tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Oct 02 10:08:19 2009

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Re: The meaning of -moH

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

Doq wrote:
> I respect the depth with which you guys have explored the grammar  
> surrounding {-moH}. I wonder if Okrand has actually gone that deep,  
> and we are just discovering it, or if we are discovering patterns that  
> he didn't think about, but followed subconsciously or accidentally, or  
> if we are discovering patterns that ultimately canon will prove were  
> not accurate.

As a matter of fact, my premise is that we have been using 
self-manufactured analyses all along, and what I brought up is an 
attempt to get back to what Okrand actually wrote, instead of any 
construct of our own.

 > I like this new focus on {-moH}, though I see a bit of a problem with
 > focusing on the word "CHANGE of state", rather than more heavily
 > weighing it as "change or creation of STATE". If the "change" aspect
 > of the meaning were all that important, then why would we ever combine
 > {-choHmoH}? The {-choH} would already be implied, right? But there it
 > is, in your example: {maghoSchoHmoH}.

The {-choH} applies to the meaning of {ghoS}, not to the meaning of 

    begin to go

    cause to go
    change something's condition to the condition of going

    cause to begin to go
    change something's condition to the condition of beginning to go

It doesn't mean "begin to cause to go"; the -choH applies to the verb, 
not to another suffix.

 > If you are right, then the grammar here is really interesting. What is
 > happening is that the subject is the agent of causation and the direct
 > object is the object of the root verb, leaving a hole in the grammar
 > where the subject of the root verb would go. "I teach science" becomes
 > "I cause one to learn science." I am the agent of the state of
 > learning science. I am not necessarily the agent of the CHANGE to the
 > state of learning science, or even as Okrand explained it, the
 > creation of the state of learning science. I'm the agent of the state
 > of learning of science.

You're mixing up your syntax and semantics. There is no "subject of the 
root verb" distinct from the conjugated verb. What you're calling the 
"subject of the root verb" is a semantic role: the child being taught 
science is the patient; he is being acted upon by the teacher. The 
sentence is not about a child learning science, the sentence is about 
someone teaching the child science. When you pull out the part about the 
child learning science, you're dealing with an entirely different sentence.

 > Maybe the student had already been learning science from someone else
 > and then they come to me and I just keep on causing them to keep on
 > learning science. I could continue to cause the learning of science
 > for years, day after day. No change. Just sustained state.
 > {jIghojmoHtaH.}

I didn't place such a heavy emphasis on "change" that you're doing here, 
and I don't think it's warranted. "Cause" is the key word, which is why 
Okrand translates {-moH} as "cause." {jIghojmoHtaH} means "I cause 
continuous {ghoj}ing." {QeD vIghojmoHtaH} means "I cause continuous 
{ghoj}ing of {QeD}."

 > Your new inspection of {-moH} helps with the otherwise vague
 > definition of {tuQ}, {tuQHa'moH} and {tuQmoH}. Is the parenthetical
 > "(clothes)" in these definitions a placeholder for clothing that can
 > appear as a direct object of the root verb, or is clothing so much
 > implied that the root verb is intransitive? Probably, it is a guide to
 > an appropriate direct object.

I agree: in most cases it does not include the object in its meaning; it 
is there to tell you what an appropriate kind of object the verb takes, 
usually because the English translation could be ambiguous. ("Wear" 
could mean "wear down" or "wear clothes." Okrand wanted to disambiguate 

    yIvbeH vItuQ
    I wear the tunic.

    yIvbeH vItuQmoH
    I cause (someone) to wear the tunic

    puqvaD yIvbeH vItuQmoH
    I cause the child to wear the tunic
    I cause-to-wear the tunic, and the child is the beneficiary
    I put the tunic on the child

    puqvaD yIvbeH vItuQHa'moH
    I cause-to-unwear the tunic, and the child is the beneficiary
    I take the tunic off the child

 > Meanwhile, {tuQHa'moH} and {tuQmoH} don't tell you whether you are
 > dressing or undressing yourself, or someone else. If there's a hole in
 > the grammar where the one in the process of acquiring the clothes onto
 > their person would go, then it is appropriate to be vague about this.
 > So, would {jItuQHa''eghmoH} mean that I undress myself, and
 > {be'nalwI'vaD jItuQHa'moH} mean that I'm undressing my wife? If so, we
 > just did something odd with the grammar. If the second example is
 > correct, then the first example should be {jIHvaD jItuQHa'moH.} Any
 > version of {jItuQHa''eghmoH} would be gibberish, since it would imply
 > that I am clothing, just as science is the thing being learned in the
 > earlier example.

I think {jItuQHa''eghmoH} would be incorrect, because you're not 
unwearing yourself, you're unwearing your clothes. It would have to be 
{jIHvaD jItuQHa'moH}, unless ghunchu'wI''s hypothesis is correct and the 
beneficiary can shift into the object position if there is no other 
object. I'm still not convinced on that point, though: I think a verb is 
never syntactically restricted from having an object; it is only 
restricted semantically from having one, and a verb with {-moH} has a 
semantic reason to have an object.

We have one sentence, {ghaHvaD quHDaj qawmoH}, which supports either 
argument (my god, I never thought I'd be pleased with that sentence). If 
there is a canonical sentence of the form {puq ghojmoH yaS} my 
hypothesis would be in doubt. Is there one?

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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