"The inhabitants of this planet are Klingons."
Translation:tlhInganpu' chaH yuQvam nganpu''e'.
In a "to be" sentence, describing what something is ("Torg is a Klingon") or where something is ("the book is in the building"), the subject gets marked with the suffix -'e': tlhIngan ghaH torgh'e'; qachDaq 'oHtaH paq'e'.
It's simply a rule of Klingon grammar.
Also, the suffix is 'e' (including the apostrophes) and not simply e.
it is the rule, which i read, and will memorize, like the borg. it is simply stated as the rule, but its utility is omitted, if you say its utility is to follow the rule, i'm proud of you and your ability to follow rules, but that doesn't answer my question, i need to know why it's the rule............
In this kind of sentence, there needs to be a subject, a verb, and an object (though in Klingon they would be in the opposite order). tlhInganpu' is the object. yuQvam nganpu' is the subject. To equate those two things, as we do with the verb "to be", we have to figure out the verb. Klingon doesn't have a verb "to be". In Klingon you have to use a pronoun pretending to be the verb "to be". But since it is a pronoun, it acts as both the subject and the verb: tlhInganpu' chaH. Now we have a problem of where to put yuQvam nganpu' since we already have a subject pronoun. So we put the topic marker on it to make it as an extra topic in the sentence and place it next to the subject pronoun to make it clear that it is also the subject.
I don't think there's an answer for "why is that the rule?".
For example, in English, you have to use "do" to ask most questions -- we cannot say "Wrote you a letter yesterday?" but have to say "Did you write a letter yesterday?"
Why is that the rule?
I don't think there's an answer for that. That's simply how questions are formed in English.
Perhaps if you could explain how you would have explained that English rule, it would help me understand how I might explain the Klingon rule to you.
Max, have you studied Japanese? That would help you understand 'e' to some degree because Japanese has a word wa which functions as a topic marker.
Otherwise, think of 'e' as (in cases like this) indicating that something in the sentence is a topic for the sentence. So if I wrote Max'e', then I would be saying "As for Max..."
So you probably know I could say in Klingon, "he is strong" as HoS ghaH. I could add "as for Max to that to get "As for Max, he is strong." So I would write that in Klingon as HoS ghaH Max'e'. "As for Max, he is strong."
This is the only way to say "Max is strong" in Klingon because there is no verb To Be. Pronouns can act as verbs to make To Be type sentences. But nouns cannot act as verbs. Therefore, we must use the pronoun to make the sentence and then add the information about what noun the pronoun is referring to.
I hope that made sense. If it didn't feel free to find me anywhere you see me posting and keep asking about it until it makes sense.
HoS ghaH Max'e' would actually mean, "Max is strength".
The noun marked with -'e' would normally be required to appear at the beginning or in the object or subject position. Since you are already using ghaH as a subject, you cannot also put Max'e' in the subject position. You might say: Max'e' HoS ghaH "As for Max, he is strong." Or you might say, HoS Max'e' "Max (as opposed to others) is strong."
You can only put Max'e' after the pronoun when you are using the pronoun as a verb. In which case, HoS cannot be a verb and must be the noun version. Thus, HoS ghaH Max'e' can only mean "Max is strength."
The 'e' is explained in the Tips & Notes for the "Pronouns" unit:
Grammatically there's no restriction against. Stylistically, I would expect that some people prefer to always use the plural markers and some people prefer to use them as little as they can get away with (and I would expect the later to be more common amongst high level speakers). It would seem particularly odd to have the plural markers just randomly applied within one piece of text. However, even people who try not to use them might occasionally apply one where there might be confusion otherwise.
So, in the sentence given here, it would be very odd to apply -pu' to one and not to the other, but we do have it set to also accept those correct, but unusual sentences.