tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Dec 06 23:04:19 2007

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Re: Basic grammar question

QeS 'utlh (

ghItlhpu' Qang qu'wI', ja':
>Just a flash of a thought, but I might try to use a general guideline
>that if the 'prefix trick' works in English, I'd favor {-vaD}:

I'd caution you very strongly against such a usage. I don't think you should allow what you would permit in English to influence how you say things in Klingon in any way whatsoever.

>"You give the book to me." <--> "You give me the book."

{paq qanob} jIjatlh jIH.

>"I'll pour a drink for you." <--> "I'll pour you a drink."

Since Klingon lacks a simple word for "drink", here there's no need for either {-vaD} or the prefix trick: {vay' DatlhutlhmeH vIqang} "I'll pour something for you to drink". Naturally you can add either {SoHvaD} or the prefix trick in addition to that, but neither is really necessary.

>"You start the engine for me." <--> "You start me the engine."

Here I'd say either {QuQ choQapchoH} or {jIHvaD QuQ DaQapchoH}. I'd be happy with either one.

>"You explain it to me." <--> "You explain me it."

For this one I'd usually use the prefix trick: {choQIj}.

Of course, what I said is only a tendency that I've developed. Since the dative interpretation of {-vaD} is so ingrained in canon, sometimes it's not really possible to unambiguously differentiate between the "to" and "for" meanings: {SoHvaD vInob} could mean "I gave it to you" or "I gave it for you", and most of the time the "to you" interpretation is what will be understood. It's only in situations like {Qu'vaD taj qanob} "I gave you the knife for the mission" where the interpretation is fairly unambiguous (since Okrand has explicitly said that the "indirect object" - by which I understand him to mean the dative - is what's promoted to direct object position).

QeS 'utlh
tlhIngan Hol yejHaD pab po'wI' / Grammarian of the Klingon Language Institute

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

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