tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Dec 16 09:07:15 2007

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Re: jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe'

David Trimboli ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

QeS 'utlh wrote:
>> Note that in my terminology, the final noun of a copula is *not* a 
>> subject; it is only a topic. The copula has a syntax all its own
>> that is not Object-Verb-Subject; it is Copulative-Pronoun-Topic.
> So you contend that {-'e'} in the copulative structure is acting in
> its topic/comment function (the function in which it ordinarily seems
> to become a header) rather than in its focus function (in which nouns
> remain in situ)?

I'm not convinced that the functions of topic and focus are entirely 
distinct in Klingon. Certainly Okrand got the terms confused, and 
accepted a proposed correction. (I've always felt his attitude in the 
interview in which is accepted the correction was one of "Oh, if you say 
so," not "Yes, that's certainly what I meant.")

While the only semantic role available to a noun with {-'e'} that 
appears in the header is that of topic, I see no reason to believe that 
such a noun as subject or object cannot be either topic or focus, or 
even both at the same time.

    HoD qIp puq'e'

The conventional translation of this would use focus: "The CHILD (not 
someone else) hit the captain." But there's no reason why one couldn't 
see the same sentence as using topic: "As for the child, he hit the 
captain." Either meaning fits the given sentence, and there is no way to 
distinguish between them unless you introduce an arbitrary rule. ("If a 
noun with {-'e'} is subject or object it has focus and is not topic; 
otherwise it is the topic and does not have focus.") Context will help 
distinguish these roles.

So while I call the "topic" of the copula by that name, that doesn't 
necessarily mean I think it's definitely topic and definitely not focus. 
I just don't see enough distinction between these in Klingon to worry 
about the difference. In a copula the topic is part of the structure; if 
a word appears in that role it MUST end with {-'e'}.

I do believe the topical nature of the position is primary. The 
illustrative translations of copulas in TKD bear this out.

To sum it up: {-'e'} is {-'e'}, and WE'RE the ones splitting it into 
different roles. That may not be appropriate.

Stardate 7958.1

Practice the Klingon language on the tlhIngan Hol MUSH.

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