[tlhIngan Hol] -lu'wI' (was: Rendered fat)

Rhona Fenwick qeslagh at hotmail.com
Sat Feb 18 05:09:14 PST 2017

ghItlhpu' Anthony, jatlh:

> Computer-analyzing the 4 verb forms

> translating "wIlegh   wIleghlu'   nulegh   nuleghlu'":-

Relying on the raw output of a computer analysis is problematic at best. We already know that *{nuleghlu'} is (probably) not possible following TKD p. 38-39, which states explicitly that the pronominal prefixes used with {-lu'} are {vI-}, {Da-}, {wI-}, and {bo-}. when a first- or second-person object is meant.

(poD poj)

> But TKD says as a special rule that (2) means "one sees us", "we are
> seen", and says nothing directly about (4).

Not quite. I think you would be well served to read TKD again on the topic.

> This reminds me of what happens in Celtic (where -r means "indefinite
> subject") compared to what happens in Latin (where "videmus" = "we
> see" and "videmur" means "we are seen".) In Latin, adding the "-r"
> makes the "-mus" change from specifying the one who sees to
> specifying the one who is seen, and that tense is called a passive, with
> "we" in subject position but meaning the one who is seen.

The difference is that the object of the Latin active verb is promoted to subject syntactically. Compare the following examples, where the active form has "boy" in the accusative case, and the passive has it in the nominative: /videt puerum/ "it sees the boy", but /puer vidētur/ "the boy is seen". In Klingon, by contrast, the object remains the object syntactically. In {to'baj 'uS lughoDlu'bogh} "stuffed tobbaj legs", if {-lu'} were a genuine passive marker, we would expect *{lughoDlu'bogh to'baj 'uS} (since Klingon doesn't mark subject and object by morphology, but by syntax). But that's not what we see.

Also, I think you're a little confused on the Celtic "indefinite subject", which doesn't relate to the Klingon construction at all. The indefinite subject in Celtic is entirely different, and is rather a means of marking nominal definiteness on the verb. It doesn't restrict the ability of a verb to *take* a syntactic subject (compare Welsh /mae ci mawr yn yr ardd/ "a big dog is in the garden", but /mae'r ci mawr yn yr ardd/ "the big dog is in the garden" - both would be equally rendered as {Du'HomDaq 'oHtaH Ha'DIbaH tIn'e'} in Klingon).

> This looks like that wIleghlu' is partly describable as a passive, making
> leghlu'wI' possible for "one who is seen".

You've still got a logical leap to address between "partly describable as a passive" and "exactly describable as a passive". Yes, the {-lu'} construction in Klingon shares with the English passive a reduction in focus on the subject. But plenty of other constructions are capable of reducing focus on the subject. The two don't behave the same syntactically and so you can't reduce {-lu'} to a true passive.

I agree completely with SuStel. As they've been described to us in canon up to now, I don't believe {-lu'} and {-wI'} combine in a way that makes any grammatical sense.

QeS 'utlh
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