tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Aug 23 09:28:59 2002

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Re: tlhIngan Hol lujatlhbogh puq'e'

>>lab Holtej 'utlh:
>>>>>>A rose by any other name.  Personally, I see "subject," "object," and
>>>>>>"header" as the cases of Klingon nouns.
>>>>>I don't see these as cases, so much as grammatical roles. 
>>>>>Unless you subscribe to the theory that (a) all nouns are marked 
>>>>>for case, even if it's not overt; and (b) Klingon is like human 
>>>>>languages in this regard, there's no evidence that Klingon uses 
>>>>i subscribe, i subscribe! :)
>>>To which part?  Both?  I'd object to (b) on the grounds that 
>>>Klingon is, by definition, non-human; we shouldn't adopt 
>>>(theoretical) principles of human languages for Klingon without 
>>>evidence.  My point was that distinctions like "subject" and 
>>>"object" are grammatical roles.  Their role in the sentence is 
>>>determined by syntax (word order), not morphology (case marking). 
>>>Furthermore, (overt) case marking isn't even an option (though we 
>>>can talk about {-vaD} for indirect objects).
>>i see klingon as a human language. if we can learn it, and children 
>>can learn it, then it is a human language.
>That's like saying that French is a Chinese language because Chinese 
>people can learn it.  Klingon is not human.  And my point in saying 
>this is that we can't assume Klingon works a certain way simply 
>because human languages do.

french is a human language, because humans can learn and speak it.
chinese is a human language, because humans can learn and speak it.
klingon is a human language, because humans can learn and speak it.

>There are certain assumptions we make in playing this game of 
>learning Klingon.  There's this context, you see, in which, far 
>away, there are these aliens called "Klingons."  They're not from 
>Earth, not human.  We're just learning their language.  If we don't 
>agree on these simple assumptions, we're certain not to agree on 
>conclusions you reach by violating them.


ok, Holtej. it's just ok. :)

the context is: the klingons exist, and we know the language that 
they will speak in some hundred years, because mo has a maltz (btw... 
how did maltz come to the earth? after taking the klingon bird of 
prey in star trek iii, did kirk carry him to the earth of the 20th 
century in star trek iv?).
and maltz, without being a klingon linguist, taught mo klingon, and 
mo, without being a klingon, wrote the rules down.

but: now that _we_ know klingon, too, couldn't we, without violating 
this scifi context, write another tkd?

>>let me ask this: do i understand it right that "overt" case marking 
>>means there is a case, but we don't mark it?
>Sorry, I could have chosen a clearer word.  "Overt" means "visible." 
>"Non-overt" means "not visible, but present."


>>i wanted to subscribe to
>>1) klingon is a human language
>>2) all nouns have a case, whether marked or not
>I reject your (1) outright.  Klingon is a Klingon language, not a Terran one.

and that's ok, Holtej. it doesn't matter right at the moment.

>>>Let me ask it another way.  If you claim a non-overt case system 
>>>for Klingon nouns, what does this buy you?
>>i don't know the exact meaning of "non-overt".
>>maybe i just want to distinguish the case of a noun (i mean the way 
>>that a noun is introduced, as a location, as a reason, as a 
>>beneficary and so on) from the role that a noun has for a verb. a 
>>verb needs subject and object, and this together needs a header.
>"Needs" is too strong, but I know what you mean.

yes. maybe "has" would have been sufficient.

>>there are no subject-object-header markers, as these rules are 
>>determined by the syntax of the language.
>But for the "cases" you describe (location, reason, beneficiary), 
>there are syntactic markers ({-Daq}, {-mo'}, {-vaD}).

and that's ok. but time-stamps like /jaj/ and manner-stamps like 
/batlh/ don't have syntactic markers. but they _are_ time-stamps and 
so on. so we need (or don't need, but you know what i mean) to 
distinguis between the markers and the "cases".

>>a noun keeps his case independently from his role in the sentence 
>>or in the verb structure.
>>there is one sentence role: the header.
>>there are two verb rules: subject and object.
>>the nouns that are used in the header, in the subject and in the 
>>object slot have cases, they are locatives, beneficaries and so on. 
>>this difference exists.
>I am often easily confused by the use of terms like "case" and 
>"role," because I'm a linguist and these words have specific meaning 
>to me.  Rather than go down that road, I'm going to assume you're 
>using these words in a novel way, and not try to interpret your post 
>based upon their technical meanings (which your usage seems 
>inconsistent with).

if i were a klingon linguist, i wouldn't ask all these stupid questions.
sorry for having confused you.

>So, you say verbs have "roles," which are "subject" and "object", 
>and nouns can be identified as these roles by their position in the 


>A sentence has a "role," which is "header," and nouns can be 
>identified as this role by their position in the sentence.


>In the header position, nouns have "cases," which include location, 
>reason, beneficiary.  These are identified by syntactic markers.

yes, but not always. time-stamps go into the header, but they don't 
have syntactic markers.

>You also want to say that nouns in the "subject" and "object" roles 
>can have cases.


>How am I doing so far?

really cool! you understand me. i'm really glad. :)

>Now, in this framework [1], my question is this: why do you want to 
>claim that nouns in "subject" and "object" roles can have cases? 
>They're not marked for case in the same way that nouns in the header 
>are (by syntactic markers).  So if they're not marked for case, what 
>is the benefit of claming that they do have case?


>[1] I say "in this framework," because we've given special 
>definitions to the words "role" and "case" that are specific to 
>Klingon, for the purpose of this discussion.  If you say that 
>subject nouns have case because that's the way human languages work, 
>now you're using a different definition of case that doesn't apply 

[1] i stick to this framework. i don't think that there are cases 
just because human languages work this way. (although i think that 
klingon _is_ a human language, but, that is really not important 
right now.)

you see, in this framework, in the header position, nouns have cases 
which include location, so nouns with /-Daq/. but such a noun can be 
the object of a verb. so the object of a verb has a case, or can have 

how am i doing so far? :)


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