tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Feb 19 21:56:05 2002

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Re: A -moH suggestion

>jISoplaH.  Soj vISoplaH.  nuv vISopmoHlaH, qar'a'?

ja' SuStel:
>HIja'.  'ach jIjatlhpu' pImqu'qu'qu' "Sopghach" "SopmoHghach" je!!!!

vIlajbe'.  wot pImmoHbe' moHaq.  qech chel.  qech choHbe'.

>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/.

*I* don't see them as different verbs.  {-moH} is a verb suffix.  It adds
the idea of causation to the verb.  It does not change the verb to mean
something else.

>/SopmoH/ isn't ABOUT the
>food eaten.  It's about one person /SopmoH/ing another person (or thing,

Why do you presume that?  I agree that the typical usage would be that way,
but we're discussing "advanced" usage here.

>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.

But it isn't just a single example, and it isn't English grammar.  On the
contrary, it is a splendid case of a verb suffix simply adding an extra
idea to the sentence.  The similar "ditransitivity problem" with the verb
{pong} was resolved in exactly the same way.  There is also the apparently
exceptional definition of {tuQmoH} to consider.  The {Ha'quj} example
meshes *extremely* well with the way {pong} works and the way {tuQmoH} is
defined in the dictionary.  It works so well, in fact, that I have a very
hard time believing that it wasn't designed that way.

>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.

I've looked at {-moH} very closely.  My conclusion is that it neither
transforms nor convolutes the verb.  It merely adds another piece of
meaning, that of causation.  The grammar might look like the verb's subject
is turning into its object, but I think that's just an illusion, along the
lines of {-lu'}.

If you'd like me to elaborate again on my theory about verb prefixes and
beneficiaries and the larger application of what we call the "prefix
trick", I'd be happy to do so, but I really don't think it's all that
important to ask how many energy beings can do calisthenics on a perfect
spearhead. :-)

-- ghunchu'wI'

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