[tlhIngan Hol] prefix trick with {-'egh} and {-chuq}

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Jul 7 09:08:08 PDT 2020

On 7/7/2020 11:23 AM, Will Martin wrote:
> So, the prefix trick only works for an indirect object, being a first 
> or second person


> being capable of using language (since things not capable of speech 
> can’t be speaking in the first person and it has not been culturally 
> confirmed that Klingons speak to things incapable of using language).

Don't insert this editorial into the explanation. It hasn't been 
culturally confirmed that Klingons DON'T speak to things incapable of 
using language or that things incapable of using language can't be fed 
words as if they were.

> The prefix syntactically suggests that this indirect object were the 
> direct object, though grammatically (semantically?), it is treated as 
> the indirect object, so that a “di-transitive” verb (like {nob}) can 
> free up the syntactic slot for direct object, since Klingon lacks 
> syntax for two direct objects.

The prefix does not syntactically suggest that the indirect object is 
the direct object. The prefix agrees with an "object." NOWHERE does TKD 
say anything about that object having to be direct.

In Klingon, "object" is a syntactic role. It is the unmarked argument to 
the verb that precedes the verb. It generally represents the entity on 
which the verb is acting, without regard to what that actually means. 
"Direct object" is a semantic role meaning the entity to which the 
action of the verb is done. In simple sentences, the semantic direct 
object is usually the syntactic object. "Indirect object" is a semantic 
role meaning the entity that receives the result of the action of the 
verb. In simple sentences, the semantic indirect object is usually 
either a syntactic object or a syntactic "beneficiary" (noun marked with 
*-vaD* that goes before any object), depending on the circumstances of 
the sentence.

A verb like *nob* is not ditransitive. Klingon does not have 
ditransitivity. Ditransitivity is when you have multiple syntactic 
objects. A Klingon verb always has, at most, a single syntactic object. 
What *nob* CAN have is simultaneous direct and indirect objects. *SoHvaD 
taj vInob: SoHvaD* is the syntactic beneficiary and the semantic 
indirect object and *taj* is the syntactic object and semantic direct 
object. *taj qanob:* *SoH* has no syntactic role because it is not said 
in the sentence and *taj* is the syntactic object and semantic direct 
object. In neither of these cases is there two syntactic objects.

> I’m sure that this will spur on a clarification about the Klingon idea 
> of “object” without reference to it being “direct” or “indirect”, but 
> the point is, a Klingon sentence has one position for a direct object, 
> and a Type 5 suffix for indirect object.

Wrong. A Klingon sentence has one position for an object and a type 5 
suffix for beneficiary. Where its semantic roles end up depend on the 
nature of the sentence.

> You can’t have two direct object nouns in a Klingon sentence. There is 
> no place to put the second one.

This is true. You can't have two nouns with the semantic role of direct 
object because you can only have one noun with the syntactic role of object.

> {-egh} and {-chuq} is a different grammatical area where literal 
> syntax suggests something other than the semantics.

Yes! Exactly!

> The syntax says there’s no direct object,

No, the syntax says there's no object. In a sentence like *maleghchuq 
maH*/We see each other,/ the direct object is also the subject.

> but {-chuq} or {-‘egh} inform us that the subject is also the object.

Strictly speaking, TKD says nothing about the subject being the object. 
It says "This suffix is used to indicate that the action described by 
the verb affects the performer of the action, the subject." It also says 
"the prefix set indicating 'no object' must also be used." There is 
nothing there about the actual presence of an object. "Affects the 
performer" semantically describes a direct object.

> It doesn’t say that the subject is also the indirect object. 

And yet two of the examples on that very page demonstrate the subject 
being the indirect object. *yIja''egh */Tell yourself//!/ 
*pe'ja''egh*/Tell yourselves!/ are examples in which the reflexivity 
indicates an indirect object. (Strictly speaking, there are no subjects 
in these sentences, since they're imperative.) Semantically, the person 
is an indirect object.


> /
> /
> //
> Perhaps, the “object” can represent either a null-pronoun or invisible 
> noun direct object, or even an invisible {-vaD}-appended pronoun?

What would be the point of inventing phantom words?


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