tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Jun 13 15:28:18 2002

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Re: Headers. Yet again.

> From: "Dr. Jeremy DM Cowan" <>
> > From: SuStel
> > >Not all nouns with Type 5 suffixes are something
> > >other than subject or object
> >
> > peHruS stated from the beginning that -'e' was an exception in this
> > discussion... Could you please provide
> > an example of a non-'e' type 5 suffix being used as something that is
> > "not other than subject or object."
> bIQtIqDaq vIjaH.

This is a special exception, it is noted as one and you know it. It only works 
with a small, specific list of verbs and it only works because for those verbs 
of motion, the locative is also the direct object. You can't use {-Daq} as a 
subject, even in this case, and you can't use {-Daq} on the direct object of 
verbs that are not in this special class of verbs of motion.

It does nothing to reinforce your point that in theory, you can use Type 5 
suffixes on nouns while they are the subject or object of a main verb. There 
are explicit exceptions for the suffix {-'e'} and there's an exception for 
these verbs of motion with {-Daq} and {-vo'} and that's it. The rest of the 
time, if you see a noun with a Type 5 suffix, it comes before the direct 
object. We all know that.

So give us an example that doesn't depend on one of these well noted exceptions 
to the rule. Give us something that can convince us that the rule doesn't 
really hold; that it's not just the {-'e'} exception and the verbs-of-motion 
exception, but that the rule itself does not hold strongly enough to be a 
functional, descriptive rule of how the grammar works.

> This has a different meaning than
> bIQtIqDaq jIjaH.
> In the first case, it means "I go to the river."  The second means "I go in
> the river, I travel in the river."  (HolQeD Vol. 7 No. 4 p. 8)  In the first
> sentence /bIQtIqDaq/ is the object of the verb.  In the second it is not.
> Yes, I'm mostly (but not entirely, as demonstrated above) talking about a
> theoretical possibility rather than a practical one, so when using the
> language in a practical way, feel free not to worry about it.  But when
> talking theoretically, or when telling someone "This is why things are the
> way they are," is it really fair to simply tell just enough to make it work?
> Do we not want to understand the concepts? 

When you teach newcomers, you teach them the most dependable generalities about 
the language and as they learn more, you introduce the common exceptions to 
those "rules". As they learn more, you introduce them to the more rare 
exceptions. If they get that far, you can then start theorizing about how other 
exceptions might exist, even though there's no evidence for it. You don't 
confuse newcomers by immediately insisting that they consider the theoretical 
possibility that a particular rule might have exceptions to it that no one has 
ever seen in canon.

That's just a bad approach. It makes things look more complicated than they are 
at a time when the simpler things look, the quicker people can learn. Do you 
really want new people asking of every new verb they encounter, "Is this a verb 
that can take a subject or object with a Type 5 suffix other than {-'e'}? Do 
you really think that would expedite their learning of the language?

That's like having new drivers come to a complete stop at ever intersection and 
get out of the car to walk over to the corner residence, knock on the door and 
ask the person living there if there is a stop sign on that corner. Stop signs 
are exceptions to the rule that you can drive through an intersection without 
stopping. Learn where to recognize stop signs and stop there, but don't stop at 
ever intersection of every street.

Don't ask yourself for every verb you meet, "Can this verb take a subject or 
object with a Type 5 noun suffix other than {-'e'}?" Realize that there is a 
general rule that answers that question for you. It's got a few {-'e'} related 
exceptions and it has one exception for {-Daq} and {-vo'} for a few verbs of 
motion. That's it. The rest of the time is clear sailing.

> If you take the time to ponder
> the idea, then the exceptions of the "verbs of motion" do not seem quite so
> surprising and out of kilter with the rest of the language. 

The verbs of motion simply ARE surprising and out of kilter with the rest of 
the language. It's okay for them to be that way. They are such a small part of 
the vocabulary that it's okay to learn them as an exception, since they are, 
after all, exceptional. If you don't learn them as exceptions, then you'll try 
to use {-Daq} on direct objects of other verbs, and you'll be wrong.

> If it's a
> property of the VERB that tells whether objects (or subjects) with Type 5
> noun suffixes can be used, rather than a blanket restriction imposed by the
> grammar, then the verbs of motion make perfect sense: they are the verbs
> whose allowed objects include nouns with /-Daq/ or /-vo'/ on them, and no
> rules have been broken.

If there were other verbs known to violate this dependable rule with other Type 
5 suffixes, this perspective might make sense, but since these verbs of motion 
are the ONLY verbs to use any Type 5 suffix (besides {-'e'}) on their direct 
object, that makes them pretty much exceptional. It's fair to say that there is 
a consistent, dependable rule, and this one class of a dozen or so verbs breaks 
the rule as a special case.

But hey, it's a free country. Believe what you like. It would be really nice if 
you didn't confuse others in the process, but you do have the right to do that, 
too, I suppose.

> SuStel
> Stardate 2447.5


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