[tlhIngan Hol] -meH nouns

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Aug 30 08:58:26 PDT 2017

On 8/30/2017 11:24 AM, Lieven wrote:
> Which nouns make sense in a {[verb]meH [noun]} phrase?
> In a discussion in Facebook, someone asked to translate "Tell me why 
> you did that" and I suggested {DamaghmeH meqlIj yIDel} "describe your 
> reason for betraying him".
> Somebody corrected me that the noun in such a phrase should be some 
> kind of tool, as in {pe'meH taj} and {ja'chuqmeH rojHom}.
> Is there any evidence for or against any of this?
> I feel that {maghmeH meq} sounds reasonable (no pun intended) but 
> others don't. 

Most of our examples seem to follow the pattern that purpose clauses 
attached to nouns are theoretically infinitive—they don't have subjects 
or prefixes—while purpose clauses attached to verbs are finite.

So, *ja'chuqmeH rojHom*/truce to confer,/ but *maja'chuqmeH maghom*/we 
meet to confer./

I believe there are counterexamples, so take that with a grain of salt, 
but I think that's the basic idea.

As for *maghmeH meq,* I don't like it because your motive doesn't have 
the purpose of betraying; your motive leads to betraying. In *ja'chuqmeH 
rojHom* the purpose of the truce is conferring. In *pe'meH taj,* the 
purpose of the knife is cutting. *-meH* on a noun describes the mission 
of that noun. The mission of your motive is not to betray; the /cause/ 
of your betrayal is your motive.

I wouldn't translate /tell me why you did that!/ so literally. I'd just 
say *qatlh Data'pu'? */why did you do it?/ If the original action done 
were specified /(tell me why you betrayed him!),/ I'd use a better verb: 
*qatlh Damaghpu'?*/why did you betray him?/ If I absolutely had to 
include the /tell me!/ part, I'd just add a *HIja'!* at the end of it 
or, if I don't want it to be confused with /yes,/ I'd say *jIHvaD 
yIja'!* And if it truly, unfairly had to be a single sentence about 
telling, I'd say *jIHvaD maghpu'ghach meq yIja'*/tell me your betrayal 
motive!/ And if you insisted that, nononono, not just betrayal but 
betraying /him,/ I'd say go away, I'm done.


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