I wrote "Mara, I don't understand", is that absolutely wrong or is it a possibility as well?
We want students to keep things in the same order that they were in the original, unless there is a linguistic / grammatical reason for a changed word order.
In particular, we do not want learners to think that Klingon can simply be read from the end to the beginning.
As such, we expect "Mara, I don't understand" for mara, jIyajbe' but "I don't understand, Mara" for jIyajbe', mara.
I ask because I've seen earlier on that in some sentences the name comes last in Klingon, but first in English.
That shouldn't happen. If you happen to come across such a sentence again, please post a note on the corresponding discussion page.
We try to be consistent on this, but sometimes we slip up. Or it could be a very old sentence from before we decided to be stricter on word order.
But for consistency, we try to keep things in the same order where possible.
Or perhaps you're thinking of the times where the person named is not being called, but is the subject or object of the sentence. In those occurrences there IS a grammatical reason to change the order:
mara vIyajbe' would mean, "I do not understand Mara."
yajbe' mara could mean, "Mara does not understand him."
In those examples, the order does seem to switch since Klingon and English use different orders for the subject and object of the sentence. We have tried to be consistent in the course in using a comma to separate a called name, like in this exercise. If you see a called name where the order is reversed, then that is when you should notify us. Please also notify us if you are still confused about this or come across anything else that you could use clarification on.
I've seen jlyajbe' and vlyajbe' for "i dont understand".
Correction: you have seen jIyajbe' and vIyajbe'. (The correct spellings have a capital i, not a small L. Look for the small curl or hook at the bottom of a small L l that is not present on the capital i I.)
What is the difference
Read through the tips and notes for the very first unit again: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/kl/Useful-phrases/tips-and-notes
(Haven't found the tips and notes yet? They're on the website https://www.duolingo.com/ and "hide" behind the lightbulb icon that appears when you select a lesson unit:
Please always read the tips and notes before starting any new lesson unit -- they provide important grammar notes on Klingon, which works rather differently from the European languages you may be used to.)
As the notes say, the verb prefix jI- is used when the subject is "I" and there is no object, while the verb prefix vI- is used when the subject is "I" and the object is one of "him, her, it them" -- or something that could be replaced by one of those pronouns, such as "Torg, Mara, the rock, the houses".
Thus jIyajbe'. is "I don't understand." (there is no grammatical object in that sentence) but torgh vIyajbe'. is "I don't understand Torg." (here, "Torg" is the grammatical direct object of the verb). And just vIyajbe'. would mean "I don't understand him." or "I don't understand her." or "I don't understand it." or "I don't understand them." -- there has to be some object, but object pronouns (like subject pronouns) can be left out when they are clear from the verb prefix and there is no danger of miscommunication.
All Klingon verb prefixes encode information not only in the subject of the verb (as with verb conjugations in English or Spanish) but also on the object of the verb (as in some other languages such as Greenlandic or Basque).