tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Nov 24 18:03:20 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Christopher Doty (

On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 17:52, David Trimboli <> wrote:
> Klingon doesn't have a passive voice, ...

I'll probably get in trouble for this, too, but I would say that
Klingon does have a passive voice, functionally-speaking.

Functionally, we think of passives as demoting an agent (so that it
leaves the phrase entirely) and promoting a patient to subject.  With
-lu' in Klingon, we see just such a thing: the one doing the action
goes away, and the patient is now the subject.  Now, it's not
completely a passive, since we're still using a transitive verb prefix
(if it were a try passive, we'd expect, e.g., vI- to become jI- with
addition of -lu', instead of staying vI-), but it's certainly doing
much of the work of a passive voice.

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