tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 25 11:14:34 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Christopher Doty (

On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 10:58, ghunchu'wI' 'utlh <> wrote:
> Klingon can of course be analyzed without causing problems. The
> problems occur when someone begins to analyze it and comes to a
> premature conclusion, based on loaded terminology, leading them to
> later misanalyze things.
> We saw that most recently with Christopher's statement that {-lu'}
> turns a verb's patient into the subject. That statement was carefully
> explained so that everyone could follow his reasoning, so I don't
> think it was a typo. He started by positing that {-lu'} acts like
> passive voice (which it undeniably does to some extent), so I think
> it's clear that his error was caused by his understanding of the
> linguistic term "passive".

No, the error was because I misread Okrand.  My understanding of
"passive" is solid, and, frankly, my explication of what Klingon has a
*functional* passive is still totally fine.

telling me that I don't know what I am talking about.  It is 1) rude,
2) wrong, and 3) annoying as all hell (for me, anyway, but I imagine
that the other linguists also on the list might not appreciate the
insinuation that linguists don't know what they are talking about).

> It's harmless when the person doing such analysis already understands
> how to use Klingon grammar and can recognize when the analysis is
> deviating from known usage.

See, this is the problem, though.  I joined this list because I don't
have a giant list of canon I can consult, so I've been asking
questions about things, in the hope that folks (like Voragh) will be
able to comment on what is said in those ephemeral sources that are
not easily accessed.  But these questions are exactly what has gotten
me (and others) talked down to, insulted, etc.

The thing is, there isn't a damn way for me to learn any of this
except to ask.  You can't just expect me to know how something is used
in the canon if it isn't in the published sources and I can't ask

> On the other hand, it can be harmFUL when the person doing it doesn't
> yet recognize the difference between the pronoun {'e'} and the noun
> suffix {-'e'}, or thinks {vIlamHa' choHmoH} has a valid meaning.

Dude, A SPACE. (Also, ""historically,"" these two 'e's were almost
surely the same thing.  Ditto with (-)choH).

> It is only when someone tries to say something about Klingon that
> contradicts The Klingon Dictionary (as amended) that I go into full
> defensive mode.

Well, that's just not true, because I haven't said a single thing that
contradicts what is in TKD (with its amendment), but you've been in
full defensive mode (SHIELDS UP!) forever.

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