tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Sep 02 08:17:19 2002

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Re: tlhIngan Hol lujatlhbogh puq'e'

>i want to have names for those roles. when i called them "nominative", 
>"accusative" and so on (cases), the idea was not very in. so if "roles" are 
>allowed, then we speak of "subject role", "object role".
>are there any shorter names for "describing another noun role"? "genitive" 
>wouldn't be allowed, as this impies case.

Actually, the term 'genitive' has been used on this list to describe the 
function of the first noun in a noun-noun construction.  To slip into the 
fiction of Klingon for a bit, I suspect that long ago, there was a 
'genitive' syntactic marker, and like the other syntactic markers it was a 
Type 5 suffix.  This would explain why nouns occupying that grammatical role 
can't take Type 5 suffixes - it's a holdover from when those nouns had Type 
5 suffixes of their own.

If I understand correctly, the English construction "the A the B" (as in the 
more the merrier, the bigger the better, etc.) is a holdover from a lost 
case.  This construction really shouldn't mean what it does based on the 
rest of English grammar, but the A term in the construction used to be in 
the instrumental case.

There are also examples in Finnish of words using an older case ending for 
the case which nows ends in -ssa.  This case represents 'in' (more or less). 
  The older ending is -na, which now signifies 'as' (meaning function, as in 
'I work as a programmer').  The word 'kotona', meaning 'at home' is an 
example of this.  Nobody would ever think that 'Olen kotona' means 'I am as 
a home' instead of 'I am at home', but according to modern usage of -na it 

Interestingly, 'in front of' uses the newer variant (edessä), while 'behind' 
uses the older (takana).

This is all conjecture of course (and all in fun of course, since we know 
that MO invented the language), but there is precedent for holdover from 
lost/changed cases.



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