[tlhIngan Hol] The prefix trick and indefinite subjects

Daniel Dadap daniel at dadap.net
Sat Dec 22 15:50:03 PST 2018

I asked this question on the Discord server a while back and got an opinion, but I wondered about it again recently, so I was curious to hear other opinions.

Can the prefix trick be used with -lu'? For example,

vIleghlu': I was seen

Or do we have to make the indefinite subject explicit, with vay':

mulegh vay': Somebody saw me

My feeling is that vIleghlu' is okay, which lines up with the opinion I got when I asked (something like “we haven’t seen it done, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to do that”). I guess that leads me to a second part of the question, which is whether there’s some nuance in meaning between using -lu' with no subject and vay' as the subject. The fact that “(wot)laH vay'” is the grammatically correct alternative to the slang type 5 verb suffix -luH suggests to me that maybe they’re effectively equivalent. But if there’s more to it I am curious to learn.

As a side note, I always though “qeylIS lIjlaHbe'bogh vay'” was a little weird when you could just as easily say “qeylIS lIjlaHbogh pagh” (and when the latter sounds more natural when you translate it directly into English), until I learned that -laH + vay' is the official way to get around the fact that -laH and -lu' are the same suffix type. I was actually a little disappointed when I learned that “qeylIS lIjlaHbogh pagh” was used in paq'batlh.

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