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  5. "His name is Gowron."

"His name is Gowron."

Translation:ghawran 'oH pongDaj'e'.

May 25, 2018

14 Comments


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

Is the 'oH necessary here? Could you not just say "ghawran pongDaj'e' "?

July 7, 2018

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

In Klingon, two nouns in a row do not equate those two things. Instead they form what's called a genitive relationship. The first one describes the second one in some way. ghawran pongDaj'e' means something like, "as for his name of Gowron".

To equate two things in Klingon like the verb "to be" does in English, you need to use a pronoun as if it were a verb - in this case 'oH.

July 7, 2018

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

Thanks for both quick responses! After reading the comments above again, I now see why the pronoun "it" is necessary. You guys really are spectacular at explaining these nuances clearly!

So is there no copula in Klingon at all, or is it just not used in this sort of "A equals/is B" sentence construction? I thought maybe 'e' was the verb "to be," but apparently it's a topic marker (something I've seen in the form of a suffix in only one other language I've ever studied, incidentally).

July 8, 2018

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

Dr. Okrand thought it would be fun (and perhaps almost alien-like) to have no verb for "to be", but a language has to have a copula, so he came up with this idea of using pronouns for the copula.

July 8, 2018

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

Well, there are several Earth languages which, while they do have a copula, don't use in the same way (or rely on it as heavily) as English and most other Western languages do (Russian and Chinese immediately come to mind). And that concept does seem alien to a lot of new language learners! A lot can be accomplished with stative verbs to describe qualities, and possessive structures to show existence. But when it comes right down to it, all languages do need to have SOME sort of copula. Now that I'm beginning to learn the copula in Klingon, I'm seeing certain parallels to Russian and Chinese. So I suspect that Dr. Okrand was aware of them. :-)

July 20, 2018

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

Based on conversations I've had with Dr. Okrand (but failure to ask directly), I believe that he had studied a little Chinese, but not Russian. But he has studied linguistics in general and, I'm sure, is aware of a great many features from languages that he hasn't directly studied.

July 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidTrimb3

It's necessary. When saying that one noun is another noun, you must make one noun the topic, and follow the formula "noun pronoun topic-'e'."

July 7, 2018

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

Without the 'e,' it would read, "Gowron it his name." Do I have this right?

May 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidTrimb3

In the standard dialect, the -'e' is required. It is ungrammatical to leave it off.

May 26, 2018

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

That much I know. What the exact function of the 'e' is, is what I'm trying to understand.

May 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidTrimb3

It marks the topic of the sentence. You could translate it As for his name, it is Gowron.

A Klingon "to be" sentence follows a formula that cannot be deduced from the basic Object-Verb-Subject sentence. You just have to follow the formula, and you can't arbitrarily change it.

May 27, 2018

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

Thanks.

May 28, 2018

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

Something like that, yes.

(Though there are Klingon dialects where it would mean "His name is Gowron" -- but not in the standard dialect we teach here.)

May 26, 2018

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

I don't see myself trying to learn Scots; likewise I'll stick to the standard. Thanks.

May 26, 2018
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