tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Oct 06 14:25:51 2009

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Re: The meaning of -moH

Brent Kesler ( [KLI Member]

BTW, my descriptions of valency-change in causative constructions are
derived from:

Changing Valency: Case Studies in Transitivity. Ed. by rmw DIXON and
ALEXANDRA Y. AIKHENVALD. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.


On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 2:03 PM, Brent Kesler
<> wrote:
> Once more unto the breach...
> Reading this debate reminds me of valency, the number of arguments a
> verb can have. There are two types of arguments: core arguments, such
> as the object and the subject, and peripheral arguments, which are
> usually marked by a preposition or affix. In Klingon, peripheral
> arguments are marked by -Daq, -vaD, and maybe -'e' (but that's a
> different debate).
> Some verbs are monovalent (one argument):
> 1. tuH yaS
> - The officer is ashamed.
> Other verbs are divalent (two arguments):
> 2. yaS qIp puq
> - The child hits the officer.
> English has some trivalent verbs:
> 3. The child gives the officer a weapon.
> Languages have valency changing constructions. Some constructions are
> valency reducing. Examples in Klingon are {-'egh} and {-chuq}. They
> make a divalent verb monovalent.
> 4. qIp'egh puq.
> - The child hits himself.
> 5. qIpchuq yaS puq je.
> - The officer and the child hit each other.
> Some constructions are valency increasing. They make a monovalent verb
> divalent. {-moH} is valency increasing. It seems to follow the cross
> linguistic pattern for a causative constuction:
> a. Causative applies to an underlying intransitive clause and forms a
> derived transitive.
> b. The argument in underlying S function (the causee) goes into O
> function in the causative.
> c. A new argument (the causer) is introduced, in A function.
> d. There is some explicit formal marking of the causative construction.
> (S being the subject of an intransitive, monovalent verb, O the object
> of a transitive, divalent verb, and A the subject of a transitive,
> divalent verb)
> 6. tuH yaS.
> - The officer is ashamed
> In sentence 6, {yas} is the S argument of {tuH}. Now let's apply {-moH}:
> 7. yaS tuHmoH puq.
> - The child shames the officer. The child causes the officer to be ashamed.
> We've applied the causative to an underlying intransitive to derive a
> transitive (condition a). The underlying S function {yaS} has become
> the O function of the causative (b). The causer has been introduced as
> a new argument in the A function (c). And the causative construction
> is explicitly marked (d).
> The place where we seem to be getting confused are when we try to
> apply {-moH} to a verb that's already divalent. Applying the causative
> construction to a transitive verb is rare cross-linguistically. A
> transitive verb already has A and O arguments; in sentence 8, {wo'rIv}
> is the A argument and {quHDaj} is the O argument:
> 8. quHDaj qaw wo'rIv.
> - Worf remembers his heritage.
> Applying the causative increases the valency by one. So what do we do
> with the original A and O arguments? There are five possibilities:
> (i) New causer becomes the new A, the original A is specially marked,
> and the original O remains the O.
> (ii) New causer becomes the new A, the original A is also marked as
> the A argument in the same way as the new A, and the original O
> remains the O.
> (iii) New causer becomes the new A, the original A is marked as the O,
> and the original O is also marked as the O.
> (iv) New causer becomes the new A, the original A becomes the new O,
> and the original O becomes a peripheral (non-core) argument.
> (v) New causer becomes the new A, the original A becomes a non-core
> argument, and the original O remains the O.
> In sentence 9, Klingon uses option (v).
> 9. wo'rIvvaD quHDaj qawmoH Ha'quj.
> - The sash causes Worf to remember his heritage.
> The new causer {Ha'quj} takes the A slot. {wo'rIv}, the original A,
> has become the non-core {wo'rIvvaD}. The original O {quHDaj} remains
> in the O slot.
> Now let's consider {ghojmoH}. It seems like it can also follow pattern (v):
> 10. puqvaD QeD vIghojmoH.
> - I teach science to the child (I cause the learning of science for the child).
> However, let's say we want to drop one of these arguments. Maybe I
> teach the child something, it doesn't matter what:
> 11. puq vIghojmoH.
> - I teach the child (I cause the child to learn).
> Or I teach science to somebody, it doesn't matter whom:
> 12. QeD vIghojmoH.
> - I teach science (I cause the learning of science).
> The problem with applying the causative to transitive verbs is that we
> end up with three arguments with only two core slots to put them in,
> so we have to resort to a non-core marking, {-vaD}, for one of them.
> But if one of those arguments is unstated, perhaps we can apply either
> pattern (iv), as in sentence 11, or pattern (v), as in sentence 12,
> with the implied {-vaD} argument left unspoken.
> bI'reng

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