tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 23 12:45:07 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

ghunchu'wI' 'utlh (

On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 3:20 PM, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> Not all verbs of action have agents. For instance:
>    bom Qoy puq
>    the child hears the song
>       puq = experiencer
>       bom = theme
> To be an agent, the noun must intentionally perform the action...

I don't find this example as compelling as you might expect. {Qoy} is
explicitly an action which one must perform intentionally, as we know
from the commentary for TKW page 31: {'IwlIj ghogh yIQoy.}

> ...You might say, "Ah, well, the
> floogle is obviously the agent of the sentence." Really? What if I told
> you that "argarel" means "be hungry for something"? Suddenly the floogle
> is the experiencer, not the agent. Sure, the subject performs the action
> of the verb upon the object, but that doesn't *mean* anything in the
> real world until the semantics are understood.

That looks like a distinction without a difference. One could as
easily interpret the word as "hunger for something", which seems to
have an active agent as its subject, without changing the meaning.
Labels like "agent" and "patient" appear to have as much cultural
relevance as they do grammatical importance.  Is hunger a force to be
experienced, or an act to be performed?  I don't think it matters in
the slightest in understanding the grammar.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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