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  5. "puq ghaH tlhIngan'e'."

"puq ghaH tlhIngan'e'."

Translation:The Klingon is a child.

August 25, 2018

3 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Esen.

Does ghaH play the role of determining the Klingon's gender here? Also, why is 'oH not used?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jdmcowan

Probably not in the way you mean. ghaH does not clarify sexual gender at all! You would use ghaH whether the Klingon/child is male or female.

Klingon uses a different kind of grammatical gender, but if you are not a linguist, the use of the word "gender" might be confusing. In linguistics, "gender" means the same thing as "category". So "male" and "female" are grammatical genders (or grammatical categories). Many languages divide things into male/female for how they treat nouns (for instance in Spanish, all nouns get classified as masculine/feminine even though most nouns have no intrinsic masculinity or femininity). In English we determine the sexual gender of nouns as being "male" (and using "he/him/his"), "female" (and using "she/her/her), or "lacking sexual characteristics" (and using "it/it/its"). Recently it has also become standard to use "they/them/their" as genderless singular pronouns.

In Klingon, grammar generally doesn't care about sexual characteristics and the grammar rules do not change for male/female/other sexual categorizations. Instead, the grammar categorizes things by whether the nouns are sentient beings and whether they can use language. In general you use different grammar for things that are beings that use language than you do for things that are not beings or not capable of using language. The ghaH/'oH contrast is one of these grammar differences.

When a pronoun refers to a single being capable of language (regardless of sexual gender), the pronoun used is ghaH. The Klingon in the sentence from this exercise is a being capable of language, so the ghaH pronoun is used. Whether that being might be counted as male or might be counted as female is not relevant or important and so is not mentioned.

When a pronoun refers to a single thing which is not a being or not capable of language, then the pronoun 'oH is used. So a Duj ("ship") and a targh (a Klingon animal) would each be referred to with 'oH. Thus you would say jan 'oH Duj'e' ("The ship is a device.") and Ha'DIbaH 'oH targh'e' ("A targ is an animal.").

An explanation is given in the Tips & Notes, but I know it’s a lot of new information and some details are bound to be difficult to understand or slip through the memory. However, since Duolingo has hidden the Tips & Notes I want to make sure you know about them and where to find them. If you have not been reading the Tips & Notes, I would like to ask that you review those so we don’t have to repeat too much of the information that we have explained there.

If you are doing the course on iOS or Android, you cannot currently access the Tips & Notes through the app. To access the Tips & Notes, you will have to access the course using a web browser at https://www.duolingo.com/. You can still do it on your mobile device, but you will have to use the web browser instead of the app (or you can do it from a computer). When you click on a Skill, it will expand to reveal a Start button, a key, and a light bulb.

If you click on the light bulb it will reveal the Tips & Notes and give you a detailed explanation of the grammar that is introduced in that Skill. If you have questions after reading the Tips & Notes for any Skills, then please return to the forum to ask your question, explaining what you didn’t understand or what seems contradictory to you.

The tips and notes that explain the difference between ghaH and 'oH are at https://www.duolingo.com/skill/kl/Pronouns/tips-and-notes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Esen.

Okay. Thank you.

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