun of the {-meH}
> >clause.  It appears obvious to me in this sentence the head noun of the
> >clause is {mIwmey}, which is plural.
> Read TKD 6.2.4 closely.  {-meH} goes on a verb in a "purpose clause".
> The purpose clause goes in front of the noun or verb it is describing.
> There isn't anything like a "head noun" of a purpose clause.  If the
> clause describes a noun, that noun isn't actually part of the clause.
> In the above-quoted text, {mIwmey} has no role *in* the {-meH} clause.
> Its number is not relevant to the prefix of the purpose clause's verb.

But wait a minute.  That doesn't mean that a verb with {-meH} (a purpose clause) can't
have it's own subject or object independent of the noun or verb it's describing.  We have
examples of a purpose clause with its own object:

TKW p. 7
{qa' wIje'meH maSuv}
We fight to enrich the spirit.

Obviously {qa'} is the object of {wIje'meH}.  We have examples where the noun between the
V-meH and main verb is not the subject of the purpose clause:

TKW p. 73
{bIQapqu'meH tar DaSop 'e' DatIvnIS}
To really succeed, you must enjoy eating poison

Obviously, {tar} is NOT the subject of {bIQapqu'meH}; the prefix {bI-} insures this.  But
we also have examples where the noun in the middle is definitely the subject of the {-meH}

SuvwI' qa' patlh veb chavlaHmeH tlhIngan lo'chu' chaH.
The Painstick is employed by friends of the recipient who use the devices to inflict pain
in a manner which will allow the Klingon to attain a higher state of spirituality....

In this one, the N {tlhIngan} is obviously the subject of {chavlaHmeH}, and not the object
of the main clause's V {lo'chu'} (unless you believe {tlhIngan lo'chu' chaH}).  And in
fact, if {tlhIngan} were plural, it'd have to be {luchavlaHmeH}, wouldn't it?

So in a sentence like the one that started this, {jatlhmeH mIwmey qel wa' nav}, is there a
compelling reason to view this syntactically as [[V-meH] OVS] rather than [[V-meH S] VS]?

> (The term "head noun" applies to the topic of a *relative* clause with
> the {-bogh} suffix on the verb.  Such nouns are explicitly part of the
> relative clause, either as the subject or the object.)

I'm not too concerned with the terminology "head noun," I've always used it in the context
of a relative clause, and at the moment I can't think of a compelling example where I'd
need such a concept with a purpose clause (that I couldn't express more clearly with a
relative clause anyway).  But I don't think it's necessarily true that, at least in the
case of {jatlhmeH mIwmey qel wa' nav}, the noun {mIwmey} MUST be the object of the main
verb, rather than having it be the subject of the purpose clause.

> -- ghunchu'wI'

-- Holtej 'utlh

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