tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Nov 24 17:33:22 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: The topic marker -'e'

Christopher Doty (

>> It's not circular.  Okrand makes it very clear that Klingon has three
>> types of verbs: quality/condition verbs, which can be used as
>> adjectives, and other verbs, which cannot.
> The third type of verb is far from clear.  You didn't list it,

Typo. I meant two.

> but I
> assume you're talking about the non-quality verbs which never have
> objects?  It's so subtle and unobvious that the person generally
> recognized as the first fluent speaker of Klingon, bearing the title
> of Grammarian, missed it entirely for at least a decade, and perhaps
> still doesn't believe in it.

Being fluent in a language doesn't mean that you know and can
explicate every aspect of the grammar.  In fact, fluent speakers
without training usually make HORRIBLE language teachers, because they
just assume everything is obvious.  What types of verbs does English
have, and what is the evidence for each of them?  This isn't something
that you can answer just because you are a fluent speaker.

> But we've switched from talking about nouns to talking about verbs.
> That doesn't help me with the troubling issue of giving different
> labels to nouns which don't act differently.

We haven't switched, you split my argument in half.  It is the
behavior of the verbs that points to the different subjects.

>> This is relevant to
>> understanding how these verbs are used in different ways.  It relates
>> to the subject in that, with verbs of quality, you can have a pronoun
>> followed by an adjectival verb (jIH Do' as in the comparative
>> construction),
> If you're talking about the {jIH Do' law' SoH Do' puS} example, {jIH
> Do'} isn't a pronoun followed by an adjectival verb.  {jIH} is the
> "A" noun and {Do'} is the "Q" verb in the "A Q law' B Q puS"
> formula.  You can't literally interpret it as "many fortunate me, few
> fortunate you".
>> whereas you presumably can't with active verbs, since
>> you can't postpose the active verbs.  Thus, the subjects of
>> quality/condition verbs and active verbs are different.
> Verbs used to modify a noun in the manner of an adjective don't have
> subjects, so I'm not getting the relevance.  I don't see the link
> between "you can use some verbs one way and not others" and "these
> verbs have different kinds of subjects".  And even if there are
> different kinds of subjects, I *still* don't see what difference it
> makes in actual practice, as the proposed subjects all act the same.

I really am tired of explaining it.  If you don't think it's relevant,
don't worry about it.  I'm not even sure how we got to experiencer
subjects and the like.  The original discussion was, I think, about
S's and A's, and these ARE different: intransitive verbs take S
prefixes, and transitive verbs take A/O prefixes, so the distinction
between S and A is important.

Back to archive top level