tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Nov 26 21:30:06 2009

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Re: Adverb placement (was Re: The topic marker -'e')

Christopher Doty (

On Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 21:10, ghunchu'wI' <> wrote:
> On Nov 26, 2009, at 1:56 PM, David Trimboli wrote:
>> Again, Okrand has never used an adverbial in the same sentence as
>> {'e'}
>> or {net}, so it's hard to be sure how this works.
> Skybox S26, {lursa' be'etor je}, contains a relevant -- and
> troublesome -- example:
> {DuraS tuq tlhIngan yejquv patlh luDub 'e' reH lunIDtaH DuraS
> be'nI'pu' lurSa' be'etor je.}
> "The sisters of the House of Duras, Lursa and B'Etor, are constantly
> seeking a higher standing for the House of Duras within the Klingon
> High Council."
> Stripped down to its essentials, this is {luDub 'e' reH lunIDtaH}.
> {reH} indeed follows the object pronoun here.  But we also see an
> aspect suffix on the second verb, which TKD says never happens, so
> the example is not obviously using correct grammar.  I choose to
> interpret TKD's "never happens" as prescriptive (or proscriptive, in
> this case), and in the absence of further information I will not
> emulate this contradictory example.
> If {'e' reH} is actually a valid order, its failure to obey the
> standard "adverbials come before objects" rule can be handwaved away
> by pointing to the rule that says objects bearing {-'e'} may come
> before the adverbial and suggesting that either 1) the similarity
> between {'e'} and {-'e'} results in a common error that has become
> standard usage, or 2) {'e'} has always had an implicit "topic"
> meaning that lets it be fronted.

Actually, I was thinking about this earlier, and I think it's a pretty
valid argument.  I wouldn't view it as a mistake because 'e' and -'e'
are similar, though.  If we were to look ""historically,"" we'd likely
find that the sentence-as-object construction has as it's source the
topic marker.  Thus "I want to sleep" started as something like "As
for me sleeping, I want it" and later came to be so common that it
grammaticalized.  This is similar, though not exactly the same, as why
we have "that" used in cases like this in English: I think that I
should go to the store, where the "that" once really referred to "I
should go to the store," but is now just grammaticalized in its
function here.  In the previous discussion about wanting to sleep, I'd
probably prefer <... 'e' DaH vIneH>, especially now that this example
is here.

Still, the aspect thing-y is interesting... Must be thinking about that...

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