Glyph of the word 'fe'a'u'.


  • (v.) to be known

Fe’a’u amo!
“It is known!”

Notes: Okay, so I may have cheated with this word, but I wanted to give a shout out to Bryce Homick, who put together an authentic Halloween costume of Khal Drogo from scratch! It’s quite impressive! To take a look at this handiwork, check out today’s Dothraki post.

But regarding passives, there are some theories of syntax which hold that—necessarily!—passive versions of active verbs must be listed separately in the lexicon. That’s just crazy! The relationship between a passive and active version of a verb is so systematic, and so rarely produces actual different lexemes, that treating them like different lexemes is, to me, indicative of a failing in the theory, and not very illuminating about language. But that’s just what I think.

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2 Responses to “Fe’a’u”

  1. Ka kavaka Anthony Docimo ti:

    *looks* Holy…that’s an amazing and impressive accomplishment. Though I imagine it raises some eyebrows security-wise (all the blades, mostly)

    That bit about active/passive versions…are they arguing it on the logic that even (rarely) different lexemes, is sufficient reason to list them separately?

  2. Ka kavaka David J. Peterson ti:

    Actually, the argument is purely syntactic. If you follow tree-branching to (one of) its (many) logical conclusion(s), you end up with a situation where syntax alone isn’t good enough to capture meaning—that is, some information specific to a lexeme is necessary to make sense of the syntax.

    Once you have set in place what’s called subcategorization (the ability for a lexeme to bring with it syntactic information specifying what arguments it requires, and what roles that argument plays in the sentence), one is left to wonder what happens to subcategorized arguments when a verb is passivized. Do they disappear? Are they simply not realized? One answer was to suggest that, instead, there are pairs of verbs in the lexicon—active and passive—each with their own unique subcategorization frames.

    And, since the argument for the split was syntactic, not lexical, this explanation then buys you the ability to explain passive verbs that take on a life of their own, entirely separate from their active counterparts.

    I still don’t buy it, but the argument is sound, if you accept all the assumptions they hold to be true (which, generally, I don’t).

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