tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Apr 15 21:30:26 2002

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Re: middle voice

> > Basically, my point is, with transitive (or 'accusative', as I would 
> > the opposite of 'unaccusative' to be) verbs, there is always a
> > subject/object dualism, whether the subject is expressed or not.  The
> > meaning of the verb demands it.  The difference seems to be that we have 
> > way to avoid explicitly mentioning the subject in English, whereas in
> > Klingon, we have to indicate morphemically that the subject is unknown.
>There is one known possible exception to this.  We've often debated the
>correct usage of verbs indicating weather conditions: SIS, jev, peD, maybe
>one or two more I haven't thought of offhand.  What's the correct subject 
>these verbs?
>Okrand, obviously in response to having heard about these debates, was
>reported by a list member to have looked up on a rainy day and announce,
>Based upon this, it would seem that when using these verbs, no subject is
>used.  This is just a guess based on flimsy evidence, but I don't see any
>reason not to accept it (there's no better evidence anywhere).  I would 
>guess that they don't take objects either, making the use of these verbs
>nearly restricted to exclamations.  (I'm sure, though, that you could add
>them to more complex structures, e.g., /SIS 'e' vIpar/ "I don't like the

Well, it seems to me that they could easily have the he/she/it subject / no 
object prefix (which prefix is null).  This would follow the pattern of 
dummy subjects such as English "it's raining" or French "il pleut".  Then 
again, it doesn't seem in keeping with Klingon culture to have an 'it' 
subject that doesn't have a referent.   At least one natural language 
doesn't use a subject at all for this kind of verb.  In Finnish, the 
third-person singular form of the verb is used with no subject at all: 
'sataa'.  (Oddly enough, this verb is used for all kinds of precipitation, 
with rain being the default, and so can take an object but never a subject: 
'sataa vettä', it's raining water, 'sataa lunta', it's raining snow, 'sataa 
räntää', it's raining sleet.)  In fact, several verbs in Finnish can be used 
in third-person singular without a subject to express general truths (even 
though those verbs generally do take subjects).  So there are precedents for 
subjectless active voice verbs in natural languages.

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