tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Nov 22 20:27:08 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Steven Lytle (lytlesw@gmail.com)



I don't see any connection between what I suggested and "We kill robots". In
the first case, there are two subjects (ma- "we", Sor "tree(s)"), and since
they are both subjects, simply equate them; interpret them as meaning the
same thing.
Your example of "We kill robots" is totally different. There is one subject
and one object. There is no justification for equating "we" with "robots".
lay'tel SIvten

On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 10:42 PM, Christopher Doty <suomichris@gmail.com>wrote:

> By this line of logic, the English sentence "We kill robots" might
> actually mean that we are robots who kill (somethings)... I just don't
> see what good it would accomplish trying to parse sentences like this.
>
> On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 18:46, Steven Lytle <lytlesw@gmail.com> wrote:
> > 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
> > pronouns.
> > lay'tel SIvten
> > On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 4:07 PM, Christopher Doty <suomichris@gmail.com
> >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
> >> prefixes.
> >>
> >> Chris
> >>
> >> On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 12:12, Steven Lytle <lytlesw@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> > On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 1:48 PM, Christopher Doty <
> suomichris@gmail.com
> >> >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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