tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Aug 24 09:58:49 2002

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Re: tlhIngan Hol lujatlhbogh puq'e'

>Clipped for brevity.
>>>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.
>You don't have to apologize, this is one of the stated purposes for 
>this discussion group.  And the questions aren't stupid.  If it 
>furthers your interest in and understanding of Klingon, then it's 
>worth it.  And hey, I can always learn something new too.

my interest and understanding increasing indeed. but when i try to 
express myself about how i understand it, then a neverending story 
i think i should stop to try to explain at any cost what i'm thinking.

>I must accept that you and I mean different things by "human" 
>languages.  You seem to be using this term to mean that a human can 
>speak it.  I've made my point about what a "natural human" language 
>is in other posts, so I won't repeat it here.  I am concerned that 
>using the term in this way is misleading.  You seem aware of the 
>danger of making assumptions about how Klingon works on this basis, 
>and I can only hope that others that were not a part of this 
>discussion do not fall into that trap if they hear you describe 
>Klingon this way.


>>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 one.
>>how am i doing so far? :)
>Okay, you're right: there's a special circumstance with verbs of 
>motion where they take an object marked for location with {-Daq}. 
>So far, we've identified the following cases: location, reason, 
>beneficiary, and time-stamp.  One of these occurs as an object in a 
>special circumstance.  The other three, as far as we know, cannot 
>occur in the object role, and none of them, as far as we know, can 
>occur in the subject role.  (There's one counter-example with {-Daq} 
>that I can't remember right now.)

and don't forget that also nouns with the type 5 suffix /-'e'/ can be 
subject or object.

>So, if we accept that they can occur in these positions, the 
>conditions under which they can are extremely circumscribed.  The 
>general observation is that they cannot.

the general observation is that nouns with type 5 suffixes are in the 
header and that nouns without type 5 suffixes are subject or object. 
the exceptions of this observations are that there are nouns that go 
into the header without having a type 5 suffix (time-stamps, for 
example) and that there are nouns that have type 5 suffixes that are 
subject or object. both sides are general observations and have 

>So, now back to my original question.  If we accept that nouns in 
>subject or object role can have one of these cases, but that they 
>are not marked as such, then what is the point of claiming they have 

there is no sence as long as you say that there is a general 
observation and that there are exceptions.
my point is: when there are exceptions, what worth is a general observation?
in order to fix this mixmax of general observations and exceptions, i 
like to see it as "cases of nouns" and "slots/roles of a verb" 
(subject, object) and "slot/role of a sentence" (header).

and/or maybe i don't understand your (original) question. you talk 
about the general observation that subjects and objects don't have 
type 5 suffixes? do you think that i think that an object of a verb 
has an object case without a type 5 suffix? (well, that's not my 

>You might say something like {rIn DaHjaj}, in which a noun that 
>identifies a time is in the subject role.  I would assert that this 
>is not a time-stamp.  It doesn't identify the time at which the 
>action of the sentence occurs.  I could extend this to say {wa'leS 
>rIn DaHjaj}, and now the explicit (overt) time-stamp is different 
>than the subject.  The subject isn't a time-stamp, it's just a 
>regular noun.  This seems to me to argue against your claim that the 
>subject is marked for one of your cases.

hm. no.
neither do i think that "DaHjaj" in the sentence /rIn DaHjaj/ is a 
time-stamp. it's just a noun. the subject isn't marked, as usual. i 
say that /wa'leS/ in /wa'leS rIn DaHjaj/ isn't marked, although it is 
a time-stamp.

>Let me be a little more explicit about what I'm asking and why I'm 
>asking it.  We're talking here about the rules of how this language 
>works.  We don't have to add "case" and "role" to the list if rules 
>in order to understand or describe Klingon grammar.  These are 
>additional concepts.  If you're going to add additional concepts to 
>the grammar, there has to be a well-motivated reason for it.

my reason is that i don't like exceptions and general observations. i 
would have liked to explain sentences with "role" and "case" instead 
of general observations and exceptions. this isn't well-motivated, 
you may say, but for me it is.

>For example, in a field of linguistic inquiry called "case theory," 
>there's a rule called the Case Filter: "Every NP must be assigned 
>case."  This is used to explain why sentence such as (a) are 
>ungrammatical and (b) are grammatical:
>(a) * Him to attack Bill would be illegal.
>(b)   For him to attack Bill would be illegal.
>(The asterisk * indicates the sentence is ungrammatical.)  In (a), 
>the pronoun "him" does not get case, because the verb lacks tense. 
>In (b), the pronoun "him" gets case from the preposition "for."

i don't understand neither a) nor b). sorry. does it mean that "he" 
thinks that it would be illegal to attack bill?
and i think that "him" has a case. it's accusative or dative.

>Now, switching back to Klingon.  You're proposing a new rule, that 
>says that all nouns have a case (noting, with apologies, that this 
>is different that the example from case theory above).  In the 
>subject and (usually) object positions, this is unmarked 
>(non-overt).  My question is, how does this expand the explanatory 
>power of our Klingon grammar?  What is it about how Klingon works 
>that you can explain better now, in terms of case as we've defined 
>it, that you couldn't explain before?

the general observation is that subject and object nouns in klingon 
don't have markings for their cases, i.e. type 5 suffixes (exceptions 
are object nouns with /-Daq/ and subject nouns with /-'e'/).
(nota bene that i _don't_ claim that there is a "subject case" nor an 
"object case" but only nouns in a subject position (subject role) or 
in an object position (object role). the case they have, is an other 

i think it is more complex to describe and explain a language with 
"general observations and their exceptions" than with "observations".

"general observations and their exceptions":
1. general observations:
-the subject nouns and object nouns don't have type 5 suffixes.
-the header nouns have type 5 suffixes.
(conclusion: type 5 suffixes are header suffixes.)
2. exceptions:
-there are subject nouns and object nouns with type 5 suffixes 
(/-Daq/ or /-'e'/).
-there are header nouns that don't have type 5 suffixes (time-stamp).
(confusion: header suffixes can be subject suffixes and object 
suffixes, and some header nouns don't have header suffixes.)

-a verb can have two noun phrases: subject noun phrase, object noun phrase
-a verb together with its subject and object can have several noun 
phrases: header noun phrase
-every noun has a case: nominative, accusative, time-stamp, locative, 
manner and so on
-there are no case-marks for nominative, accusative, manner or 
time-stamp. so we don't know a priori, for instance, what case has 
/batlh/ or /DaHjaj/, only the context (the position to the verb) 
gives us this information.

my explanation doesn't have exceptions, as far as i see. and after 
all: i like it the best! :)

applied to you example /wa'leS rIn DaHjaj/ we have:

"general observations and their exceptions:
-/wa'leS/ is a noun. it appears in the header without having a type 5 
suffix (exception of the general observation that header nouns have 
type 5 suffixes).
-/DaHjaj/ is a time-stamp (i.e. a header noun) used in the subject position.

-/wa'leS/ appears in the header position. it is a time-stamp. there 
are no time-stamp type 5 suffixes.
-/DaHjaj/ appears in the subject position. it is a nominative. there 
are no nominative type 5 suffixes.

>Now, here's my argument on the other side of the discussion.  The 
>types of case that you've identified (location, reason, beneficiary, 
>and time-stamps) always occur in the "header" role (with the 
>exception of location for verbs of motion).  It doesn't seem to me 
>that this exception is a powerful enough example to expand the 
>possible occurrences of case to subject and object positions in 
>general.  And in fact, if you try to construct Klingon sentences 
>this way, they are ungrammatical:
>* tlheD DujDaq
>* tlheD Dujmo'
>* tlheD DujvaD
>* tlheD Dujvo'
>* tlheD wa'Hu'

hm. first: don't forget about the type 5 suffix /-'e'/.

then, why should someone say all your *-sentences?

*the to the ship departs
*the because of the ship departs
*the for ship departs
*the from the ship departs

the only sentence that makes sence is "the yesterday departs".

>(For the {-mo'} example, this is grammatical if you understand it to 
>mean {tlheD ghaH, Dujmo'}, but not if you assume that {Duj} is the 
>subject of {tlheD}.  For the {wa'Hu'} example, {wa'Hu'} cannot act 
>as a time-stamp, as I showed above.)

when you say /tlheD ghaH, Dujmo'/ then /Dujmo'/ isn't in the subject 
position. /ghaH/ is in the subject position. /Dujmo'/ is outside the 
ovs-structure. this makes me think: how do you call the zone outside 
the ovs-struture? "header" is in front of the ovs-structure. and what 
comes after it?

>So, the evidence seems to suggest that the cases as you've defined 
>them are restricted to the "header" role.  And, though MO didn't use 
>the words "header," "case" or "role," this is how TKD describes 
>this.  If you take the syntactic markers off, you're left with 
>{tlheD Duj}, which does not include the connotations of location, 
>reason, or beneficiary that you're arguing for.  It doesn't seem 
>likely to me that these are indeed assigned a case, but not marked a 
>Based on this, I do not understand the justification for describing 
>case in the way that you do.  Show me where I went wrong.  :)


1. /-Daq/ nouns are not the only nouns that can be in the 
ovs-structure. also nouns with /-'e'/ can be there.
2. not all cases make sence in the subject/object position.
3. /tlheD wa'Hu'/ is ok.
4. an observation is better than a general observation with exceptions.
5. i say that subject, object and header are positions in the 
sentence; they are not cases.


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