tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Oct 03 10:16:13 2009

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Re: The meaning of -moH

Doq (

You started this thread by quoting Okrand in TKD: "Adding this suffix  
to a verb indicates that the subject is causing a change of condition  
or causing a new condition to come into existence."

You shifted the focus from talk of "cause" to talk of changing the  
state of something. Now, you are back to talking about "cause",  
dropping any reference to "change".

My interest is in an unaddressed aspect of what this "cause" means. I  
think it is related to state, as you propose, but I think there's a  
third thing that even Okrand didn't mention. You can cause a change of  
condition, or cause a new condition to come into existence, or you can  
cause a condition to be sustained longer than it would if you were not  
acting as agent toward this end. As such, you are not an agent of  
change of state, while you are still an agent of the support of the  
state. You support stasis. In that case, you neither cause a change of  
state, nor cause a new state to come into existence, and yet, you  
still cause the state to be what it is.

The missing element here is that change can be a state, in and of  
itself, like the relationship between velocity and acceleration. When  
a student learns something, they change the state of their knowledge,  
but the learning itself is something that can change. You can begin to  
learn. You can continue learning. You can stop learning.

The knowledge has a state, like velocity. The learning has a state,  
like acceleration.

A teacher changes the state of the student's knowledge by sustaining  
the state of the student's learning, just as one changes the state of  
velocity by sustaining the state of acceleration.

That's what I meant to suggest. I was ineffective in explaining it,  
however, blathering on a bit too long. I hope this is clearer.


On Oct 2, 2009, at 1:06 PM, David Trimboli wrote:

> 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
> {ghoSmoH}.
>    ghoSchoH
>    begin to go
>    ghoSmoH
>    cause to go
>    change something's condition to the condition of going
>    ghoSchoHmoH
>    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
> this.)
>    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?
> -- 
> SuStel
> tlhIngan Hol MUSH

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