tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Aug 15 07:00:39 2002

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Re: tlhIngan Hol lujatlhbogh puq'e'

From: "Stephan Schneider" <>
> >qIbDaq SuvwI''e' SoH Dun law' Hoch Dun puS.
> >You would be the greatest warrior in the galaxy.
> >"In the galaxy, regarding warriors, you are the most wonderful of all."
> so /'e'/ can be a case tag. i wasn't aware of that. i remember that
> one said that there can be confusion about focus and topic... i think
> now i understand it better: /'e'/ can be either a case tag for a
> focus or a topicalizer (that is not a case tag). qar'a'?

Depends on how you look at it.  In my own view, I see Type 5 noun suffixes
not as "case tags," but rather purely as having semantic meaning.  Whether
the word's meaning in the sentence's context is subject, object, or
"something else" determines where it goes.  Thus, a word like /pemmo'/
"because of daytime" will virtually never be a subject or object.  The only
Type 5 suffix whose meaning doesn't usually preclude putting it in subject
or object position is /-'e'/, which can mean either "focus" or "topic" (and
I don't like the idea of automatically saying that it is one in one position
and the other in another position).

One reason for this interpretation is that it explains the unusual behavior
of locatives and verbs of motion.  You can say /juHDaq vIghoS/ "I go home"
and it's perfectly valid.  The /juHDaq/ is the OBJECT of the sentence; it's
not part of the pre-object soup, the "header."  Okrand has told us that
several verbs describing motion can work this way.  The simplest way to
explain this is, in my opinion, to recognize that the so-called "syntactic
markers" actually only impart semantic meaning, but that the meaning makes
them show up in the header so often as to make them appear to be syntactic
markers (/-'e'/ is clearly not exclusively a syntactic marker).  It's the
MEANING of the word that determines what its "case" is (subject, object, or

Please note that my expounding on this topic has previously caused no small
effect on this list.  I restate it (a) as a possible answer to your
question, and (b) as an interpretation of what we see in order to arrive at
grammatical sentences, and to explain WHY they're grammatical.  I do not
claim any kind of authority over what "is."

Stardate 2622.9

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