"bIyaj'a' torgh?"

Translation:Do you understand, Torg?

March 15, 2018

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Is there no audio in this course?


Not at the moment, no.

It's possible that audio may be added later, depending on how popular the course gets.

But at a guess, probably not this year, so don't hold your breath.


Ah that's too bad. Fun course but I will wait until audio is added to learn. Too hard without.


Another good reason to wait is the current problems with capitalisation and apostrophes -- for example, words that start with an apostrophe may not show hints, and multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank exercises may show incorrect capitalisation, which is bad for a language like Klingon.

Hopefully this will improve over time, but the course is definitely not completely polished yet :)


Good points. For me this language is all about being able to speak and hear it for kicks and giggles. It has almost no value for me as a written language.


I own a copy of The Klingon Dictionary and while chapter 1 is "The Sounds of Klingon", they unfortunately do not use any IPA. I guess they didn't want to alienate the layperson? That doesn't account for the bad "plain-English" explanations, though. I mean, Marc Okrand is a linguist. I would have expected something less fuzzy.

Anyhow, this is my best attempt to render it into IPA:


b /b/ or /mb/ or /m/ (rare)
ch /tʃ/
D /ɖ/ or /ɳɖ/ or /ɳ/ (rare)
gh /ɣ/
H /x/
j /dʒ/
l /l/
m /m/
n /n/
ng /ŋ/
p /pʼ/
q /qʼ/
Q /qʼx/ (possibly /qʼʰ)
r /r/ or /ɾ/
S /ʂ/
t /ʈʼʰ/
tlh /ʈʼɬʰ/
v /v/
w /w/ or /ʍ/ or /ʍʰ/
y /j/
' /ʔ/

a /a/
e /ɛ/
I /ɪ/ or /i/ (rare)
o /o/
u /u/
aw /aʊ/
ay /aɪ/
ey /eɪ/
Iy /i/
oy /ɔɪ/
uy /ui/
ew /eu/
Iw /ɪu/


Same reason I quickly stopped the High Valyrian course. Without audio, spoken language does not stick in my brain very well. It shouldn't be that hard to get the audio recorded, so here's hoping for a quick fix.


Perhaps the Klingon text-to-speech engine developed by De'vID (De.vID.jonpIn@gmail.com) might be of help to add audio faster.


They are aware of it and KAG's variation of the same engine as well.


So just to be clear, this is "Do you understand, Torg?" as in "Hey Torg, do you understand?" and not "Do you understand Torg?" as in "Do you (not Torg) understand Torg (someone else)?" I.e. Torg here is sort of a vocative, correct?


That is correct. If Torg were the object of the verb in Klingon it would have to appear before the verb. The verb would then also take a different prefix: {torgh Dayaj'a'} "Do you understand Torg?" Don't worry about that for now, you will learn those details later. For now, you are correct, that Torg is sort of a vocative here.


Thanks mizinamo jdmcowan for you contribution! Have a lingot.


What indicates that this sentence is interrogative? Is it intonation or or a grammatical feature?


The -'a' suffix on the verb indicates that this is a yes/no question rather than a statement.


Is "You understand, Torg." the translation of "bIyaj torgh." ? (I just finished the 2 first lessons).

Thank you for your great effort creating this amazing course. I've been waiting months for it.


That's correct. And we are very happy to finally present the course to all of you.


I'm not sure I understand the English... Does this mean Do you understand "Torgh". or Do you understand Torgh when he speaks.... ??


You are speaking to Torg and you are asking him a question.

"Do you understand?" is the question you are asking Torg.

The ", Torg" at the end calls him by name so that he will definitely know that you are speaking to him.

Do you understand, Tim? :)


I put it together as "Does Torg understand?" Obviously that was wrong. But how would that be expressed, then?

I see part of my error is that bIyaj'a' is "do you understand", which is 2nd person, not 3rd person.


The prefix for "third person singular subject, no object" is nothing.

So "he understands" is yaj; "does he understand?" is yaj'a'?; and "Does Torg understand?" is yaj'a' torgh?

The bI- prefix indicates that the subject is "you" (one person) and there is no object.


Hold the phone ... Do I smell polypersonal agreement? :-D


Klingon verb prefixes encode both the subject and the direct object (or lack of direct object).

(Not necessarily uniquely, though -- for example, Da- is second person singular subject and third person object, but the object can be singular or plural. And mu- is third person subject and first person singular object, but the subject can be singular or plural. But bI- is uniquely second person singular subject, no object.)


nice profile pic! Luv it


You all are freaky in positive way :)


If they have a problem with using Romanji why wasn't this course done with the Klingon alphabet instead?

[deactivated user]

    The Klingon alphabets aren't ever really used anyway, even if they do look pretty cool.

    • 1403

    What does that mean? Is it cannon in Star Trek that the Klingon gave up their traditional alphabet?


    No. Canon clearly supports the Klingons using pIqaD. However, fans of Klingon are much less likely to do so. Thus many fans don't recognize it, can't read it, and don't produce written materials in it.

    However, some fans do use it and I, personally, would love to see increased usage of pIqaD. Thus I hope that one day we can add pIqaD to this course and teach it to a wider base. However, even I agree that it was low priority for this course and it took us long enough to get this together even without it, so for now it'll have to do as is.


    Is "Torg" the Klingons' version of a really generic name?


    In this course, it's used that way -- Torg and Mara are the default names, especially in the first few units.

    Later, a number of other names are introduced, for a bit more variety.

    To read more about the Torg and Mara known from films, see http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Torg and http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Mara .

    I don't think we know anybody else called Torg and Mara other than those two, so they may or may not be as generic as "John" or "Mary" on Kronos.


    You should have gone with Maltz for the guy's name. He was the informant who made the original dictionary possible. :-P


    In case you're curious, Maltz is matlh in Klingon.

    The existence of the verb matlh "to be loyal" may or may not be a coincidence.


    Was that a Sherlock ref, or am i going fangirl again?


    No, this is entirely within the Star Trek universe.


    I'll come back when it has sound and tables for mysterious verb forms dependant on both subject and object. Might be fun to get acquainted with the language...


    The only bad thing about no sound is that we will pronounce it our way, therefore, creating a bad habit


    Why is the H removed on the translation?


    I going to assume that you are referring to the "h" at the end of Torg's name.

    In English, an h after a g is meaningless. When English speakers hear the name the most likely hear a regular English hard g. So English speakers write the name without the h.

    However in Klingon, there is no hard g sound and the sound actually made is a fricative and represented in this Latin transcription method by a digraph gh.

    Sometimes I find the English spellings to be completely inexplicable, but there seen to be consistent patterns that the producers of Star Trek followed, so we do too.


    The Klingons on Star Trek all have Klingon names and English names.

    The English names are similar to the Klingon ones but usually not the same.

    The difference in spelling may have come from how Federation officers heard the Klingon names.

    Consider how the person who came to the Americas in 1492 is called Cristoforo Colombo in Italian, but in English we refer to him as "Christopher Columbus".

    That's the English version of his name and the name we use in an English sentence.

    Similarly, Torg is the English name of the person whom the Klingons call torgh when speaking in Klingon.

    • 1403

    I suppose it's good to know the concept. It's still a little weird. With the exception of Christopher Columbus and some European monarchs, generally names aren't translated. If an english speaker insisted on calling every "Jorge" they met "George" it would be weird if not racist.


    The practice of not changing names is almost unique to English and of relatively recent vintage, though. Most students of modern philosophy will know of George Santayana, but few will have heard of him as Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás. I rarely see books refer to Lewis XIV of France any more, but I still see Frederick Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire and Philip II of Spain. Even in the past, though, this was typically done when there was a translation readily available in English, as with saints names and names from other Germanic languages.


    That's generally true in English.

    I have seen such things in some bilingual countries, though, where someone might be, say, 'Aleksey' to his Russian-speaking friends and 'Aliaksey' to his Belarusian-speaking friends.


    This explains Torg perfectly well. I think that wor'Iv is much more likely to be Englished as something like Wortiff or Workiv, but I'll give Worf a pass. The name B'Elanna, though, as an adaptation of beylana is simply nonsensical. The only times we ever put an apostophe in a foreign word is to indicate a glottal stop or palatalization, and that only when we are trying very hard to match the native pronunciation. There is, though, no palatalization or glottal stop in the Klingon name. It is, though, an irritating habit of science fiction writers to toss in apostrophes, because they make a name look exotic, just like early heavy metal bands used to toss around umlauts for no reason. As the great H.P. Lovecraft once said, "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."


    Nonsensical or not, "B'Elanna" is the canonical English name of that character: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%27Elanna_Torres

    Blame the science fiction writers who created Star Trek -- the contributors to this course did not choose most of those names. (Only a tiny handful of names, four or five I think, were created for this course.)

    Also, most of the English names came first (e.g. Worf, B'Elanna); the Klingon names came later and had to work around the English names that had been chosen already and which did not necessarily fit the phonology of Klingon very well.


    Like jdmcowan said, different sound conventions occur in different languages, whether natural, or constructed. Name issues like this are common in Sindarin or Quenya Elvish studying circles, some people assimilate the name's sounds, some people translate the name's meaning. Ex: Steven in Sindarin: By sound: Thívon. By meaning: Ríon So theoretically if you were to go around having conversations in Klingon and needed a name, you would have to do the reverse process as with Torg; you'd have to see what sounds/syllable units in your name aren't allowed, then adapt them to Klingon.


    This makes perfect sense for Torg, but not for B'Elanna nor for Kahless.


    Yeah... with these the English spelling came first (which is inevitably a mess: English is weird) and when trying to get to Klingon, which has a far more regular phonetic system, things had to be changed.

    As a result: the character retained the English spelling in English because it was already established canon, but when referred to in Klingon the name's appearance is totally different.

    As for the relationship between Worf and wo'rIv... ugh. The name "Worf" itself couldn't occur due to that final consonant. So another consonant had to be thrown into the mix (') and an extra vowel (I) to make it valid. So ultimately: Worf is less the English-ized version of a Klingon name "wo'rIv", and more the Klingon-ized version of a more nonsensical name "Worf".


    Absolutely, and it is totally understandable from the mechanics of being a consultant for a movie or television show. Of course, I would hardly call B'Elanna English spelling, since we only use the apostrophe for possessives and contractions, and an actual English spelling for QeylIS would probably be Kalish, rather than Kahless.

    As for Worf, I agree with you, the less said the better.


    There's a theory that says that Klingons like to borrow names from alien cultures and they learn to say them in the alien way even though they change the spelling to match Klingon orthography. And perhaps, too, DIvI' Hol speakers are familiar with the original names and borrow spelling conventions in those languages even though Klingon speakers don't spell it that way.


    @ jdmcowan

    There's a theory that says that Klingons like to borrow names from alien cultures

    "I am Torg. Resistance is futile. Today is a good day to name your child."


    @jdmcowan "There's a theory that says that Klingons like to borrow names from alien cultures"

    So if I was to adapt my name into Klingon by sound (my name being Sindarin Elvish in origin, "Stone-like fist") I would have my ultimate nerd alias?


    Now that is some retconning I can get behind.

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