tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Nov 26 10:41:12 2009

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Re: The topic marker -'e'

Christopher Doty (

On Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 04:15, Mark J. Reed <> wrote:
> The description of {-vaD} may say "intended for", but it also refers
> to the noun to which it is attached as the "beneficiary".  That's
> where the reading "for the benefit of" comes from.  But I don't think
> the difference between those is the significant point here.

I know, but this isn't what "beneficiary" means in linguistics; it
simply means "the recipient of an action."  In a sentence like "I gave
John a kick in the groin," John isn't benefiting, but he's still the
beneficiary... (unless he's into that, and then maybe he is


> It seems clear that {-vaD} is at least primarily an indirect object
> marker, which means it's not at all clear what to do with it outside
> of a sentence.  The few examples we have of such use are just not that
> enlightening.

Like Tracy, I disagree.  The further examples make it pretty clear
that -vaD can be used for anything that anything gets directed

> Yes, but this list is extremely conservative in that regard, and has
> consistently rejected anything novel not coming from Dr. Okrand. So
> it's unlikely you'll find anything new in that sense.
> What you will find is crystallization around grammar that may not be
> explicit in the published materials, but has been fleshed out in
> Usenet conversations, interviews (in HolQeD and elsewhere) and
> personal one-on-one interaction with Dr. Okrand at events like the
> {qep'a'}.  In the majority opinion around here, the author's intent is
> the ultimate authority.

I agree with both your characterization of the list, and the idea that
Okrand is the ultimate authority.  Nonetheless, I have several times
on this been told what to do and not do, without anyone actually being
able to show me anything that says that.

> I suppose it's possible novel features may be creeping in subtly
> because they just feel right in the context of the myriad of
> Okrand-sanctioned ones, but it seems unlikely that absolutely everyone
> would agree with such instantly.  And if everyone didn't agree
> instantly, there would be some argument, and that would eventually
> lead to a cited source or rejection or at best provisional acceptance
> pending word from Maltz. In the latter case the thread itself would be
> citable pending that word.

This is more what I meant.  I don't mean to imply that y'all say down
and decided new stuff, but when a language starts being used and
grammar is missing, speakers come to a consensus without realizing it
or thinking about it.  Someone starts using -vaD in a certain way, and
that person is a respect speaker, so others assume he is right, and
start using is the same way....  And so it goes...


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