tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Dec 04 03:12:37 2007

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Re: prefix trick (was Re: Basic grammar question)

QeS 'utlh (

ghItlhpu' Qang qu'wI', ja':
>That likely explains why I have an instinctive lack of fondness
>for the 'prefix trick' (too much like English).  I've pretty much
>adopted a philosophy of not using it.
That's entirely your prerogative. For my part, I take the opposite route. The prefix trick may have arisen from an inadvertent Englishism on Okrand's part, but in my Klingon I've chosen to let the prefix trick be possible for *any* {-vaD} object, whether it's functioning as a dative or not, and for any verb, often surfacing in casual or informal contexts. I've used things in Klingon like {DujwIj HItI'} "repair my ship for me" that would sound peculiar at best if phrased the same way in English (would you ever accept the English sentence "repair me my ship"?) In this way, I've chosen to take the few examples of the Englishism and exploit it in Klingon, but in a manner altogether unlike English.
(Aside: I made that choice consciously, based solely upon the Klingon evidence, a couple of years ago. To my chagrin, I later discovered while studying Wari', a Chapakuran language of Brazil, that Wari' permits promotion of pronominal benefactive objects - the exact equivalent of {-vaD}-marked nouns in Klingon - to grammatical direct object in just such contexts. Coincidentally, Wari' is also a subject-final language.)
Obviously, it's important to remember that Okrand has not only used the prefix trick more than once in canon sentences, but has actually explicitly discussed its workings, meaning that it's still technically acceptable Klingon whether you like it or whether you don't. But naturally, the fact that you can circumvent the issue neatly by just using a {-vaD} object means that in your own Klingon you're entirely free to not use the prefix trick if you don't like it.
(I won't respond to what you say about the {maleng qorDu'} bit, simply because as you point out, it's more of a philosophical discussion, and I don't think there's much more I can contribute anyway.)
QeS 'utlhtlhIngan Hol yejHaD pab po'wI' / Grammarian of the Klingon Language Institutenot nItoj Hemey ngo' juppu' ngo' je(Old roads and old friends will never deceive you)- Ubykh Hol vIttlhegh
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