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  5. "HeSwI' DItlha'lI'."

"HeSwI' DItlha'lI'."

Translation:We are pursuing the criminals.

March 22, 2018



Disregard my report, please. I had confused this directional imperfect with the intentional perfect. Does Klingon drop the plural suffix on the noun when plurality is indicated by the verb prefix? If not, then why is the object not HeSwI'pu'?


The plural suffix is always optional in Klingon -- tlhIngan can thus be "a Klingon, the Klingon, Klingons, the Klingons". tlhInganpu' can only be plural: "Klingons, the Klingons".

It's never wrong to add the plural suffix, though, even when the verb prefix shows that the subject and/or object must be plural.

So you could equally correctly say HeSwI'pu' DItlha'lI'.


Thanks. A lot like Hungarian, Turkish, and, if I am remembering rightly, Welsh.


True in Welsh at least for numbers -- which is also where I personally tend to drop the Klingon plural suffix most often.

wej paq = tri llyfr = üç kitap = három könyv = "three book"

wej paqmey "three books" would also work, though, unlike Turkish or Hungarian. (But a bit like Welsh optionally, especially with higher numbers: tri o lyfrau.)

But: "how many books?" can only be paq 'ar?, not *paqmey 'ar?.


Shouldn't the plural of criminals be HeSwI'pu', not HeSwI' which is the singular?


The plural is almost always optional and a noun that is not marked with a plural suffix might be read as either singular or plural. Often context will tell you which it would be. If we were already talking about multiple criminals, you would probably assume I meant the plural, but if we had only been talking about one, you might be pretty confident that I meant it as singular.

However, there is another clue within this sentence. Sometimes grammatical context can make it clear. In this sentence, the use of the DI- prefix leaves no room for a singular object. For HeSwI' to have been singular the prefix would have to be wI-. The DI- prefix can only have a plural object. So in this sentence HeSwI' can only mean "criminals" (plural).

An explanation is given in the Tips & Notes. It’s a lot of new information and some details are bound to slip through the memory. But since Duolingo has hidden the Tips & Notes I want to make sure you know about them and where to find them. If you have not been reading the Tips & Notes, I would like to ask that you review those so we don’t have to repeat the information that we have explained there very often.

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, a key, and a light bulb.

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 for any Skills, then please return to the forum to ask your question, explaining what you didn’t understand or what seems contradictory to you.


This may be a beginner question, but is the difference between -lI' and -taH that -lI' has a natural conclusion to the action but -taH does not? The Klingon pocket dictionary suggests-lI' as 'in progress' and -taH as 'continuous'


-taH does not preclude an action with a natural conclusion, though.

For example, paqvam vIlaDtaH is fine for "I am reading this book", even though reading a particular book has a natural conclusion (when you've reached the last page).

You can also -- but do not have to -- say paqvam vIlaDlI', which is more specific about making progress to a known goal.


Yes, that's basically the difference.

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