[tlhIngan Hol] intransitivity

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Mon Feb 24 14:04:23 PST 2020

On 2/24/2020 4:55 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> Transitivity is a little messy in Klingon.
> We have a few examples, like {vum} which we know is “intransitive” in 
> the sense that the subject is the thing moving and if an agent causes 
> something else to move, then {vemmoH [agent]}. We didn’t get that from 
> canon examples. We got it from a conversation with Okrand about that 
> specific verb. He doesn’t talk about most verbs like that, so we have 
> to guess.

I think you mean *vIH,* not *vum* or *vem.* Okrand told us that the 
intention behind that was /be in motion,/ not /cause something to move./

> Even if we have an example or two of a verb being used transitively or 
> intransitively, we can’t know for sure if the non-canon interpretation 
> of canon is wrong if we haven’t had that explained to us because some 
> verbs get used both ways. We also know why this is true:
> Okrand doesn’t want to mark a verb one way and later forget and use it 
> the other way, so he doesn’t want to tell us which way is right so we 
> won’t come back to him and tell him later that he’s using it wrong.

How do you know this is his motivation? Are you guessing?

> {ja’} and {jatlh} has changed over time, for example. Originally, the 
> direct object of {ja’} was the person spoken to, 

No, originally we didn't have an examples of a direct object on *ja'**.* 
We DID have examples of prefixes on *ja',* but nowhere did it tell us 
that the prefix shown was necessarily a direct object. It's now quite 
clear that prefixes don't always agree with a direct object, and they 
didn't even when TKD was written.

> and the direct object of {jatlh} was the language or 
> noun-representing-words-being-said (like a poem or a speech). It was a 
> neat difference between the two verbs. Then it got smeared by canon 
> example, and now, it’s not really obvious that either verb is wrong 
> for either kind of object.

*jatlh* and *ja'* never meant the same thing just with different syntax. 
*jatlh* /speak, say/ and *ja'* /tell, report/ have different 
translations. One means something like "vocalize words," while the other 
means something like "impart information." Both can be used the same 
special way in sentence-as-object constructions, but that's about the 
end of it.

All we needed was confirmation as to what sort of direct object *ja'* 
could take, and we now have that.


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