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

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Sep 16 06:52:46 PDT 2021

On 9/16/2021 9:24 AM, Will Martin wrote:
> The thing to keep in mind here is that while the English passive voice 
> CAN be a translation of the Klingon indefinite subject, the two are 
> not equivalent. SuStel has pointed this out in the past. The English 
> passive voice can have a subject, as in “The song was sung by the 
> singer.”
> If it were just “The song was sung”, that’s English passive voice and 
> fits Klingon indefinite subject, but when you add “by the singer”, the 
> English passive voice just defined the subject, and you can no longer 
> use {-lu’} in the translation into Klingon.

Ooh, I was about to post a rare "I agree with charghwI' 100%" message, 
but then I read this last line.

The job of English passive voice is to make the recipient of the action 
instead of the performer the subject of the sentence. For simplicity, I 
will assume the recipient of the action is the /patient/ and the 
performer of the action is the /agent/. In the passive voice, the 
patient is the subject, and including the agent is optional.

An important reason we use the passive voice is that English requires a 
subject in every sentence. But what English /doesn't/ require is an 
/agent/ in every sentence. If you want to obscure or de-emphasize the 
agent, it can't be the subject. /Mistakes were made./

In Klingon, on the other hand, we /can/ have sentences without subjects, 
using *-lu'.* *Qaghlu'pu'.* There is no reassignment of agent and 
patient. But Klingon also doesn't have prepositions, so if you use the 
indefinite subject, there is no other place to express the agent. If 
you've got an agent (and there's no *-moH* mucking things up), it /has/ 
to be the subject. Klingon syntax is more strict than that of English.

You might get around this strictness by saying things like *bomwI'mo' 
bom bomlu'pu'*/Because of the singer, the song was sung./ But this 
doesn't quite express the same thing as *bom bompu' bomwI'.* *bomwI'mo'* 
might mean the singer contracted a chorus to sing the song. The 
cause-noun is not the agent-noun.

So I agree with your conclusion: where an English passive-voice sentence 
expresses both patient and agent, you cannot translate into an 
equivalent Klingon sentence using indefinite subject. I just object to 
the statement that "the English passive voice just defined the subject."

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.kli.org/pipermail/tlhingan-hol-kli.org/attachments/20210916/b19d9e97/attachment-0002.htm>

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list