[tlhIngan Hol] they-them prefix with -moH -'egh with -moH and DoHmoH

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Jun 30 06:31:57 PDT 2020

On 6/30/2020 9:05 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
> Now, lets forget this example, and consider the following one: There's
> a starship closing in on another ship, and that second starship uses a
> repellent beam to drive the first ship back. Now, the crew of the ship
> which has been driven back wants to say "they drove us back from
> them".
> Suppose we write:
> maHvaD DoHmoHta'. The problem here will be, that although there's the
> null prefix for they-them, this prefix seemingly/apparently works only
> when the two "they" and "them" are two different groups.

Interpret it this way: *maHvaD <no object> DoHmoHta'.*/They drove us 
back./ Which would be easier said as *nuDoHmoHta'.*

> In the example above, since the subject and object of DoHmoH are the
> same, we can't apply the null prefix in question.

I don't think there's any rule that says the subject and object can't be 
the same. There is a rule that says the subject-object combinations 
marked as "—" can't be expressed, but these combinations are the ones 
the express 1st-person/1st-person and 2nd-person/2nd-person.

Mind you, I think it's likely that you're correct that the same entity 
can't be both subject and object, but it's not a rule that has been 
given to us.

So the job now is not just to decide how to translate /They drove us 
back from themselves,/ which employs a preposition that doesn't apply in 
the Klingon; it is to decide how a Klingon would say this natively. I 
think a Klingon would utilize context and common sense and say 
*nuDoHmoHta'*/They drove us back./ By not specifying what we're being 
driven from, it's natural to assume that we're being driven from the 
position they hold. You CAN add a specific location you're being driven 
from, even if it's just *Daqchaj*/their location,/ but you don't have to.

> Perhaps it would be tempting to write:
> maHvaD DoH'eghmoHta'
> they caused themselves to back away from us

Yuck. No thank you. This doesn't mean the same thing at all.

> Since with the {-'egh} the object acts on itself, thus overcoming the
> they-them prefix restriction. But again, there's something seemingly
> wrong with this sentence too, which I can't identify.

The thing you can't identify is this: to use *-'egh* to say that the 
object acts on itself, which is NOT an obvious reading in any 
circumstance anyway, you need an object. You've already got a subject: 
/they./ To make *-'egh* apply to them-the-object, there would need to be 
the same /they/ as both subject and object anyway. You haven't avoided 
the problem at all.


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