tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Feb 22 17:48:21 2002

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Re: agentive -wI'

> >  > DughojmoHwI' - he/she who teaches you(singlular)
> > 
> > I don't reject -wI' on prefixed verbs out of hand, but this one comes off 
> > as weird.  Perhaps it's because I know I'd say ghojmoHwI'lI' for that 
> > sense.  I would use -wI' on any combination of suffixes if I judged that
> > construction to be the most effective means of communicating a given
> > meaning.
> HoHwI'wI' - "my killer".  Did I hire him to kill someone else, or did someone 
> else hire him to kill me?
> muHoHwI' - "one that kills me".  Someone hired him to kill me.
> Sure we could use -bogh.  muHoHbogh nuv.  And if there were more than one 
> killer, we could still use -bogh, but it could get messy.
> taj lo'bogh 'ej muHoHbogh nuv  nISwI' lo'bogh 'ej muHoHbogh nuv ghap 
> Dalegh'a'?

It's really hard to figure out what words are modifying what words in this. The 
head nouns are not marked, and in this instance, I don't think leaving the 
meaning to context works, since there is no context. It is nearly impenetrable, 
like you are overloading intermingled clauses. If I knew what you were trying 
to say in English, I might have a suggestion for how you could better say it in 
> And about adding other suffixes, a few days ago I used something like  
> Sovchu'be'wI' "those that don't completely know". 

That borders on overstretching {-wI'}, since I doubt you were talking about 
people who are so habitually without complete knowledge that they deserve to be 
labeled the way that a gunner, or a waiter or a bottle opener is labeled. I 
think you are trying to equate {-wI'} with {-bogh} and it doesn't work.

> We could use a -bogh, but 
> then we could always use a -bogh instead of -wI'.  So why do we have -wI'?

It sounds like you are turning that around and saying that you think we could 
always use {-wI'} so why bother using {-bogh}?

What I really think is going on here is that people are wrongly assuming that 
using {-wI'} is just like using {-bogh}, except that the head noun is implied 
instead of explicitly stated. That is not what {-wI'} is for.

{-bogh} creates a relative clause that describes the head noun, either in a 
demonstrative way (separating the head noun from a crowd of other similar 
nouns) or in a parenthetical way (giving some background information about the 
head noun). The head noun has a function in the main clause and the {-bogh} 
clause modifies that noun.

{wI'} is for naming things. These people or objects do a particular act 
habitually enough that the easiest way to name them so everybody knows who or 
what we are talking about is to call them the verb plus {-wI'}.

Okay, enough armchair theory. I will present every single word Okrand has given 
us with the {-wI'} suffix in the following examples, to show the consistency he 
has had in his use of this suffix. Perhaps that will be more convincing than 
I've managed to be up to this point. It's not like anybody can whine, "Okrand 
hasn't given us enough examples for us to understand how to use {-wI'}. By my 
rough count, we have about 85 words in the vocabulary that end in {-wI'}. I 
looked them up.

{-wI'} nominalizes a verb in a specific way. If the verb X is an action verb, 
then XwI' is the agent who so regularly performs the action X that you can use 
XwI' as the generic name for this agent and for other agents who perform this 
action. It's typical use in this way is for describing a person by identifying 
their occupation or defining behavior:

'avwI' (guard)
'oDwI' (arbitrator)
'oSwI' (emmissary)
'urwI' (traitor)
baHwI' (gunner)
bochmoHwI' (sycophant, flatterer)
bolwI'(traitor - slang)
chamwI' (technician; obviously a strange construction, but revealing of the 
generalized sense of the typical functionality of {-wI'})
charghwI' (conqueror)
chelwI' (accountant)
chenmoHwI' (creator)
chIjwI' (navigator)
chu'wI' (player of an instrument)
DeghwI' (helmsman; another strange example)
DevwI' (leader)
gharwI' (diplomat)
ghojwI' (student)
ghoqwI' (spy)
HaqwI' (surgeon)
HeSwI' (criminal)
Hew chenmoHwI' (sculptor)
jabwI' (food server, waiter)
jonwI' (engineer)
lotlhwI' (rebel)
maghwI' (traitor)
muchwI' (musician)
mughwI' (translator)
nIHwI' (thief)
nubwI' (predecessor)
qul mI'wI' (fire dancer)
qumwI' (governor)
ra'wI' (commander)
rachwI' (nurse)
SIQwI' (celebrant, recipient)
SuvwI' (warrior)
tebwI' (food server in a Dok'e (fast food restaurant))
tIjwI'ghom (boarding party)
tlhIlwI' (miner)
toy'wI' (servant)
toy'wI''a' (slave)
vu'wi' (manager)
wamwI' (hunter)

It also is used when identifying a tool or object by describing its primary 

chevwI' tlhoy (territorial wall)
chu'wI' (trigger)
De'wI' (computer; another strange example, but fitting of the sense of what {-
wI'} typically does)
DuDwI' (stirring stick)
DuQwI' (spike)
ghItlhwI' (stylus)
ghochwI' (the constellation "Tracker")
Hergh QaywI' (hypo, pneumatic hypo)
HerghwI' (hypo, pneumatic hypo)
HoS choHwI' (transtator)
HotlhwI' (scanner)
joqwI' (flag)
jorwI' (explosive)
lengwI' (rover (grammatical term))
lIghon DuQwI' pogh (glavin, Ligonian Spike Glove)
lIngwI' (generator)
lupwI' (jitney, bus)
mupwI' (hammer)
mupwI'Hom (mallet (for striking a musical instrument)
najmoHwI' (lullaby)
nanwI' (chisel)
nejwI (probe)
ngaDmoHwI' (stabilizer (component of a ship))
nISwI' (disruptor)
nISwI' beH (disruptor rifle)
nISwI' HIch (hand-held disruptor, disruptor pistol)
qanwI' (pinky, little finger)
qaywI' (second finger)
qewwI' (ring finger)
QumwI' (communicator)
rIHwI' (energizer)
rIlwI' (thumb)
SenwI' (thumb)
SIjwI' (type of knife)SIqwI' (index finger, first finger)
So'wI' (cloaking device)
SopwI'pa' (mess hall)
tepqengwI' (cargo carrier, cargo lift)
teywI' (file)
tuj muvwI' (thermo-suture)
woj choHwI' (reactor)
wovmoHwI' (light)

If the verb is a stative verb, then XwI' refers to something that is 
consistently identifiable by its typical sustaining of that state. I was 
surprised at the low number of entries that actually fit this:

pujwI' (weakling)
yoHwI' (brave one)

By this, it seems hardly worth including the "thing which is" part of the 
definition. Might as well just say "one or thing which does" and let these two 
be exceptions.

I believe I've made my point. Anybody still want to argue for putting prefixes 
on verbs with {-wI'}? Anybody still want to try to replace good relative 
clauses with really bad nominalized verbs?

Can we PLEASE get back to the language?
> DloraH

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