tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Feb 01 19:10:34 2002

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Re: A -moH suggestion

From: <>
> There is a bit of a problem if you try to say, "I'll teach you Klingon
> language." It looks like "you" and "Klingon language" are both objects of
> {ghojmoH}. In this case, the verb "teach" is "ditransitive", meaning that
> has two objects, though Klingon doesn't really have a place in its grammar
> two direct objects. That's when it is good to remember that {ghojmoH} is
> plus {-moH}.

Notice something here.  You started by saying "I'll teach you Klingon
language" IN ENGLISH.  You weren't thinking in Klingon.  You started in
English, and then went on to apply what you wanted to do in Klingon.

If you were thinking in Klingon, you wouldn't have tried to say "I'll teach
you Klingon language," because (unless there are rules we don't know about
and more canon examples to back up the "heritage construction") that kind of
ditransitivity doesn't happen in Klingon.  The reason we're having a problem
with this is because we're thinking in English, not Klingon.

So to go back to the classic example, and this time thinking in Klingon:

We know how to say

tlhIngan Hol vIghoj jIH.

The object of the verb /ghoj/ is /tlhIngan Hol/, and the subject is /jIH/.
Now, let's keep thinking in Klingon.

jIH choghojmoH SoH.

The object of the verb /ghojmoH/ is /jIH/, and the subject is /SoH/.  End of
story.  It's not important what the object or subject of /ghoj/ is, because
the verb /ghoj/ doesn't appear in this sentence.  (Sure, it does, but not
for our purposes; only the verb /ghojmoH/ does.)

Yeah, if you want some verb suffixes, they'll still go in the usual places
before or after the /-moH/, but the meaning of the verb is /ghojmoH/, not

Now, thinking in Klingon only (don't cast anything in terms of an English
version of the sentence), come up with a controversial question.  How do you
say . . . what?  Well, if I could say it, it wouldn't be a controversy.  And
if I can't say it, then I can't say it.  But never do I come up with an
example sentence that I can't say.

Our problem is that we can think of an English sentence and create a Klingon
equivalent.  Then we can think of another English sentence that modifies the
first English sentence in a certain way, and create a Klingon equivalent
that modifies the first Klingon sentence in the same way.  Then we think of
an English sentence that combines the features of the first two English
sentences, and we start looking for the equivalent Klingon sentence that
combines the features of the first two Klingon sentences.  What we usually
fail to realize is that there is no reason there has to be such a Klingon
equivalent.  The problem could very well be only a problem if you start from
English and work your way to Klingon.  It may not show up at all if you
start out in Klingon.

Thus my post.  Maybe it's not that Klingon hasn't been able to
satisfactorily answer our questions about ditransitivity.  Maybe the problem
is that we've been asking the wrong questions.

Stardate 2089.0

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