tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Nov 06 16:52:01 2005

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: chenmoH/mojmoH (was Re: Klingon WOTD: cho' (verb))

QeS la' ([email protected])

ja' lay'tel SIvten:
>In English (in fact, everything except Klingon), "be", "become", "seem",
>etc., don't take objects, but rather predicate nominatives, linked with the
>subject by the copula.

Abkhaz uses its adverbial/translative case, and does not use either its 
ergative or absolutive (which are both marked with zero). Not transitive as 
I claimed, but it sure doesn't take a predicate nominative either. 
Unfortunately, the fact that English doesn't use cases on bare nouns, and 
only in some pronouns, makes it a little difficult to illustrate one way or 
the other.

jangpu' ghunchu'wI', ja':
>bo'Dagh'a' Dalo'law'.  I think you're picking a particular
>interpretation of grammar and declaring it "correct"; other
>interpretations are possible.

In addition to that, I still seriously doubt that it is correct for *every* 
Terran language.

>More to the point, what Klingon does *is* the important thing here.

Exactly. I was trying to explain the Klingon forms, not the English ones.

ghItlhtaH lay'tel SIvten:
>"Transitive and "copular" are mutually exclusive.  If it's one, it  can't 
>also be the other.

jangtaH ghunchu'wI':
>That's not how *I* learned it, and it's not supported by a quick web  
>search.  It seems that in American usage, at least, "copular" is a  kind of 
>transitivity.  The page at 
>completehandbook.htm even uses the phrase "Transitive Copular  sentences".

Interesting. Especially considering that in many languages, copular 
constructs, whatever their forms, are nonsensical without a predicate - 
whatever you want to call it, predicative nominative or special form of the 
accusative or whatever. I had interpreted "be" and "become" as transitive 
(as in the sentence "he became a baker") for the following reasons:

- "he" is the subject;
- "a baker" is a core argument that is not demoted by a preposition;
- only subject and direct object nouns may appear in a sentence without a 
- "a baker" is in the object slot in English SVO word order;
- therefore, "a baker" is the direct object;
- only transitive verbs can take direct objects;
- therefore, "be" is transitive.

The argument goes exactly the same way for the Klingon forms. (Older English 
constructions like "it is I" and "a wee little man was he", where the 
pronouns do appear to match for case, seem to have been more or less 
abandoned by the English speech-community at large: "it's me" is just as 
common, and no less acceptable, than "it's I". Description, not 

In short: Thanks to ghunchu'wI''s cited site and a bit more consideration, 
it appears I abandoned my original argument prematurely. And {moj} is 
transitive, with everything that that implies.

QeS la'
taghwI' pabpo' / Beginners' Grammarian

not nItoj Hemey ngo' juppu' ngo' je
(Old roads and old friends will never deceive you)
     - Ubykh Hol vIttlhegh

Access your Hotmail straight from your i-mode mobile

Back to archive top level