tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Nov 22 18:47:51 2009
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Re: The topic marker -'e'
Steven Lytle (email@example.com)
I disagree on both counts.
"Sor" can be plural, so it can mean 'trees'.
The subject of "mapum" is 'we'. Thus in "mapum Sor" the subject "Sor" is
also the subject "we", hence "we trees". While this is controversial, it's
not necessarily ungrammatical. It* is* definitely not canonical.
Transitive verbs can take the no-object prefixes. So even though transitive
"pum" means 'accuse', it can still have no object mentioned and form verbs
like "mapum", "jIpum", etc.
It's the intransitive verb "pum" that can't take (as far as we know) object
On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 4:07 PM, Christopher Doty <firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:
> "mapum" might not be ungrammatical, but what is "mapum Sor"?? If we
> translate literally into English, we get
> "(A/the) tree we fall."
> What does that mean? How can you write a computer program to provide
> a translation of something that doesn't really mean anything?
> I also disagree with "mapum" being ambiguous. The verb "fall" is
> intransitive, and the verb "accuse" is transitive. If we see a "ma-"
> prefixed to "pum," then that "pum" is the verb "fall" and not the verb
> "accuse," which needs an object, and so ought to have different
> On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 12:12, Steven Lytle <email@example.com> wrote:
> > On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 1:48 PM, Christopher Doty <firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> > "mapum" doesn't mean 'fall'. It means "we fall" (or "we accuse"; "pum"
> >> > 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
> >> 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"
> > "we accuse", and only context can resolve which is meant. The subject
> > and the word "Sor" are the only unambiguous parts of the sentence. To
> > one leaves a poor translation.
> > And controversial doesn't mean ungrammatical.
> > lay'tel SIvten