tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jan 28 23:56:18 2002

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RE: I Object!

ja' Lawrence:
>I believe I understand the *intent* here, but the distinction that is being
>made could just as easily be dismissed as disingenous. The main reason, as
>I see it, we can't speak of direct and indirect objects in Klingon is
>because we lack the terminology to so. But otherwise, if it walks like a
>duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it might actually be a Pluvian
>Slug Beast but everyone will know what you mean if you describe it as a


Okay, bear with me as I start twisting things for the sake of argument.
Someone familiar only with the waterfowl of North America sees the Pluvian
Slug Beast waddling and hears it quacking and watches it gliding in for a
landing on a nearby pond, and decides to describe it to someone else by
calling it a duck.  So far, so good -- everyone who knows what a duck is
gets a perfectly clear idea of the beast.

However, Pluvian Slug Beasts bear live young, and they don't migrate.
Calling them ducks leads folks to assume things about them that aren't
true, and misses an important feature about them.  The idea communicated by
the one who decided to call them ducks is perfectly clear but wrong.

Similarly, calling a noun marked with the Klingon suffix {-vaD} an
"indirect object" presents a skewed and incomplete description.  The best
way to describe it, in my opinion, is that the Klingon "beneficiary" suffix
fits well to express what in English is called an indirect object.  The
reverse is not necessarily true, as {-vaD} does not *always* map to an
English indirect object.

(We have the same sort of thing with {-lu'} and passive voice -- they are
not the same, but they both work on certain ideas.)

>For my money, the real question becomes: Does Klingon have circumstances in
>which certain nouns function as indirect objects?

Klingon has cases :-) where certain nouns represent the beneficiary of an
action.  The same idea can usually be expressed in English by placing that
noun in the role of the indirect object.  But I don't think it helps much
to say that the function of the Klingon noun *is* to be the indirect object
of the verb.

-- ghunchu'wI' 'utlh

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