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  5. "Ha'DIbaHmey'e' muSbogh tlhIn…

"Ha'DIbaHmey'e' muSbogh tlhInganpu' bIH yIHmey'e'."

Translation:Tribbles are animals that Klingons hate.

March 31, 2018



I don't think we've seen a sentence so far that marks two nouns with the topic-marker 'e'. Does Ha'DIbaHmey get an 'e' because it the topic of a relative clause?

In other words, " Tribbles are animals" = "Ha'DIbaHmey bIH yIHmey'e'", whilst "Tribbles are animals that Klingons hate" is "Ha'DIbaHmey'e' muSbogh tlhInganpu' bIH yIHmey'e' "? Right?

And if so, does the "muSbogh tlhInganpu'" necessarily come after "Ha'DIbaHmey'e'"? Or could it come before?


Relative clauses with two explicit nouns are ambiguous -- is it the object which is being relativised, or the subject?

For example, paq vIlaDtaHbogh is unambiguous: the book that I am reading. It has to be the object that is relativised, because that's the only noun there. Similarly, mumuSbogh SuvwI' has to mean "the warrior who hates me" -- it has to be the subject that is relativised, because that's the only noun.

But what does paq laDtaHbogh SuvwI' mean? Is it "the book which the warrior is reading" or "the warrior who is reading a book"?

This is where 'e' comes in: paq'e' laDtaHbogh SuvwI' is "the book which the warrior is reading" while paq laDtaHbogh SuvwI''e' is "the warrior who is reading a book.

Similarly, Ha'DIbaHmey'e' muSbogh tlhInganpu' Is "animals that the Klingons hate" while Ha'DIbaHmey muSbogh tlhInganpu''e' would be "Klingons who hate animals".

Just Ha'DIbaHmey muSbogh tlhInganpu' (without -'e' anywhere) would be ambiguous. (I'm not sure whether it's good Klingon and could mean either of the two possibilities, or whether it's simply bad Klingon.)

This use of -'e' is also explained in the tips and notes for this unit -- https://www.duolingo.com/skill/kl/Relative-clauses/tips-and-notes . See the second half of that page, in particular.

(Are you always reading the tips and notes before starting a new unit? Do you even know about their existence?)

And to answer your last question: Ha'DIbaHmey'e' muSbogh tlhInganpu' "animals which the Klingons hate" has to be in that order because Ha'DIbaHmey muS tlhInganpu' "the Klingons hate animals" has to be in that order: object–verb–subject. Turning that sentence into a relative clause doesn't change the OVS word order.


Unless you use a trick like setting up a classroom in Duolingo Schools, you can only access Tips & Notes once you reach a particular row. I came across this sentence in the “animals” units which is in Row 10; the “relative clauses” unit only comes in Row 26.

I wasn’t going to say this, but this frankly strikes me as a rather complex sentence for Row 10.

This said, thanks for detailed the explanation.


Thank you for that response; I apologise for being hasty. I assumed, without checking, that the sentence was from the "relative clauses" unit.

You're right that that grammar is too advanced for the "animals" unit; it shouldn't come until the "relative clauses" unit where this feature is explained.

I'll see what I can do.


No problem. You should note that there are actually quite a few sentences in the “animals” unit with relative clauses formed with “bogh”.


Yes; some -bogh words are in that section as a kind of preview, a but like how SuvwI'pu' is introduced before the plural marker -pu' in general.

Those particular -bogh forms are, I suppose, expected to be learned as individual items, rather than as something to generalise - the general form is taught later and then learners will be expected to be able to apply -bogh to anything.

We may have to see how learners do on this selection and possibly modify the lesson in the future.


So, the topic marker does not set the topic of the sentence necessarily, as a topic marker does in Japanese or Korean, but rather simply sets the marker for a particular clause? Then one could have a long, periodic sentence with multiple 'e' markers all in quite ambiguous relationships with each other?


In an interview in HolQeD, Dr. Okrand said that-'e' was really a focus marker and not really a topic marker. Most of the time he has used it, he has placed it on an object or subject in place. I would love to see it also used as a topic marker to indicate a third noun that the sentence is related to. We do seem to have one instance of Dr. Okrand applying it to a location in ST:V... qIbDaq’’e’ SoH Dun law’ Hoch Dun puS “You would be the greatest warrior in the galaxy," but that still seems to be focus, not topic.


I don't think you can have more than one -'e' per clause, and I think it's usually clear what function the -'e'-marked noun has in each clause: whether it's part of a "to be" construction or part of a relative clause. (And if it's neither, it's just a topic marker.)

I'm not sure what would happen if you tried to combine "to be" with a relative clause, as in "The officer killed the father who is a teacher".

Though I think there it only makes sense to relativise the subject, so it kind of might work out: ghojmoHwI' ghaH vav'e' HoH yaS (with the -'e' doing double duty). It wouldn't really make sense to relativise the "object" there (the officer killed the teacher who the father was??) so there's no danger of two -'e's in the same clause.

And in the simple case, you could join lots of main clauses together with conjunctions such as 'ej "and", each of which has an -'e', and I don't think the result is ambiguous: vavwI' ghaH torgh'e' 'ej SoSwI' ghaH mara'e' 'ach be'nalwI' ghaH lurveng'e' "Torg is my father and Mara is my mother but Lurveng is my wife."

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