tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jan 01 16:46:05 2002

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Re: QAO?! question as antecedent of 'e'!!

From: "Agnieszka Solska" <>

> Hey, isn't the label "question-as-object" a misnomer?
> In fact, it seems that even the label "statement-as-object"
> is often misused.

Okrand uses the term "sentence as object" to refer to using the pronoun
/'e'/, so "question as object" is no more of a misnomer than Okrand's own
term.  /'e'/ is the object, and it is not a sentence.  But it stands in for

> (3) qatlh yaHlIj Dalon 'e' luSovbe'
>     literally: Why did/do you abandon your station?;
>                They don't know that.
> Likewise, in (3), whose grammaticality is often disputed,
> we have a grammatically complete question {qatlh yaHlIj Dalon}, followed
> another *complete* sentence {'e' luSovbe'}.
> The object of that sentence is the pronoun 'e'.
> Although {qatlh yaHlIj Dalon} is the antecedent of 'e',
> it is not part of {'e' luSovbe'}. What could it be?
> It is not an adverb, it is not a header noun and
> most emphatically it is NOT an object. The object is {'e'}.

It is another sentence.  It is not part of the sentence structure of the
second sentence.

> So, the problem is not whether questions can be used
> as objects of sentences: they cannot.

Oh?  If we were to accept the grammaticality of your sentence (3), then we'd
also have to accept the grammaticality of this:

qatlh yaHlIj Dalon vIneH.

It doesn't make any sense, but it follows all of the known rules in the
book.  Is it a question?  Is it a statement?  Notice that the object IS the
question, not /'e'/.

Why, why, WHY do people want to have questions as the object?  Do you not
see how impossible it makes things?

> The problem is what kind of construct can the pronoun 'e'
> refer to: only to statements or to other sentence types
> as well, i.e. to questions and orders.

In my opinion, you're nitpicking the terminology.  The same problem remains.

> I realize that many may object to my next example, but
> couldn't (4) be used to call a reluctant crewman to order?
> (4) yaHlIj yIlon 'e' vIra' jIH'e', HoDlI'.
>     literally: Abandon your station!
>                I, your captain, order that.

No.  /ra'/ seems to take the person being ordered as the object, as in
/qara'DI'/.  (It COULD be the dreaded prefix trick at work here though.)
The object is not a command, it's supposed to be a person.

And even if it were allowed to be the command, it still doesn't work.  You'd
have to say */yaHlIj Dalon 'e' vIra'/ "I command that you abandon your duty

It's not the grammar that we can deal with here.  All the grammar says is
that /'e'/ stands in for a sentence, and since questions and commands are
sentences, the conclusion some come to is that questions as objects must be
allowed.  Why would someone refuse to use a Type 5 suffix on a subject noun
(besides /'e'/) and still use a question as an object?  Both are allowed by
the rules, but very few ever try to claim that, for instance, locative nouns
can be used as subjects.  Why?  Because they want Klingon to mimic what they
do in English, or related languages.  I can say "I don't know if you
abandoned your duty station" in English, so people desperately a parallel
construction in Klingon.  Why can't there just not be one?

By the way, the obvious way to state your sentence (4) is just by /yaHlIj
yIlon!/  But if you really want to announce who is giving the order, do

qara' jIH, HoDlI'; jIjatlh yaHlIj yIlon.
Literally: "I, your captain, order you.  I say 'Abandon your duty station.'"

I get the feeling that this whole thing is being argued about once again
simply because people feel like arguing about it.  Everyone denies actually
WANTING to use questions as objects, but then they see there's no written
rule against it, and they dance and caper around, point, and chuckle, "Ha
ha!  Lookie, lookie!  I can use a question as object and you can't say I'm
wrong!  Hoo hoo!"

Would everyone who wants the believe questions as objects are legitimate
please raise their hands?

Stardate 2003.8

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