[tlhIngan Hol] vabDot referring to the {-'e'}d noun

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Mon Mar 14 07:51:10 PDT 2022

You seem entangled.

As I understand it, the core of the confusion over {-‘e’} is that it is used in two very different ways:

1. It is applied to a noun IN ITS NORMAL PLACE IN THE SENTENCE as a “focus” marker, applying some sort of emphasis on the noun, which would be the subject or object of a verb (since you can’t mark it with some other Type 5 suffix for some other grammatical function if you’ve already used up that slot with {-‘e’}).

2. It is applied to a noun at the head of the sentence, which is the “topic” of the sentence, typically defining the scope under consideration for the rest of the sentence.

Add the complication that, if the noun is the object of the verb and there is an adverbial, you can put the object before the adverbial. This is what ghunchu’wI’ was commenting on.

The “You would be the greatest warrior in the galaxy” quote is an example of #2, not #1, so it has nothing to do with ghunchu’wI’s comment.

You go on to suggest that a noun at the beginning of the sentence with {-‘e’} could be acting as the subject of the sentence as follows. No, it cannot.

The subject of the sentence has to come after its verb. It can have {-‘e’} applied to it in that position, but you can’t put it at the beginning of the sentence and have it function as the subject.

Indirectly, this can sort-of, kind-of be true if the noun is the Topic of the sentence and there’s an implied pronoun subject which is defined by the topic, much like the comparative you brought up. The meaning is more like:

On the topic of soldiers in the galaxy, you would be the greatest.

I am NOT saying:

You would be the greatest soldier in the galaxy.

That’s something you figure out logically, not grammatically. You can translate it that way, but that’s not what it directly means in Klingon according to the grammar. There is no Klingon phrase “the greatest soldier in the galaxy” in that sentence. That meaning is derived indirectly, because we are only talking about soldiers in the galaxy, and we are saying, “You are the greatest.” The subject is “You” and there’s no {-‘e’} on {SoH}.

Except for subjects of “to be” pronouns, it’s rare to see {-‘e’} applied to a subject in Klingon. It can happen. It’s just not common. When it happens, it happens at the end of the sentence, not the beginning.

Only the “topic” use of {-‘e’} places a noun at the beginning of the sentence. If the noun is an object of a verb, it is already at the beginning of the sentence because of its role as object, and you add the {-‘e’} to it in place. That’s why it can be confusing. There’s nothing obviously differentiating between a Topic and a Focused Object of a sentence. Both have {-‘e’}. Both come at the beginning of the sentence.

Add to this that you can move an adverbial to after said object noun, if it helps with clearing up ambiguity.

Does this make sense? Am I misunderstanding the problem here, or am I simply wrong?

> On Mar 14, 2022, at 9:56 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> And thinking this further, perhaps this is the reason one should avoid placing a noun with the {-'e'} at the beginning of a sentence, as the topic/subject of the sentence to follow. Meaning, writing things like {romuluSnganpu''e' chaH ghompu'bogh Seghmey..} for "As for the Romulans, the races which encountered them..".
> If someone places an {-'e'} on a noun which he intends to be the subject of the sentence to follow, then in the case that he places an adverb right after that noun, one could wonder whether the {-'e'}ed noun is the subject of the sentence or the topicalized object of the verb which would follow the adverb.
> Of course, for such confusion to exist the verb prefix would need to allow that too, and qeylIS knows I'm too tired right now to even attempt writing such a sentence. But I believe this is another reason *not* to use {-'e'}ed nouns as just the subject of the sentence which follows.
> Perhaps someone will now say: Yes, but there's the example of {qIbDaq SuvwI''e' SoH Dun law' Hoch Dun puS} "You would be the greatest warrior in the galaxy".
> True, this Ca'Non example exists, but it's a law'/puS construction and not a "regular" ovs sentence, so no ambiguity can possibly exist.
> -- 
> Dana'an
> https://sacredtextsinklingon.wordpress.com/
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