[tlhIngan Hol] Does Da necessarily require an object ?

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Mar 6 08:02:03 PST 2019

On 3/6/2019 10:31 AM, Jeffrey Clark wrote:
> I would argue that from a logical/semantic standpoint, “understand” 
> has no real intransitive meaning.

What is "intransitive meaning"? /Intransitive/ is a syntactic property 
that means the verb has no object. If you look up /understand/ in a 
dictionary, you will find both transitive and intransitive senses. It 
just means it has no direct object.

Logically, when one understands, one understands /something./ But 
grammar isn't about logic; it's about rules of communication. The rules 
say that if you don't mention the thing being acted upon, the verb is 
considered intransitive, and there's no problem doing this.

> The intransitive use is simply a shorthand for an implied transitive 
> meaning. While “I understand” might an intransitive use syntactically, 
> the actual idea being communicated by the statement is “I understand 
> this thing/concept/abstraction/whatever”, which is a transitive concept.

This is not how the grammars of English or Klingon work. Concepts are 
not transitive or intransitive; verbs are.

> It seems to me that there is no reason for Klingon to follow the 
> syntactic shorthand that English does of “intranstivising” transitive 
> verbs as a shorthand. {jIyaj} doesn’t save any time to say over 
> {vIyaj}, and {vIyaj} is more semantically accurate — since there is an 
> “it” that is being understood.

Using verbs intransitively is not just about shorthand or saving time. 
It lets us say things that are more general than a specific object would 
allow. We don't have to know or mention what we're understanding or 
paying attention to or killing or eating or singing in order to do those 

And this is not murky territory in Klingon. It's explained to us, it's 
demonstrated for us, and it's used all the time in canon. It was settled 
before anybody thought to ask the question. The only thing we don't know 
for sure is, are there any verbs that /must/ mention an object? I don't 
tend to think so.

Here's a possible scenario for an object-less *Da.* The captain likes 
his officers to show the right attitude on the job...

K1: *QuchwI' vIDataH, yoHwI' DataH torgh, 'ej SeywI' DataH matlh.
*K2: *maj. yonba' HoD.
*K1: *maDataH ghorgh 'e' wImevlaH?
*K2:*peDataH! SuDataH 'e' yImevQo'! pup yaSpu'Daj 'e' poQ HoD.*


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