tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Oct 05 16:30:35 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

The prefix trick without direct objects

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

Doq wrote:
> I'm not sure we've ever seen the prefix trick used without an explicit  
> third-person direct object. The whole thing that makes the prefix  
> trick work for me is the obvious mismatch between the prefix and the  
> explicit direct object.
> It may be that the prefix works just as well without the presence of a  
> direct object, but I've never noticed a case of this.

It does. When Okrand introduced what I later called the "prefix trick," 
he was answering the question, "Does {qajatlh} mean anything?" Okrand 
said the object of {jatlh} is the thing spoken, but then he showed us 
the prefix trick, including these examples:

     qajatlh "I speak to you"

     Sajatlh "I speak to you [plural]"

     chojatlh "you speak to me"

He also defined the prefix trick: "When the indirect object (in this 
case, the hearer) is first or second person, the pronominal prefix which 
normally indicates first or second person object may be used."

Unlike English, Klingon is allowed to have an indirect object (any noun 
in the sentence that is not the subject or direct object and is somehow 
affected by the action, usually as beneficiary or recipient) without 
also having a direct object. But English likes to turn indirect objects 
into prepositional objects, so the rules defining an indirect object in 
English have an additional requirement: that the noun not be part of a 
prepositional phrase.

He never says so, but technically his explanation would also allow 
phrases like {SoHvaD tlhIngan Hol qajatlh} "I speak Klingon to you." I 
don't think this is the intention, though; I think the prefix trick is 
only meant to completely elide the indirect object.

tlhIngan Hol MUSH

Back to archive top level