"She ran."


August 11, 2018



I don't understand here how I know the subject is "she" rather than anything else. Doesn't "qet" translate simply to "run"?


The difference between "he" and "she" is irrelevant in Klingon -- they are both ghaH.

A bit like how in English, "they" could mean a group of men, a group of women, or a mixed group. We don't consider it important to distinguish gender in the plural... and Klingons don't distinguish gender in the singular, either.

(At least not among people. People -- or, more precisely, creatures that can speak and use language -- are distinguished from objects and other non-speakers, such as animals. Roughly like the difference between "he/she" and "it". Which English similarly discards in the plural, while Klingon maintains it.)

Since English -- for most speakers -- insists on specifying the gender of a third-person subject, you will have to pick one when translating from Klingon into English.

Without any context, you can't tell whether the subject is "he" or "she", and so translation exercises here will accept either of them.

If there is a context (e.g. a personal name), then only the appropriately-gendered pronoun (e.g. "he" for Torg, "she" for Mara) will be accepted.

Gender-neutral pronouns are not accepted on this course, even if they might be a good fit grammatically for the Klingon ghaH -- since most of them are not widespread enough to be considered standard, and the one that is most widespread (singular "they") can be confusing when we're trying to teach the difference between singular "he/she" and plural "they".

(It's confusing enough that standard English doesn't distinguish between singular and plural "you". We'll generally accept "you all" or "y'all" for plural "you", but don't consider that standard enough to use it in our own default translations.)


Technically, qet is he/she/it/they ran. When there is no object, verbs in Klingon take the null prefix in the third person.

You wouldn't know it is she as opposed to he/it/they. 'She' is just being given as one of the possible alternatives. If you would put "He ran" or "It ran" or "They ran" it would/should be equally accepted. If it is not accepted then it is just an omission.


The "she" is inferred from the lack of a prefix. That indicates the subject is one of four possibilities: he/she/it or they . The answer would still be just {qet} if prompted for one of the others too.


In addition to the other responses, the Klingon course uses the following convention: if there is punctuation at the end, it is meant to be a sentence; if there is no punctuation at the end, it it meant to be a non-sentence phrase.



If you (general "you") come across an exercise where this punctuation rule does not hold (e.g. a sentence is required but there is no punctuation at the end), it's almost certainly unintentional/a mistake -- please comment on the sentence discussion so that it can be addressed.

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