tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 25 05:27:38 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

ghunchu'wI' 'utlh (

On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 9:40 PM, Christopher Doty <> wrote:
> Technically, this is an inverse voice construction (syntactically) but
> semantically, it is functioning as a passive.

I thought we already agreed that it is not the same as passive voice.
In many cases, {-lu'} serves the same purpose as does passive voice in
other languages. In some, it does not.

Try this exercise: take a simple sentence in English and translate it
into Klingon. Apply passive voice to the English and try to translate
it into Klingon using {-lu'}. Most of the time you will fail.

"The feather tickles my ear." {qoghwIj qotlh bo.}
"My ear is tickled by the feather." {qoghwIj qotlhlu'...?}

Okay, you can add {bomo'} to the front of the Klingon and come very
close to the same meaning, but I think it loses the essence of the
idea. The feather is performing an action in the English; it is merely
a reason for the action in {bomo' qoghwIj qotlhlu'}.

Now take any verb of quality in Klingon and put {-lu'} on it. Try to
translate it into English using passive voice. Most of the time you
will fail.

{bIr} "he is cold"
{bIrlu'} "...?"

>> I suspect that your
>> understanding of the situation is being misinformed by your trying to
>> apply terms from your linguistic training.
> Dude, stop saying this.  Just because you don't understand something
> doesn't mean that anyone else who says anything about it is
> automatically wrong.  I am not misinformed, and I am not misapplying
> terms.

It is clear that you have read the relevant section of The Klingon
Dictionary. It seems evident that you have read it carefully. However,
you obviously have not gotten from it a proper understanding of what
it says; otherwise you would not have said that {-lu'} turns the
sentence's object into its subject. The easiest way for me to explain
this error is for me to note that the object *does* become the subject
in passive voice constructions, and that someone who knows all about
passive voice might be led astray by its superficial similarity to
what {-lu'} does.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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