[tlhIngan Hol] placing {-lu'} on {'oH} and {ghaH}

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Sun Jul 7 10:35:29 PDT 2019

On 7/7/2019 12:06 PM, Lieven L. Litaer wrote:
> Am 05.07.2019 um 21:24 schrieb SuStel:
>> I can't see any problem with using *-lu'* with the third-person
>> pronouns. First- and second-person pronoun "to be" sentences use the
>> pronoun itself as the subject; third-person "to be" sentences can take
>> third-person nouns as their subjects. *verengan ghaHlu'chugh,
> I disagree with that, based on what you have tought me: pronouns are not
> verbs. (even though they are treated as such in some cases)

Pronouns are not verbs. Pronouns can be linked to nouns, and pronouns 
can link nouns. When they are performing this linking function they may 
use verb suffixes to describe the nature of the link: is it continuous, 
is it a condition, is it in question, etc. TKD calls pronouns linked to 
nouns the subject of the sentence, while when pronouns link nouns 
together TKD calls the topic noun the subject.

With all that, there's little difficulty in interpreting *-lu'* on a 
pronoun: the topic noun has been made indefinite. I don't know whether 
this combination is /allowed,/ but it's not difficult to understand.

*DujDaq ghaHtaH HoD'e'*/The captain is on the ship.
/*DujDaq ghaHlu'*/Someone indefinite is on the ship./

*HoD ghaH loDvetlh'e'*/That man is the captain.
/*HoD ghaHlu'*/Someone indefinite is the captain./

> We know that -lu' reverse the object-subject,

to unlearn this falsehood immediately.

*-lu'* makes the subject indefinite. Nothing whatsoever happens to the 
object. You're confusing prefix-agreement with actual subject and 
object. When using *-lu',* the prefixes are used in a different way, but 
subject (or lack thereof) and object remain as they were.

*HoD legh la'*/The commander sees the captain.
/*HoD leghlu'*/Someone indefinite sees the captain./

*jIH cholegh SoH*/You see me.
/*jIH vIleghlu'*/Someone indefinite sees me./

The object always remains the object. The only thing that changes is the 
prefix used.

> so if you accept -lu' at a
> pronoun, you treat it like a transitive verb. Besides, -lu' reverse the
> meaning of the prefix, but pronouns do not have any prefix in
> to-be-sentences.

To-be sentences also don't have objects. Adding a *-lu'* changes 
absolutely nothing about the transitivity of a verb.

> In the phrase, {verengan ghaH}, the subject is {ghaH}. Adding -lu' does
> not take that away. {ghaHlu'} sounds to me like {one is himmed} or such
> nonsense. Theoretically expaning this to a plural form, what prefix
> should you take in {tlhIngan maHlu'}? {tlhIngan DImaHlu'}? We are being
> Klingoned?

I specifically said adding *-lu'* makes sense for third-person "to be" 
sentences where one noun is linked to another. You can't turn *verengan 
ghaH* into a sentence with an indefinite subject. But you could turn 
*verengan ghaH qurwI''e'*/The greedy one is a Ferengi/ into an 
indefinite-subject sentence: *verengan ghaHlu'*/Someone indefinite is a 

You have fallen into the common trap of thinking that Klingon *-lu'* 
maps directly into English passive voice. It doesn't. English passive 
voice is sometimes a good way to translate *-lu',* but the grammar is 

> There is no rule forbidding it, but also non allowing it. You your guess
> still is just a guess and we cannot know for sure it is correct or makes
> sense. Until Maltz confirms.

You bet. In which part of this conversation did I said you could 
definitely put a *-lu'* on a pronoun? I said I could see no problem with 
it. I didn't endorse it. I recommend nobody use it without further 
evidence. But if somebody does use it, I can see no evidence-based 
argument against it.


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