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"What is English?"

Translation:DIvI' Hol nuq?

March 22, 2018

2 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/forestdruid

Why is it 'nuq' and not ''oH'a''? Do they both say 'what is' or am I missing something?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jdmcowan

Pronouns stand in for nouns and in Klingon can also be used as verbs.

'oH is a pronoun that can stand in for singular things that are not beings or can't use language - we usually translate this as "it" which has a similar meaning in English. So when we put a noun in front of 'oH it means, "It is {the noun}." Adding the -'a' suffix turns it into a yes/no question. So {noun} 'oH'a'? means, "Is it {the noun}?". It is a closed question that does not ask for definition or explanation, just "is it?" or "is it not?"

nuq is a pronoun that can stand in for one or many things that are not beings or not users of language, and asks for identification or definition - we usually translate this as "what?" which has a similar meaning in English. We don't use the interrogative suffix -'a' with question words, so we won't add it with nuq. Thus when we put a noun in front of nuq it means, "What is {the noun}." Therefore DIvI' Hol nuq? means, "What is English?". It is an open question that could be answered with all sorts of definitions or explanations, but yes/no would not make sense as an answer.

By the way, you could also turn the question around (a little like "English is what?") and ask, nuq 'oH DIvI' Hol'e'?

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