tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 25 16:00:56 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

David Trimboli ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

ghunchu'wI' wrote:

> {-lu'} is an indication that the subject is indefinite or unknown.   
> That's *all* it is.  It does not turn objects into subjects.  It does  
> not turn patients into agents.  It does not turn an active verb into  
> a passive one.

Despite the poor conduct, he is almost entirely correct. There is one 
special fact about {-lu'}, though: it requires using the verb prefixes 
in an unusual way. Mixed-up prefixes do not, however, equal mixed up 
arguments to the verb.

    (jIH) cholegh (SoH)
    you see me

    (jIH) vIleghlu'
    I am seen
    one sees me
    (There is no way, in this basic sentence, to indicate that YOU see

In both cases, {jIH} is both the object and the patient/theme (depending 
on your linguistic upbringing). In going from one to the other, the 
subject vanishes (it does not get demoted to a complement—one of the 
requirements of passive voice) and the object remains the same (it does 
not get promoted to subject—another requirement of passive voice). This 
is not a passive.

This is also not antipassive voice. In antipassive voice, the object 
vanishes or gets demoted; this does not happen here.

I just found something interesting on Wikipedia: fourth person in 
Baltic-Finnish languages:
These languages have a "common person" which is formed by simply leaving 
out the agent. This sounds very much like Klingon {-lu'}.

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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