tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun May 31 01:08:50 2009

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Re: nuq bach?

Rohan F (

ghItlhpu' qa'vaj, jatlh:
>maj.  These combined with the ST5 line from Voragh make a pretty conclusive
>case for {-Daq}. But it wasn't that {-Daq] is what Klingons use with {bach}
>that I was wanting to be convinced of.
>(from SuStel's comment mainly) I'm left with the impression that if we had
>no canon for {bach}, and didn't know that Klingons use {-Daq}, {-vaD}
>wouldn't work anyway for some reason intrinsic in the definition of {-vaD}.

Yes, I think that's what SuStel was saying too. But in any event, I happen
to agree with him on that point. In TKD, the definition of {-vaD} is, in its

"This suffix [-vaD] indicates that the noun to which it is attached is in
some way the beneficiary of the action, the person or thing FOR whom or FOR
which the activity occurs." (TKD 3.3.5, my emphasis)

In English, the dative (simplistically, "to") is a simpler, more basic
meaning than the benefactive ("for"), and is far more common as well. This
is also the case cross-linguistically. So if Okrand has given the suffix
the basic meaning "for" (which in English is more semantically restrictive
than the dative "to"), and hasn't mentioned the possibility of "to" at all,
it stands to reason that {-vaD} would not, in general, have this meaning.
The fact that sometimes the two overlap (as in Klingon {SoHvaD moQ vInob}
"I give the ball to you", in which the target - the underlying dative
argument - is also the beneficiary) is really a linguistic accident,
rather than saying anything about the fundamental meaning of {-vaD}.

So in short, I think the fact that Okrand mentioned the more restrictive
benefactive meaning of {-vaD} in TKD while neglecting entirely to say
anything about it having a dative meaning implies that, while in some
instances {-vaD} can be *translated* by an English dative, {-vaD} can't
be generalised to all cases of the English dative. YMMV.

QeS 'utlh
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