tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 23 16:15:29 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Steven Lytle (lytlesw@gmail.com)



I believe it's in KGT that Okrand does in fact discuss ungrammatical
utterances and why they are deliberately used.
lay'tel SIvten
On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 7:07 PM, André Müller <esperantist@gmail.com> wrote:

> 2009/11/23 Christopher Doty <suomichris@gmail.com>
> > *head explodes*
> >
> > On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 02:05, André Müller <esperantist@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > > Sorry to interrupt, Christopher, but the S in this case (S, A, P) does
> > NOT
> > > stand for Subject, but for "Single Argument" (of an intransitive
> clause).
> > > Subject is usually what "S" and "A" are called in accusative
> > constructions
> > > like this one. If Klingon were a language with ergative alignment in
> its
> > > agreement system, you couldn't speak of "Subject", because then it
> > wouldn't
> > > make any sense (ergative languages have no subject, you'd have to speak
> > of
> > > preferred argument alignment or pivot there). Please NEVER EVER use
> > > "subject" in the sense of S(ingle argument)!
> >
> > Dude, the S in S, A, and O comes from Subject.  You can make up a folk
> > etymology that makes more sense, but it comes from subject.  As I said
> > in my previous email, because terms like "subject" can be
> > controversial, often just "S" is used.  Of course subject wouldn't be
> > a valid term if we were talking about an ergative language, but
> > neither Klingon nor English have ergative alignment, so I think we're
> > okay.
> >
>
> "Subject" might have been the origin of the abbreviation "S" in the past,
> but it's highly missleading and every linguist will tell you not to claim S
> stands for "Subject", because this is simply not true. It thus doesn't help
> anyone to call it subject, 'cause it isn't. If you teach linguistics, you
> should know that.
> English and Klingon are languages with accusative alignment, so there it's
> valid and usefull to speak of subject indeed ? but a subject in these kinds
> of languages is {S+A}. I'm absolutely fine with using either "subject" and
> "(direct) object" or S, A and P in Klingon, but please don't make the
> mistake of calling S = subject.
>
>
> > > I'm indeed getting paid to teach linguistics... albeit not here.
> >
> > Me too, buddy.
> >
> > > I dislike the comparison to "we kill robots", because in English we
> have
> > all
> > > the evidence leading to assume that "robots" can only be interpreted as
> > the
> > > direct object (the P, for what it's worth). There's no way it could be
> > the S
> > > of the sentence, together with "we".
> >
> > Why can't it?  Maybe it's just very rare....
> >
>
> Maybe it's because I'm not a native speaker of English, but I can't imagine
> that "robots" in the English sentence "we kill robots" could be the
> subject.
> A better analogy would be "we robots kill", I assume.
>
>
> > > Unless Marc Okrand doesn't state explicitely that sentences like "mapum
> > Sor"
> > > are ungrammatical, we cannot be sure if it is, because negative
> evidence
> > > doesn't imply ungrammaticality. If we, however, find one canon example
> in
> > > the texts, then we might deduce that this is possible.
> >
> > This is kind of a silly argument, though, because Okrand's work
> > doesn't outline ungrammatical possibilities, it outlines grammatical
> > possibilities.  As sentient beings, we ought to be able to work from
> > what is grammatical and figure out what is not.
> >
> >
> Okrand's work doesn't outline ungrammatical possibilities, this means that
> we cannot be sure if a sentence is ungrammatical, unless we're told so by
> Himself. So we can't be sure if using a noun as a 1st person subject is
> valid in Klingon or not... simply because it isn't attested. Any assumption
> in both directions (grammatical or ungrammatical) is merely educated
> guessing.
>
> - André
>
>
>





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