1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Klingon
  4. >
  5. "I don't understand."

"I don't understand."


March 17, 2018



I typed jlyajbe' and it says I have a typo in my answer. I see now that the second letter should be a capital 'i' instead of a lowercase 'l'. I wish there was a way that Duo could make the letters more clearly what they are - like using a serif typeface instead of sans serif. I will have to be hyper-observant I guess.


Thanks for that. I, too, was typing lower case "l".


What is the difference between jIyajbe' and vIyajbe'?


jIyajbe' simply says, "I don't understand," and doesn't refer to any specific thing, but rather implies that the lack of understanding is general and not specific.

vIyajbe' is translated as "I don't understand him," (or "her", or "it", or "them"). It is saying that some specific thing is not understood. To actually specify the thing that is not understood, you list it before the verb: paq vIyajbe' "I don't understand the book." But if the previous conversation or other context (like pointing at the book) makes it clear what the specific thing is, then you can just say vIyajbe'.

Have you read the Tips & Notes? I was hoping that we had given a fairly good explanation in the Tips & Notes. If you feel that our explanation was not sufficient please let us know how you feel it was lacking.

If you have not been reading the Tips & Notes, I would like to ask that you review those so we don’t have to continuously repeat the information that we have explained there.

If you are doing the course on iOS or Android, you cannot currently access the Tips & Notes through the app. To access the Tips & Notes, you will have to access the course using a web browser at https://www.duolingo.com/. You can still do it on your mobile device, but you will have to use the web browser instead of the app (or you can do it from a computer). When you click on a Skill, it will expand to reveal a Start button and a light bulb (and probably also a key to test out of the Skill).

If you click on the light bulb it will reveal the Tips & Notes and give you a detailed explanation of the grammar that is introduced in that Skill. If you have questions after reading the Tips & Notes, then please return to the forum to ask your question, explaining what you didn’t understand or what seems contradictory to you.


Thank you! Sorry about that!


No need to apologise. You can best make up for it by studying hard and speaking well!


This my understanding about the difference between the jI- and vI- prefixes:

jIyajbe' means, simply, "I do not understand". There is no object when the jI- prefix is used. jI- is also used when there are only adjectives following it. For example: jIwoch "I am tall", jIval "I am clever", jIQupbe' 'ach jI'IH "I am not young, but I am beautiful".

vIyajbe' can mean "I do not understand [her, him, it, them]" - there is an object whenever the vI- prefix is used. So, vIvuv "I respect her", torgh qoq [Thank you jdmcowan!] vIlegh "I saw Torg's robot".

I'm pretty sure the above examples are correct, but someone please correct this if it's wrong!


That's a pretty good explanation. You are getting it! The reason adjectival verbs get the jI- prefix is that an adjective can't have an object. And the only error I see is that qoq torgh means "the robot's torgh" and torgh qoq means "Torg's robot".


I will correct it! Thank you!


jI- is the prefix for I-none. vI- is the prefix for I-him/her/it.

E.g." jIyaj "has no direct object. It simply is "I understand" whereas " "Mara vIyaj jIH" is "I understand Mara." choyaj'a'?

*oh I missed that this was already explained. I leave it here purely for posterity.


All (except the correct answer) answer blocks have missing capitalisation.


It's a problem in Duo, not an error in the database sentences. The particular exercise it gave you is one where it recapitalizes sentences. They are working on fixing that.


And you have to make sure you don't miss an apostrophe ( ' ) or it will be marked incorrect. Not complaining at all though.


There's a tendency for English speakers to treat apostrophes as unimportant, but they are a full letter of the alphabet in Klingon, so if you leave them out you have misspelled the word. Of course, Duolingo tries to let simple spelling errors slip, but we had them set apostrophes as being more strict so that English speakers will get used to treating them as important. Now, if they could figure out how to be as strict about the difference between q and Q...


That's because in Klingon an ' is a full letter indicating a glottal stop. Fyi a ' is the letter qaghwI'. In Klingon a single qaghwI can change one word into a completely different word including it's pronciation. You really understand this a whole letted better if Duolingo staff got over themselves and allowed audio to these lessons.


Duolingo staff is working on a system for us to add audio. They seem to be running into a lot of programming bugs with the system, but they have actually been putting a lot of time and effort into it recently, so at some point, we should have it.


Oh? That's good news! Last I heard they weren't going to add audio because there wasn't enough interest. I guess it never occured to them that common sense would show that a lack of audio aids in lack of continuing a language course.


In Klingon a single qaghwI can change one word into a completely different word

Indeed :) Thus qaghwI is incorrect, since it's missing the final qaghwI' letter.


Ah. Good catch! Fortunately right now there is no word qaghwI without the ' so I can get by with that mistake, but yes, you are correct the word is qaghwI'

Learn Klingon in just 5 minutes a day. For free.