[tlhIngan Hol] Thoughts on {-moH}

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Dec 7 04:56:18 PST 2016

On 12/7/2016 12:06 AM, Ed Bailey wrote:
> This is something I puzzled over for quite a while: what role is 
> played by the object of a transitive verb plus *-moH*? In the case of 
> *raS vIyuvmoH*, obviously the table isn't doing the pushing. But in 
> the second example of this type of construction in TKD, *HIQoymoH 
> *<let me hear (something)>, the object is the speaker, who would be 
> the one doing the hearing. So in some cases in which there is only an 
> object without a Type 5 suffix, the object can assume either role 
> unambiguously despite the apparent lack of a fixed grammatical rule to 
> determine it, just as in English one can say both "She teaches French" 
> and "She teaches the children." Of course, since both types of object 
> are frequently required, as in "She teaches the children French," I 
> was delighted when I learned about the *-vaD*/*-moH* construction.

There are more things at work here. The prefix trick teaches us that the 
prefix doesn't always indicate the direct object; something it refers to 
an indirect object. This might be *QoQ HIQoymoH*/cause me to hear the 
music, /in which case the direct object in the object position is 
third-person *QoQ* but the prefix agrees with an unstated indirect 
object, *jIH.*

> But here's a question about *HIQoymoH*: what if you meant to say <let 
> me be heard> instead? Depending on context, couldn't you use the same 
> expression? Alternatively, my first instinct is just to avoid the 
> whole *-moH* problem and say *vIQoylu' 'e' yIchaw'*. Or are there 
> better ways to say <let me be heard>?

Since there is no verb in Klingon that means /be heard,/ you have to 
build the meaning off of *Qoy* /hear./ What does /let me be heard/ mean? 
It means /cause someone to hear me./ *HIQoymoH.* Oops. You can remove 
some ambiguity by making the /someone/ explicit: *vay'vaD HIQoymoH.*

> Here's another question: can*-vaD* always work with *-moH* on a 
> transitive verb to make an unambiguous sentence? Is the noun plus 
> *-vaD* always going to be that which is made to do something, or could 
> it still be the beneficiary of the action, as with *nob*?* To expand 
> on the example from TKD, might you construe *beqvaD HIQoymoH* as <let 
> the crew hear me> or <let me hear for the crew> or both? (My 
> expectation is that a sentence using the *-vaD*/*-moH* construction is 
> likely to be ambiguous out of context, but since it's a known 
> construction, the favored interpretation is that the noun with *-vaD* 
> performs the action of the verb, and that context would make it clear 
> in almost any case.)

It remains ambiguous.

> *Obviously there's no way to add *-moH* to the sentence *torghvaD taj 
> nob matlh* to make Kruge cause Maltz to give Torg the knife. Or is there?

Not that I know of.

*-moH* simply changes the subject from the entity doing the action into 
the entity causing the action to be done. The object changes from 
indicating what the action is done to, to either what the /action/ is 
done to or what the /causing/ is done to. If the sentences has both, 
then what the causing is done to is considered an indirect object and 
given *-vaD.*


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