[tlhIngan Hol] qepHom grammar questions

nIqolay Q niqolay0 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 4 21:43:18 PDT 2017

On Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 8:19 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> Yes it has: you have seen. You received a visual image or a presentation.
> Linguistically, this is receiving something, which is something happening
> to you.
"Something happening to you" is a very broad definition of a recipient or
indirect object. It would include most kinds of objects, probably a few
subjects too, and also the *-vaD* nouns in my examples:
*bangwI', SoHvaD wa'SaD SuvwI' vIHoHqang* - Some presentation or
demonstration of love and devotion is happening to my beloved. My beloved
is receiving a presentation that involves killing a thousand warriors.
*jIHvaD DuSaQwIj Deq qawmoH qachvetlh* - Remembrance is happening to me. I
am receiving some kind of sensory stimulus that causes me to remember.
*jIHvaD qab tera'ngan Soj 'Iq* - I admit that using the prefix trick with a
stative verb might be too much of a stretch. But even in this case, some
bad thing is happening to me (or would happen to me, or generally happens
to me, or happens to me over time) as a result of too much Terran food. I
am receiving some kind of badness from that food - indigestion,
cholesterol, disdain from my Klingon peers, etc.

Benefactives are about the verb being for someone; indirect objects are
> about the direct object being for someone.

I think you might be trying too hard to define a distinction you haven't
shown to exist. English grammar doesn't make these fine-grained
distinctions between what is and isn't an indirect object. Every English
class I've had would argue that "you" in "I do something for you" and "Too
much food is bad for you" are both indirect objects. There may be a
distinction in higher-level linguistics that says otherwise, but that's not
the level of technicality that Okrand uses to talk about Klingon in general
or about indirect objects in specific. I don't see why his use of the
English term "indirect object" when talking about the prefix trick must
necessarily exclude benefactives as you've defined them.

I found an example from KGT where Okrand uses the term "indirect object" in
a situation where the verb is for someone, not the direct object:

> The verb *QIj* ("explain") is a standard term somewhat close to this in
> meaning, though the object of *QIj* is that which is explained, while the
> person to whom the explanation is given is the indirect object: *yaSvaD
> nab QIj* ("He/she explains the plan to the officer"; *yaSvaD*, "for the
> officer"; *nab*, "plan"). *(KGT, p. 149)*
The plan isn't necessarily for the officer, but the explaining is. (Also,
the gloss of *yaSvaD* is "*for* the officer", which suggests that "indirect
object" can be used to refer to the benefactive meaning originally
described for *-vaD*.)

My guess is that he started using "indirect object" as a simple way to
refer to nouns with *-vaD*, in the same way one might refer to a noun with
*-Daq* as a locative noun instead of saying "noun with *-Daq*" over and

> That's just an issue of techniques of translation, not the meaning of
> morphemes or semantics or syntax. My talk of *-vaD* has to do with purely
> Klingon grammar, without discussing translations into other languages.
My argument is that, until Okrand says otherwise, the two uses of *-vaD*
you've talked about are ultimately the same, and that the apparent
distinction between "benefactive" *-vaD* and "indirect object" *-vaD* is an
artifact of how two distinct kinds of English phrasing are translated using
the same suffix. (In the same way that phrases using "with" and phrases
about accompanying that don't use "with" can both be translated using
*tlhej*, which is the analogy I was going for.)

But he has only used the prefix trick for indirect objects and never for
> benefactives.

Aside from my assertion that there's no real difference between those two
things, he hasn't used the prefix trick very often at all, even in cases
where it would probably not be controversial to do so. I found two such
cases in a quick browse of the paq'batlh:
*tlhIHvaD SuvwI'pu'vam vIDelpu'* - paq'batlh, p. 133: paq'raD canto 12,
line 2. (*Del* has not been used with the prefix trick before but the
meaning is similar to how indirect objects are used with *jatlh* - a
description is being given to you all, you all are receiving a description.)
*SoHvaD quvwI' qem Hegh 'e' wIvDI' Hegh* - paq'batlh, p. 147: paq'raD canto
16, line 25. (*qem* is one of the verbs used in the original description of
indirect objects in TKDa.* SoHvaD* in this sentence has the role that is
explicitly described as the indirect object in that example. The prefix
trick could be used, but it is not.)
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