[tlhIngan Hol] Objects

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Sun Aug 22 08:49:50 PDT 2021

On 8/22/2021 10:59 AM, Will Martin wrote:
> Thanks. This helps a lot.
> The remaining thing that I wonder is that, given the right context and 
> given the fluidity between beneficiary {-vaD} and 
> indirect-object-grammatically-indicated-in-Object-position that is 
> common to Klingon, I could see a conversation like:
> {nuqDaq nuH?}
> {vInob.}
> {‘Iv Danob?}
> {HoD vInob.}
> I agree that under normal circumstances that {nob} would not have an 
> indirect object in the grammatically-object position with no noun 
> suffix, but all the reasons to shortcut the indirect object in that 
> position in other cases apply here because of the obvious context of 
> the thread. I also agree that the entire conversation is grammatically 
> flawed, but easily understandable, all because of the context threaded 
> through it.

I honestly don't think the concept of "indirect or direct object in 
object position" applies to all verbs. We know of a couple where it does 
(like *ja'*), and it generally can with anything to do with *-moH,* but 
I don't think it can be applied across the board. I don't think *vInob* 
can mean /I gave (something unspecified) to him./

The reason it works for verbs with *-moH* is because these verbs have 
multiple entities acting on multiple entities. If we have the sentence 
*Ha'DIbaH vISop* /I eat the meat,/ we have an agent *(jIH)* and a 
patient *(Ha'DIbaH).* With no other noun roles in the sentence, the 
patient is expressed as a subject (it goes after the verb) and the 
patient is expressed as an object (it goes before the verb).

If we now look at the sentence *jIH muSopmoH vutwI'*/The cook makes me 
eat,/ we see different semantics. We still have an agent (*jIH:* I'm 
still eating the meat), but we no longer have a patient (nothing is 
being described as eaten). Instead we have a causer. The apparent rules 
of Klingon say that if we have a causer, it is expressed as a subject 
and any agent or patient or theme or recipient (or maybe other semantic 
roles) is expressed as an object. This is the same rule that makes the 
*tlhIngan *in *Quch tlhIngan* /The Klingon is happy /jump to the object 
position in *tlhIngan QuchmoH tI'rIlngan*/The Trill makes the Klingon 

And if we have the sentence *Ha'DIbaH SopmoH vutwI'*/The cook makes 
(someone) eat the meat,/ we have the same causer *(vutwI')* and a 
patient (*Ha'DIbaH:* the meat is having something done to it), and by 
the same rule, we make the causer the subject and the patient the object.

Then we have the case of *jIHvaD Ha'DIbaH SopmoH vutwI'*/The cook makes 
me eat the meat./ Same causer *(vutwI'),* same agent *(jIH),* same 
patient *(Ha'DIbaH),* only now there's no room for both the agent and 
the patient in object position. You can only have one object. So the 
rule says to express the agent as an indirect object, and to do that you 
mark the agent with *-vaD* and stick it before the object. Then the 
patient becomes the object.

And that's pretty much it. There are other possible semantic roles, but 
they follow this pattern. For instance, *HumanvaD QoQ 'IjmoH 
tlhIngan*/The Klingon made the Human listen to the music./ We still have 
a causer *(tlhIngan),* but now we have an experiencer instead of an 
agent *(Human:* an agent deliberately, not mindlessly, performs an 
action; an experiencer experiences sensory or emotional input) and a 
theme instead of a patient (*QoQ:* a patient undergoes the action and 
changes its state; a theme undergoes an action and does not change its 
state), and the rule has experiencers become indirect objects and themes 
become objects. But Klingon does not actually seem interested in the 
differences between agents and experiencers and so on, so these 
variations aren't really all that important to understanding how words 
are assigned to the syntax of Klingon.

> The question is, does this ability to put an otherwise {-vaD}worthy 
> noun in the Object position rely wholly on the specifics of common 
> usage of the verb, the way that special locative-related verbs use 
> {-Daq}worthy nouns as unmarked Objects, or is it more context flexible 
> and vocabulary independent, as is suggested by the prefix trick.

Yes, I think so, except when the verb has *-moH* on it, which changes 
the semantics of the sentence.

> I doubt we have enough evidence to be sure, one way or the other. 
> Meanwhile, I doubt many people would have difficulty understanding the 
> above conversation.

Thee understand I, even this sentence grammatical not be. Unuseful are 
you're distinction.

> Then again, I doubt that we’ll ever see {QeD’e’ puqloDwI’ vIghojmoH}, 
> even though that makes more sense to me than the canon-proven, correct 
> {puqloDwI’vaD QeD vIghojmoH}.
> The language doesn’t have to make sense according to my arbitrary 
> ideas or proclivities. A student of English would have a LOT of 
> suggestions about how English SHOULD work, but doesn’t, given that we 
> park in the driveway and drive on the parkway, but we don’t park on 
> the driveway or drive there, and we don’t drive in the parkway or park 
> there.

And I'll go and explain to them exactly why we drive on the parkway and 
park on the driveway. A parkway is so called because it is lined by 
trees to make it park-like. A driveway is so called because the word 
came into use back in a time when the only people who had vehicles lived 
in houses set back from the road, and the path the vehicle used to get 
from the road to the house was called the /drive/ or the /driveway./ As 
vehicles became more available to the common man, who lived on smaller 
properties, the path for the vehicle shortened until it was basically 
just one car-length, and if you didn't have a building dedicated to 
storing your vehicle, you parked it on that path, which was still called 
a driveway.

So no, switching them is /not/ the way English should work.

Most of English, even the spelling, makes a lot of sense if you learn 
where it comes from. It's not /easy,/ but there are reasons for it.

By the way, we /do/ park /on/ the driveway as well as /in/ it. We do in 
my area, anyway. On the other hand, parking /in/ and /on/ a parking lot 
refer to the same thing but have different connotations: one refers to 
the the act of putting the car there, while the other refers to the 
presence of the car there.

> Language is an arbitrary agreement among speakers of the language, or 
> among regulating authorities, when such authorities exist. The French 
> and Turkish speakers have such authorities. English doesn’t. Klingon does.

Natural language is not arbitrary, language evolves in environments that 
shape that evolution. Arbitrary is when language authorities or creators 
legislate language change according to their whims and possibly even 
ignorance of the reasons things are the way they are. Speakers generally 
do not arbitrarily agree on their language; they /acquire/ the language 
or /learn/ it as a thing that exists.


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