[tlhIngan Hol] intransitivity

Hugh Son puqloD Hugh at qeylIS.net
Sat Feb 22 10:12:56 PST 2020

>> On Feb 22, 2020, at 11:03, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> When writing a dictionary, remember that it's not just whether a word is transitive or intransitive, it's whether a particular sense of a word is transitive or intransitive. A translating dictionary will tell you that Suv means fight, but it may not tell you that it can be used transitively, where the object is the entity being fought against, or intransitively, where the subject is engaging in a general activity of fighting, possibly against itself. It's not enough just to say "Suv is transitive."

We also don’t actually know with certainty whether many verbs are transitive or intransitive. We just use them transitively or intransitively based on how we interpret their glosses. Just recently somebody on the Discord server was asking how, if {voQ} is intransitive, one could use it in a sentence like “A choked B”. The answer, of course, would be to use {-moH}, but that answer is completely dependent on the assumption that {voQ} is intransitive in the first place. I think it is a bit of a stretch, in the absence of canonical examples of that verb being used. And even if we have a canonical example of it being used either transitively or intransitively, that doesn’t rule out it behaving like {meQ}, unless we have very explicit information that it’s *only* used some ways and not others, which is a level of information we really don’t have for most verbs.
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