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  5. "Kahless and Lukara saw him."

"Kahless and Lukara saw him."

Translation:lulegh qeylIS luqara' je.

July 12, 2018



I know we haven't quite reached them yet in the lesson plan, but shouldn't there be a 3rd person singular pronoun as the direct object: "ghaH lulegh qeyliS lukara' je" ? It seems odd for it to be omitted.


Pronouns are nearly always be omitted in basic sentences. You only include them if you need to hang suffixes on them (ghaHmo' jIQuch Because of him/her, I am happy) or if you want to be extremely clear (bIH legh HoD The captain saw them [non-speaking things, not him/her or it]; jIQuch jIH I am happy [spoken very carefully]).


Yeah, sorry, I realized my mistake about 5 minutes after I posted that, but I thought it was for a different reason (having to do with ghaH being used only with the copula). I guess I don't completely understand yet all the cases in which it's appropriate for ghaH, or any pronoun for that matter, to be used vs. omitted; it almost seems like there's something about the third person that makes it more appropriate to omit it than the first or second person pronouns.

It's especially confusing when this example is lumped into a lesson with a bunch of other sentences that DO require a pronoun. I (and I know there are others) had thought that with all of these pronominal verbal suffixes we learned early in the course - which act like verb conjugations, but the choice of which is affected by the object AS WELL AS the subject of the verb - that pronouns would rarely, if ever, be necessary at all in Klingon. Then, suddenly, pronouns are introduced as well. Okay, so we add in pronouns. But then we're told they're almost always omitted. I suppose that eventually, all will become clear, but at the moment, it's still a bit confusing. :-)


Don't think of verb prefixes as pronouns, think of them as conjugations that simply agree with the subject and object, whether the subject and object appear explicitly or not.

For example, if I say qalegh I see you, don't think of this as legh being given a subject/object combination with qa-; think of it as legh getting a SoH object and a jIH subject: SoH qalegh jIH. The qa- is simply there because it has to be. Now you can drop the pronouns because you don't need them to understand the sentence. You know what they HAVE to be whether you can see them or not. They're still there, just invisible.

If you think of it this way β€” and that's really what's going on anyway β€” you should better be able to picture why Klingon sentences work the way they do with pronouns.

Remember: the prefix is not a pronoun, it just agrees with the nouns and pronouns.


Though they are rare, you will encounter them. Thus we must teach them. Perhaps that makes them seem more prominent than they are.


I think I was just frustrated at the time. Having had a few days' more practice with it, it makes more sense now. And I do think of them as conjugations; I always have. :-)

But, this raises another pronoun question that's been bugging me. I made a table for the various conjugations/prefixes (because of course I did), and I noticed there are gaps: obviously where the subject/object become reflexive, but also where the person agrees, but the number does not: e.g., subject I/object us; subject you (singular)/object you (plural), etc. I realize that sentences containing such combinations will be very rare, but they could arise from time to time.

For example, to use vocabulary we already know at this stage, take the sentence "Will I (still) respect us tomorrow?" How would that be rendered into Klingon? Are there conjugational prefixes for such combinations, but precisely because they are rare, so we haven't learned them yet? I could use the pronoun maH for the object, but I find myself struggling to find the correct prefix to conjugate the verb vuv with.

I know, I'm being picky about a very obscure area of language. But still, the mind wonders. :-)


Verb prefix charts appear in The Klingon Dictionary (you should really get a copy). Here's a copy: https://daily-klingon.tumblr.com/post/175753884887/lesson-10-verb-prefix-tables

Regarding the gaps, TKD says this: "β€”in the chart notes subject-object combinations which cannot be expressed with the Klingon verb prefix system. For such meanings, suffixes (section 4.2.1) and/or pronouns (section 5.1) must be used." By suffixes, it means the reflexive combinations, -chuq and -'egh. For something like I respect us, there is no clear way to say this. How one would use a pronoun to say this is not mentioned.


Thanks very much for the reply. As mentioned, I already made up my own table of verb prefixes a couple of weeks ago, and have been filling in the prefixes as we learned them. (I am a trained linguist; I guess I can't help it.) But, I can double-check my chart against the official one for errors. ;-)

I did have "-egh" in the spaces where the person and number match, but what to do where person matches, but not number, is less clear. I guess -chuq would make sense under some circumstances. As for how to express this using a pronoun, though, I finally appear to have stumped the system with one of my questions about linguistic obscurities. Qapla'! There's something to ask Dr. Okrand, should I ever get the chance. XD


P.S. And two lingots for you, for putting up with my bizarre questions. :)

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