tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Dec 11 17:57:41 2007

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Re: Basic grammar question

Doq (

Your explanation is interesting. I respect your perspective.

On Dec 10, 2007, at 9:19 AM, QeS 'utlh wrote:

> jIjatlhtaH:
>> "You explain it to me." <--> "You explain me it."
>> For this one I'd usually use the prefix trick: {choQIj}.
> mujang Doq, ja':
>> This sounds like, "You explain me." The prefix trick doesn't work  
>> unless
>> the prefix disagrees with the person of the direct object, and in  
>> this
>> case, there is no direct object to disagree with. Maybe if you  
>> said, {'oH
>> choQIj}, it would work.
> In the MSN post where Okrand first explicitly discusses the prefix  
> trick, he gives three examples of the prefix trick used on {jatlh}  
> with no explicit direct object to be seen, clearly permitting the  
> use of the prefix trick on verbs without an explicit direct object,  
> and further clarifies:
> "Since the object of jatlh is that which is spoken, and since "you"  
> or "I" or "we" cannot be spoken (and therefore cannot be the object  
> of the verb), if the verb is used with a pronominal prefix  
> indicating a first- or second-person object, that first or second  
> person is the indirect object. Which is a not very elegant way of  
> saying that qajatlh means "I speak to you" or, more literally,  
> perhaps "I speak it to you," where "it" is a language or a speech  
> or whatever." (Okrand to MSN newsgroup, 29 June 1997)
> This implies that not only is {choQIj} acceptable for "I explain it  
> to you", but that the translation *with* the implied object ("I  
> explain it to you") is probably an even better translation of the  
> Klingon than the one without ("I explain to you"). Obviously the  
> prefix trick implies that {'oH choQIj} is perfectly acceptable as  
> well. However, ni such a sentence I'd be tempted to interpret the  
> pronoun as serving in an emphatic function, in the same way as it  
> would be were the second person pronoun to be moved back to its  
> header position: {SoHvaD 'oH vIQIj} "I explain *it* (and not  
> something else) to you".

I did not remember this example. Thanks for offering it. I think  
{choQIj} is a bit less obvious, since a person is not something that  
can be spoken, but perhaps might be something that can be explained.  
We have not been given an explanation for potential direct objects of  
{QIj} like we have {jatlh}.

But, saying it is less obvious is not the same thing as saying that  
it is outright wrong. Vague, ambiguous speech is not necessarily  
ungrammatical or misleading.

> jIjatlhtaH:
>> 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).
> mujangtaH Doq, ja':
>> So, could you also say that as {SoHDaq Qu'vaD taj vInob} or
>> {ghoplIjDaq Qu'vaD ret'aq vInob}?
> I wouldn't generally use {-Daq} in either of these, but that  
> doesn't mean it would necessarily be ungrammatical, since the act  
> of giving can be construed as a change in location as well as in  
> possession (to take a verb with a similar sense, I would have no  
> compunction about saying {SoHDaq Qu'vaD taj vIngeH} "I send the  
> knife to you for the mission"). The fact that {-Daq} can have an  
> allative (= motion towards) sense might allow it to serve in this  
> way here. Nonetheless, canon does show that the indirect object of  
> {nob} is usually marked with {-vaD}, so to follow the canon as  
> closely as possible I'd probably say {SoHvaD Qu'vaD taj vInob},  
> which has some ambiguity but which should readily be resolved by  
> referring to the semantics (who would ever read it as "I gave the  
> knife to the mission for you" except in very limited contexts?).
> Your second sentence sounds a bit weird, but mainly because of the  
> use of {nob} where something like {lan} "to place, to put" might  
> make the sentence flow better: {ghoplIjDaq Qu'vaD ret'aq vIlan} "I  
> put the knife in your hand for the mission".

chomonmoH. mu'tlheghlIj vIparHa'qu'. mu'tlheghwIj vIqelDI',  
mu'tlheghlIj vImaS.

> However, I won't come right out and say that either of the  
> sentences you give is invalid, because in this specific instance  
> they might work. I find them unusual, but I'm not sure they're  
> ungrammatical. Other opinions on this would be welcomed.
> -----
> QeS 'utlh
> tlhIngan Hol yejHaD pab po'wI' / Grammarian of the Klingon Language  
> Institute


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