tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Apr 18 18:40:33 2002

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Re: "indefinite subject" and "passive voice"

jatlh ghunchu'wI':

>English has "active" forms where the subject acts, and "passive" forms
>where the subject receives an action.  "Someone hit the table" vs "The
>table was hit by someone."  Klingon has no such distinction in voice; both
>come out with the table receiving the action as the object of the sentence.

I heard someone say that if the object of a sentence habitually comes first 
in a language, then all the verbs must be passive, because logically, the 
subject should come first. The example which was cited was the sentence

puq legh yaS

which was translated as "The child is-seen-by the soldier". Now, I know that 
this is wrong and it smacks of circular reasoning (viz. objects can't come 
first in a sentence, but if one does, then the verb must be passive, because 
we all know that objects can't come first in a sentence - obvious rubbish), 
but can anyone - perhaps someone with a knowledge of theoretical linguistics 
- explain why it is so? Why do we read <<legh>> as "sees" instead of 

Qapla' 'ej Satlho'


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