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  5. "be' yaj torgh. be' yajbe' ma…

"be' yaj torgh. be' yajbe' mara."

Translation:Torg understood the woman. Mara did not understand the woman.

April 24, 2018



Can someone explain the syntax of Klingon? I still don't get it...


A basic sentence has the structure object-verb-subject. The subject is the entity performing or experiencing the verb. The object is the entity upon which the action is performed. In Klingon you put the object before the verb and the subject after it.

Here, we have Mara understanding a woman. The verb is yaj understand. Who is doing the understanding? torgh Torg. Who or what is being understood? be' woman. Hence: Torg understands the woman.

Klingon doesn't have articles, and plural suffixes are usually optional, so be' can be interpreted as woman, a woman, the woman, women, or the women as required by the context. (Most Duolingo Klingon sentences are isolated and without context, so you can pick any interpretation you like. A perfectly valid interpretation here could be Torg understands the women.)

Klingon also doesn't mark verbs for tense, so the sentence doesn't tell you anything about WHEN it happens. It might have happened in the past, it might be happening now, it might be happening in the future, or it might even just be a general statement of fact, not relevant to any particular time.

Klingon DOES mark verbs for aspect, the manner in which an action is done, and how it unfolds over time. There are four main aspect suffixes, two of which mean completed and two of which mean continuous. If you don't use one of those suffixes, the action is not completed and not continuous. So be' yaj torgh may not tell us when the understanding happens, but it does tell us we're not saying anything about Torg completing his understanding, and we're not saying anything about Torg having an ongoing understanding. It probably means we're just attributing an understanding of a woman or women to Torg.

And that's most of what you need to know in order to successfully translate a basic sentence like this into English: word order, no articles, optional plurals, and what it means to lack an aspect suffix.


Have you read the tips and notes for this unit yet? https://www.duolingo.com/skill/kl/Useful-phrases/tips-and-notes

On the website, after selecting a unit, don’t click on Start but on the little lightbulb next to Start to see the tips and notes. After reading them, you can start the unit from that page.

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We’ve tried to explain Klingon grammar in the tips and notes section for each unit, and we strongly recommend using those, as Klingon is rather different from English and Duolingo’s method of teaching does not explain grammar, so if you try to learn without reading our notes, you’re making things unnecessarily difficult for yourself.


I wrote "Torg understands the woman. Mara does not understand the woman." and got marked wrong. As I understand, tenses are based on context in Klingon, so would that be wrong?


Your sentence is a perfectly fine translation and is one of the accepted alternatives, so I don't know what might have gone wrong in your case.


I put "Torg understand the woman. Mara did not understood the woman." and get wrong. What's wrong with the phrase?


Your English tenses are mixed up again. For present tense third person it should be "Torg understands". But then in the second sentence you are trying to use the past tense. There is no reason to change tense here. Also in your second sentence "do" should be conjugated, as you did, but then the main verb should be in the infinitive: "did not understand".


Better take a English lesson first, right? XD qatlho' 'ej Qapla'!


Until Duolingo comes out with the Klingon for Portuguese speakers course, this is your only choice. We'll help you as we are able.


Wow. But will take a time until there! We need to consolidate the American Klingon speakers. Then maybe Duolingo will think about take this course to portuguese! Because, idw, but I just meet one other Brazilian guy that wants to learn Klingon. And look at the Brazil's size! ^^'

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