tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Feb 08 07:32:16 2002

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Re: A -moH suggestion

From: "Alan Anderson" <>
> ja' SuStel:
> >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
> >say . . . what?  Well, if I could say it, it wouldn't be a controversy.
> >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.
> Do you consider {ghaHvaD quHDaj qawmoH} to be uncontroversial?

I didn't say come up with any utterance that isn't controversial.  I said
come up with a question, along the lines I had laid out before (which you
deleted), that led to a controversial question, i.e. a ditransitive verb.
Just throwing the heritage problem at it doesn't do that.  There has been no
line of development.

> >...The problem could very well be only a problem if you start from
> >English and work your way to Klingon.
> qechvam vIlaj vIneH, 'ach...
> >It may not show up at all if you start out in Klingon.
> Sure it does.
> jISoplaH.  Soj vISoplaH.  nuv vISopmoHlaH, qar'a'?

HIja'.  'ach jIjatlhpu' pImqu'qu'qu' "Sopghach" "SopmoHghach" je!!!!

> 'ach nuv vISopmoHDI',
> Soj vIbuSHa'nIS'a'?

pImmo' "Sopghach" "SopmoHghach" je, ram.

When you think of /Sop/ and /SopmoH/ as different verbs, which in a
practical sense they are, then it doesn't matter whether you're not
mentioning the food eaten when you use /SopmoH/.  /SopmoH/ isn't ABOUT the
food eaten.  It's about one person /SopmoH/ing another person (or thing,
etc.).  If I say /nuv vISopmoH/, and you ask /nuq Sop?/, you've changed the
verb, and my answer will also use /Sop/ and not have a problem.  Just
because I can't combine /Sop/ and /SopmoH/ into a single verb is irrelevant.

Again, I'm not saying that /SopmoH/ isn't /Sop/ plus /-moH/.  It is.  What
I'm saying is that, perhaps to the native Klingon mind, /-moH/ isn't just
some grammatical trick, but is instead an inherent part of any word that
uses it.  When speaking in English, I usually don't think of "runner" as
"run" plus "one who does."  "Runner" is its own word.  (No, this isn't meant
to be a bullet-proof example; it's just meant to be an illustration.)  When
you /Sop/ something, it's an entirely different action than when you
/SopmoH/ it.

Our problem is that in English, we throw objects around like crazy.
Everything has an object.  "I feed the person the food."  "The person" is an
indirect object, and "the food" is a direct object.  Native English speakers
will often encounter sentences they WANT to say, and know how they'd say
them in English, and then try to use the same parts of speech in Klingon.
Now, I'm not saying that /SopmoH/ CAN'T have specially defined direct and
indirect objects (as the heritage problem would suggest); I'm saying that to
take a single example, written by a fallible, non-Klingon-native Terran
(whose many other errors are well-documented and usually accepted as
errors), and apply English grammar to it in an attempt to understand it
smacks of native language bias.  Thus, looking at /-moH/ and thinking that
it transforms the verb, rather than convolutes it (because it seems unlikely
to me that Klingons would have the mental trouble of reversing subjects and
objects in their minds because of this common suffix), I've come to the
opinion that demanding ditransitivity of this sort isn't supported by the
Klingon language.  It may be allowed, but it would have to be an arbitrary
rule that isn't documented.

Stardate 2106.8

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