[tlhIngan Hol] Topic

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Mon Mar 4 09:56:39 PST 2019

While it is true that Okrand said that putting {-Daq} on the direct object of certain verbs that take the location of things as their object is not grammatically wrong, there does seem to be more nuance involved than the confidence with which people habitually bring this up suggests is appropriate.

juH vIghoS. I go home. (I move along the “home” path.)

juHDaq jIghoS. I am home, and I am going (somewhere). (I am in my home and I’m moving along an unnamed path. Maybe my home is a spaceship, or a water ship, or a railroad car, or an RV. In the examples Okrand gave, the locative represented the vehicle in which one traveled a path named after something other than the vehicle.)

juHDaq vIghoS. (Same meaning as {juH vIghoS}, and not grammatically incorrect, though there was a sense that this is typically less preferable to {juH vIghoS}. It sounded to me more like Okrand’s typical CYA effort to stop people from catching him make a mistake somewhere in canon.)

juHDaq ghoS HoD Qanqor. (Okay, so which does this mean? The prefix doesn’t make it clear. It could be either. You need context to disambiguate. I’ve heard from people how much they don’t mind ambiguity that I don’t need reminding again. Still, you have to confess this is messier. Language is messy sometimes. I get that. Meanwhile, that doesn’t make messiness any more noble or preferable.

Furthermore, I suggest that putting {-Daq} on the direct object of these special verbs probably is technically an error, but it’s such a common error that nobody counts it as an error anymore, very much like omitting the verb prefix {lu-} in the many canon examples that we have where it should have been there, but Okrand obviously forgot, especially the many examples of {tu’lu’} that technically should have been {lutu’lu’}.

I do get your point, that topicalization can also possibly occur on a noun that also functions as a subject or object, but my problem, which you don’t show great evidence of acknowledging, is that except for {-‘e’} and the weird case of {-Daq}, in what could arguably be cases or marginal grammatical correctness, we don’t have examples of Type 5 suffixed nouns appearing in positions of subject or object. Even {-Daq} never appears on a subject in canon, and it never appears on the object in canon for any verbs EXCEPT for those special ones that assume location when the direct object doesn’t have {-Daq}.

Typically, the addition of Type 5 suffix on a noun DEFINES the noun’s grammatical function, and assigns its place in the word order of the clause in which it participates. This is the thing that is radically different about {-‘e’}, and Okrand makes no effort to describe this in his grammatical description. Yes, he lathers it thickly among canon examples, but there is a place he should have explicitly explained {-‘e’}’s unique rules of use among Type 5 suffixes, and he completely ignored that opportunity or responsibility. We’re just supposed to figure it out on our own from canon.

I suggest that there is nothing else in the language that gets more canon examples with more scant and inaccurate grammatical description than {-‘e’}. He either made a mistake in the description or by omission providing an incomplete description, and he’s never made an effort to return to the topic (so to speak) to clarify exactly how {-‘e’} is supposed to work.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Mar 4, 2019, at 9:33 AM, Daniel Dadap <daniel at dadap.net> wrote:
>> On Mar 4, 2019, at 08:26, Daniel Dadap <daniel at dadap.net> wrote:
>> I’m still in the process of learning the various nuances of the grammar, so I’m not familiar with this rule about nouns with syntactic marker suffixes needing to precede the object of a verb, and I couldn’t quickly find it. Could you point out where it’s given, please?
> Never mind, found it:
>> Any noun in the sentence indicating something other than subject or object comes first, before the object noun. Such nouns usually end in a Type 5 noun suffix (section 3.3.5).
> That doesn’t seem to preclude the object or the subject from being marked with a Type 5 noun suffix themselves. It’s just talking about nouns that aren’t already the subject or object.
> In fact, the examples about {-Daq} which show that {-Daq} can be used on the object of a verb that takes a locative object, and that this usage is redundant but not incorrect, give another example where a noun with an existing syntactic role (in this case an object) can take an NS5.
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