tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Dec 02 16:54:24 2009

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Re: Transitivity of <mev> and <tagh>

Christopher Doty (

On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 16:31, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> Christopher Doty wrote:
>> This is cool!!  It is cool because (probably getting myself in trouble...):
>> All of these examples have <-choH> attached to a verb that describes a
>> state or a quality (often called in linguistics stative verbs).  It
>> might well be that <-choH> marks an entrance into a specific state.
>> The exception to this is for verbs of motion, but since Okrand
>> specific states that <-choH> goes with verbs of motion, I think that's
>> fine.  But where do we not see <-choH>? With verbs that actually
>> describe an action (i.e., active verbs).  Thus, we might expect, with
>> a verb like <HoH> to occur as <jIHoH 'e' vItagh> "I start killing
>> stuff" rather than ??<jIHoHchoH>.
>> Why is this totally cool? Because this distinction is damn near
>> EXACTLY what you get in PNW languages: to start doing something is
>> completely distinct from starting to BE something.
>> I repeat.  COOL!
> Until Okrand starts using <X 'e' vItagh> or something like it, the only
> thing it indicates to me is that Okrand simply hasn't needed to talk
> about starting with verbs of action. Without examples going one way or
> the other, there's no reason to assume anything about {-choH} other than
> what the book says.

Again with going back and forth between going by what the book(s)
say(s) and extrapolating...

You'll also note that I didn't "assume" anything.  I said that "it may
well be," not that is was or wasn't.

What's more, the book actually DOES say what I just outlined: <-choH>
is for changes in states and directions.  <HoH>, e.g., is NOT a state.
 If we're going strictly by what TKD says, you can't put <-choH> on
<HoH>.  My excitement was not so much in what is actually going on in
the examples (which is outlined in TKD), but rather that when Okrand
says "change of state," he is actually using a more formal linguistic
definition, and that, unlike some of the other canon examples, all of
these examples are unambiguously doing just this.

> As for mirroring languages: Klingon was designed to *break*
> natural-language rules. If Okrand felt examples were needed and he had
> this similarity in mind, you can be sure he'd violate the rule.

Well, Klingon is claimed to have been designed to violate the rules of
human languages.  But it doesn't, really.  The phonological system is
probably the closest it comes.  All of the grammatical characteristics
have parallels in natural human language (usually English, but not

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