[tlhIngan Hol] qepHom grammar questions

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Oct 5 10:51:04 PDT 2017

TL;DR: *-vaD* is the dative of Klingon.

On 10/5/2017 12:45 PM, nIqolay Q wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 9:35 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name 
> <mailto:sustel at trimboli.name>> wrote:
>     And I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of asking him for further
>     clarification of *-vaD* and the prefix trick; I'm not saying
>     there's nothing to learn here. I don't /know/ that you can't say
>     *muqab* instead of *jIHvaD qab;*
> Are you arguing just against the use of the prefix trick with stative 
> verbs and the idea that *-vaD* counts as an indirect object with such 
> verbs? Or do you disagree that any of my three examples have indirect 
> objects that can be used with the prefix trick, including the idea of 
> "I do something for you" and that thing you do when using *-moH* on 
> transitive verbs?

*bangwI', SoHvaD wa'SaD SuvwI' vIHoHqang

*SoHvaD* is not an indirect object; it is a benefactive. Now I wish I 
hadn't suggested the "happen to" test to you, because you're totally 
misapplying and misunderstanding it. The sentence is not about your 
beloved receiving a presentation involving killing; it is only about 
your willingness to kill, and your beloved is the one who will benefit 
from it. You didn't give anything to your beloved; your beloved isn't 
described as receiving speech or an image or a thing. That she is 
addressed in the sentence is irrelevant; it has nothing to do with 
indirect objects or benefactives.

*jIHvaD DuSaQwIj Deq qawmoH qachvetlh*

I have no idea whether *-vaD* + *-moH* has anything to do with indirect 
objects or benefactives or not. It seems to be playing the role of "I 
don't know where else to put this noun, so I'll stick a *-vaD* on it." 
Okrand has never explained the workings of this grammar, and it's 
controversial and confusing because it's difficult to make sense of it.

*jIHvaD qab tera'ngan Soj 'Iq* - "I admit that using the prefix trick 
with a stative verb might be too much of a stretch."

Why? If there's no difference between types of *-vaD,* what could 
possibly be wrong with it? /What distinction between that and known good 
examples are you making?/

>     Well, English treats targets of speeches or visions as if they had
>     been handed a package. Whether Klingon does the same is a fair
>     question, which this example might be confirmation of.
> The article on the prefix trick already describes the target of 
> speeches as an indirect object (which, in your terminology, is 
> analogous to being handed a package):
>     /The indirect object of jatlh, when expressed, is the
>     hearer/listener. Thus:
>     [...]
>     qama'pu'vaD SoQ Dajatlh "you make a speech to the prisoners"
>     (qama'pu'vaD "for the prisoners," SoQ "speech, lecture, address,"
>     Dajatlh "you speak it")/
> http://klingonska.org/canon/1997-06-29b-news.txt

Exactly, and it does not describe the target as a beneficiary or a 
benefactive or a dative noun or anything else—it describes it as an 
indirect object. I believe that when Okrand says "indirect object" here, 
he actually means indirect object, not "thing related to indirect objects."

>     I think you're getting confused by the English translations. It
>     doesn't matter whether something is translated with /to/ or /for;/
>     it's the concept that counts. Is there an inherent difference in
>     concept between the *-vaD* in *Qu'vaD lI' De'vam* and *yaSvaD taj
>     nobpu' qama'*? I think there is, and the concept exists in
>     linguistic studies, and Okrand went out of his way to introduce
>     the difference in the addendum.
> They are different concepts (the nature of the benefit is more 
> abstract and potential in the case of *Qu'vaD lI' De'vam*, for 
> instance), but I don't think the concepts are so different that they 
> can't be included under the same usage of *-vaD*.

They ARE both included in *-vaD.* I've been saying all along that the 
concepts are different but related. Are you listening? That's why they 
both use the same suffix. Syntactically, they are indistinguishable: 
noun + *-vaD,* end of story. Semantically, they are different, but related.

> The mission benefits (or will benefit) in some way from the usefulness 
> of this information, and the officer benefits in some way from the 
> prisoner giving a knife.

Yes. And this is the sense in which "the indirect object may be 
considered the beneficiary." The officer benefits IN SOME WAY. As a 
benefactive, that way is not specified. As an indirect object, it is: 
the officer is given the knife. Indirect objects are a sub-class of the 
beneficiary meaning of *-vaD.*

> Context, like the use of the verb *nob*, suggests that in the latter 
> case the likely benefit is that the officer physically receives a knife.

Context lets you distinguish between the benefactive interpretation and 
the indirect object interpretation.

> When Okrand said "the indirect object can be considered the 
> beneficiary", I don't think his phrasing was intended to highlight a 
> linguistic distinction. Rather, I think he was trying to explain the 
> idea to an audience with a casual knowledge of grammar by highlighting 
> an alternate way to think about the term "indirect object".

This wasn't a "let's think about this in a different way" part of the 
dictionary. The Addendum is all about new stuff that got added or 
clarified since the first edition. Added: *-vaD* can not only do 
sentences like *Qu'vaD lI' De'vam,* but it can also do related, but 
still different, sentences like *yaSvaD taj nobpu' qama'.* We already 
know where *-vaD* nouns go, but section 6.8 tells us that /indirect 
objects/ go before the direct object and get *-vaD* put on them. We are 
specifically being told where to put indirect objects, even though we 
already know where to put beneficiaries.

Prior to the second edition, not counting the on-screen Klingon that led 
to it, there had never been a canonical sentence with an actual indirect 
object. It got added.

> In other words, I think it was more like "So, you've heard of indirect 
> objects, but are wondering how to express that idea in Klingon? If you 
> think about it, indirect objects are benefiting from the verb. So you 
> can use the suffix I described earlier for marking a beneficiary to 
> express the same basic idea."

Yes, it is exactly this, but he's not saying "And you could have figured 
that out too if you'd thought about it"; he's saying "And this is a new 
bit of information that wasn't in the first edition of the dictionary 
and didn't necessarily follow from it." It's there because the first 
edition described only benefactives, and he wanted to add indirect objects.

> It's like if he talked about using *tlhej* for "with" by saying "the 
> object of 'with' can be considered the accompanier".

You keep talking about *tlhej,* but the addition of indirect objects is 
not a case where all you had to do was think about a good way to say 
what you wanted to say. It was new information. The first edition did 
not describe indirect objects. It described benefactives, calling them 
beneficiaries, and the second edition said that the roles of 
benefactives and indirect objects are related and use the same suffix 
because of that relation.

>     *yaSvaD taj nobpu' qama'* can theoretically mean either (a) the
>     prisoner handed the officer a knife, or (b) the prisoner handed
>     /someone else/ a knife for the officer's sake. These are different
>     concepts. This is the difference I am pointing to. You're most
>     likely to interpret it as (a) an indirect object, but given the
>     right context you could interpret it as (b) a benefactive.
> That's true that it's potentially ambiguous, but again, I don't think 
> there's a reason to necessarily assume that those different usages 
> interact with grammar rules in a different way. (Specifically, the 
> grammar rules describing when one can perform the prefix trick.)

The reason to think that is that Okrand describes the prefix trick for 
"indirect objects," not for beneficiaries, not for benefactives, not for 
any noun with *-vaD.* "Indirect objects." I see no reason to think he 
uses the term "indirect object" to refer to any kind of *-vaD* noun.

That's not to say that it's impossible for the prefix trick to work with 
benefactives. It's to say that Okrand didn't say it did.

> For instance, TKD says that *-Daq* can often be translated using "to, 
> in, at, on". These are linguistically different concepts, and there 
> are languages like Finnish that distinguish between those various 
> meanings, with various locative cases like the adessive ("on") and 
> inessive ("in") and illative ("into") and all the rest.

And Klingon does NOT distinguish between those meanings. There is no 
grammatical test you can perform in Klingon to distinguish the /to, in, 
at,/ or /on/ meanings from a *-Daq.* But Okrand DOES distinguish between 
indirect objects and benefactives ("beneficiaries") in his presentation 
in TKD, and IF it turns out you can't use the prefix trick with certain 
sentences, that's a good test to show that there ARE ways to distinguish 
the various sorts of *-vaD.*

> And Klingon does use the pronomial prefixes to distinguish between 
> "motion to an area" and "doing something at an area".

No, it doesn't. It distinguishes those by the nature of the verb. The 
object of *ghoS* is a location. This is built into the verb. Using a 
*-Daq* with *ghoS* gives a meaning depending entirely on whether the 
noun is the direct object or not. The *-Daq* is completely optional on 
such an object. *qachDaq ghoS*. If *qachDaq* is the direct object, the 
destination is the *qach*. If *qachDaq* is not the direct object, the 
entire action of *ghoS* takes place at the location *qach.* The 
"to-ness" or "at-ness" has nothing to do with whether there is a *-Daq* 
on the *qach* or not. Verb prefixes sometimes help us to distinguish 
whether a noun is an object or not, but this is not essential, and the 
meaning does not come from the prefix.

> Okrand doesn't often talk about or use the prefix trick, which is the 
> one known element of Klingon grammar where the distinction might 
> matter. And I think his use of the term "indirect object" mostly just 
> represents a change in how he describes the *-vaD* suffix, rather than 
> making a distinction from the original description as a beneficiary 
> marker.

But why? Why would he add to the Addendum a whole section unto itself 
called "Indirect Objects" if these were just a new name for the familiar 
*-vaD*? There are sooo many areas that are left vague in TKD, and this 
is the only one he thought he'd just give a couple of examples, to be 
helpful? Every single other section of the Addendum adds something new, 
something previously unknown or not explained correctly. In this one 
section he's going to elaborate on something he'd already explained, but 
maybe you didn't notice all the possibilities because he didn't use a 
particular phrase? Really?


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