[tlhIngan Hol] mughmeH laH vs mughlaHghach

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed May 16 08:52:51 PDT 2018

On 5/16/2018 11:24 AM, Ed Bailey wrote:
> So you'd accept that the purpose clause in a noun phrase can have an 
> object?

Sure. What else do you think is happening with *qaSuchmeH 'eb?* It's 
*SoH qaSuchmeH jIH 'eb.*

> This makes it more like a relative clause.

All of the subordinate clauses can have subjects and objects. It's just 
the purpose clauses that are exceptional in that they can also NOT have 
subjects and objects. We simply don't know exactly when you can and 
can't drop the arguments. In general, purpose clauses attached to verbs 
have them and purpose clauses attached to nouns don't, but both sides of 
that are broken from time to time.

Unlike a relative clause, the head noun of a purpose clause is NOT the 
subject or object of the clause.

> It would be interesting to compare nouns with purpose clauses to 
> relative clauses. There are enough similarities that one could stumble 
> over the differences. One difference is that the purpose clause must 
> still precede that which it modifies, correct?

Correct. A purpose clause precedes its head noun, while a relative 
clause puts its head noun into a subject or object position within the 

> And the topic marker can make either subject or object be the head 
> noun of a relative clause, but I don't get that this could happen with 
> a purpose clause.

There would be no point. Since the head noun is not inside the purpose 
clause, there is nothing to disambiguate.

> Let's bring this back to Aurélie's original point: would *ghItlhvam 
> mughlaHghach chavlu'pu'* be a better way to say "The ability to 
> translate this manuscript has been achieved" (colloquially, "They've 
> figured out how to translate this manuscript")?

Now you're trying to add an object to a verb before a *-ghach* is 
applied, and that's a whole other kettle of fish. I don't personally 
subscribe to the idea that *-ghach*'d verbs can be given arguments 
before the *-ghach* is applied; Okrand declined to comment on this 
possibility when given the chance. Start with a root verb, add one or 
more suffixes, then add *-ghach.* That's it. No prefixes, no objects, no 
subjects, no other syntactic nouns or clauses go inside the scope of the 

What you have above says /This manuscript's ability to translate has 
been achieved./ That is, the manuscript has been working to be able to 
translate something, and now it has the ability to do so.**What the 
manuscript is going to translate, or how it's going to translate it, is 
not said.

> It seems like a good choice to me, since *-ghach *nominalizes in such 
> a way that *mughlaHghach* encompasses both "ability to translate" and 
> "ability to be translated."

IT DOES NOT. *mughlaHghach* means only /ability to translate./ To mean 
/ability to be translated,/ you'd need a verb X that means /be 
translated,/ and then you could say *XlaHghach.* That verb is not *mugh.*

Are you getting mixed up by the word /translate?/ In English you can say 
things like "I can't say that; it doesn't translate." That's not *mugh.* 
The message does not *mugh; *it gets *mugh*'d. Klingon *mugh* is transitive.


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