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  5. "bIvalqu' joHwI'."

"bIvalqu' joHwI'."

Translation:You are very clever, my Lord.

July 16, 2018



Needs a comma to set apart direct address.


Good point, thanks! I've replaced this sentence with a version that has a comma in it.


While an option, I don't think that's actually necessary; looking at how direct address is handled in TKD (admittedly light on punctuation in general), for example:

torgh HIghoS ("Torg, come here!")

lu' qaH! ("Yes, sir!")

KGT sometimes uses the comma and sometimes not (even when using other punctuation):

lu' joHwI'. ("Yes, my Lord.")

luq joHwI'. ("Yes, my Lord.")

lu', qaH! ("Yes, sir!")

lu', qagh! ("Yes, serpent worm!")

I don't believe the use of commas (or any punctuation) has ever been fully explained. My personal rule of thumb is to use the comma when it aids clarity; when the meaning is unambiguous, I normally leave it out.


The question is not whether it's proper to use puntuation in Klingon. The transcription system is for our convenience; it's not what Klingons use. But students have reported bring confused by direct address; they think it's a subject or object. Since it has nothing to do with Klingon grammar, it should be used to aid the student in understanding that it's direct address.


That's right -- a while ago, I and I think also jdmcowan changed a number of sentences in the beginning to use the comma consistently before/after a direct address, and not to accept e.g. "Mara, he understands them" for mara yaj, because of the many learners being confused by these vocatives.

So for consistency, I changed this sentence as well.


Fair point. However, I really do think we can stop doing so for sentences at this level, when the meaning is unambiguous. I certainly see the point with early sentences, whem the word order and use of prefixes are still novel concepts. However, at this point, it's been at least 12 skills since the bI- suffix has been introduced.

Indeed, if students at this level believe that a comma is required, when it actually isn't, we may be doing them a disservice in the long run.


Again, there is no "required" or "not required" when it comes to punctuation in Klingon. There are no rules of punctuation, because the Latin script we use is not Klingon; it's just a transcription. You might as well delete all punctuation from the entire course. Doing so would mirror what's in TKD, but it would impact comprehension.

Basically, there's no reason NOT to punctuate wherever doing so improves comprehension.


Basically, there's no reason NOT to punctuate wherever doing so improves comprehension.

I would disagree; the purpose of this course is not merely that students understand it, but that they learn from it. The comma is helpful in early lessons, when the grammar of Klingon is still unfamiliar, and seeing a sentence like bIyaj'a' torgh? (with the hints "Do you understand?" and "Torg (name)") is very likely to be misunderstood as "Do you understand Torg?"

However, if students at this level - 12 lessons after the introduction of the bI- prefix - have trouble understanding a grammatically unambiguous address such as this one, I would argue that that is an issue to be addressed, rather than reinforced.

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