tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Nov 22 12:14:11 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Steven Lytle (

On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 1:48 PM, Christopher Doty <>wrote:
> > "mapum" doesn't mean 'fall'. It means "we fall" (or "we accuse"; "pum" is
> > two different verbs). There is no point in losing information that is
> given
> > in the original just because the translation is odd.
> > In fact, "mapum Sor" could be interpreted as "We trees fall", although
> this
> > use of a noun as subject with a non-third-person prefix is controversial
> at
> > best.
> I think this exactly what Tracy meant in saying that, for
> ungrammatical (or "controversial") sentences, the machine translator
> isn't going to work very well due to ambiguity.  You posit three
> possible interpretations of "mapum (Sor)" because of the ambiguity
> found in an ungrammatical sentence.  There seems little point in
> having an automatic translator that could posit every single possible
> esoteric meaning for anything ungrammatical...
> Chris
But "mapum" is not ungrammatical. It is ambiguous. It can mean "we fall" or
"we accuse", and only context can resolve which is meant. The subject "we"
and the word "Sor" are the only unambiguous parts of the sentence. To omit
one leaves a poor translation.
And controversial doesn't mean ungrammatical.

lay'tel SIvten

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