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  5. "po'be'chugh vay', vaj chaq j…

"po'be'chugh vay', vaj chaq jan ghor."

Translation:If someone is not skilled, then perhaps he will break the device.

March 22, 2018



I wrote, "If someone is not skilled, perhaps they will break the device." It was also counted wrong. Technically, it is wrong since "they" is plural, but colloquial English frequently uses "they" for 3rd person singular of indeterminate gender.


That's true.

On the Klingon course, though, it's best not to use singular "they" - we want to make sure you understand when to use appropriate suffixes for third person singular (he/she/it) and plural (they).


But singular "they" is in fact correct English, and it's actually a better translation here than randomly (or otherwise) assigning a gender that isn't there in the Klingon.


I agree. I understand mizinamo's reasons for not making it a preferred translation, but it should be accepted.


An utterly irrelevant comment: I hate when someone says, "they," instead of "he" or "she." I do it too, and it's a hard habit to break.


I wrote: If one is not skilled, then maybe the device will break. It was counted wrong. Was what I put inaccurate?


The meaning behind both sentences is similar enough that we could probably consider them to really be the same thing. However, the grammatical structure is very different. In English "one" is more general and vague than "someone". Also, you have used the passive voice (avoided stating who would do the breaking). There is a way to make that kind of implication in Klingon, but here there is an implication of a specific known subject (apparently the "someone" from the preceding sentence), even though it's not explicitly stated.


Oh I think I see. Hovering over ghor states that this means "it will break." The "he" is actually just implied? We assume the subject carries over into the second half of the sentence.


Unless you have reason to believe that another subject is more likely, you should always assume that the subject has not changed and that all following verbs with a similar prefix refer to the same subject.

When it says "it will break" it does not mean that the device will break. Those hints appear in multiple sentences and so sometimes show variations for the different sentences. We probably have a sentence somewhere where something breaks another thing. In that case, ghor without a prefix could mean, "it breaks it". In this case, carrying the vay' over from the first sentence ghor means, "someone breaks it" (referring to the device which is the object).


Similarly, but with a slight difference, I wrote "If someone is not skilled, then maybe the device will break." However, I see now that in order to arrive at that translation, the second half of the sentence would have to be ...vaj chaq qhor jan, making the device the subject of the second clause by moving it to the end of that clause. That's assuming that ghor can also be used intransitively. Can it?


From canon examples of usage the subject is breaking the object. Transitive verbs can still be used without objects in which case there is an implied indefinite object. ghor jan would mean, "the device breaks (things in general)".


Thank you, gentlemen! It seemed like it might be a dumb question, but now I'm glad I asked. Otherwise, I'd have assumed ghor could be intransitive as well as transitive. Plus, I now have further explanation as to why my original translation doesn't work/was rejected. You guys are good! :-)


That's assuming that ghor can also be used intransitively. Can it?

I don’t think so.

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