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"Who is your captain?"

Translation:HoDra' 'Iv?

October 1, 2018

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mike-lima

I expected I needed to find

HoD ghaH 'Iv (or 'Iv'e') it's n needed

but I see that ghaH is not needed. So 'Iv wiorks as a verb too?


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

Yes. 'Iv is really a kind of pronoun and as such can also take the place of the verb to form a "to be" type of sentence. Or as you may see David put it in other threads where we are discussing similar issues, it makes a noun-pronoun construction to form a "to be" type of sentence.

So HoD ghaH ("He is the captain.") and HoD 'Iv ("Who is the captain?") have the exact same grammatical structure. nuq also works in the same way.

HoDra' ghaH 'Iv'e' is also a legitimate way to ask the question, but I would be more likely to translate it into English as, "Who is it that is our captain?" I would personally expect the most common way for a Klingon to translate the given question would be 'Iv ghaH HoDra''e', but all three variations are accepted as answers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mike-lima

Yes, I have seen the thread, because it popped up soon after this quiz. I noticed there is also an explanation on the notes... That were unavailable to me because I was studying on the phone. I wonder what is blocking them on the phone, it's not like displaying HTML is that hard on android. Actually it would be useful to be able to read the notes even while taking the quiz... for example after failing an exercise. Oh, well...


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

Supposedly the Duolingo programmers are working on making grammatical information available on the apps. Though in the one language where they are testing it, they have completely rewritten the Tips & Notes into something they are calling Explanations. In any case, you should be able to access the Tips & Notes on your phone by opening up a browser. Is that not working for you or have you not tried that?


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

Now this is exactly what makes it hard! The given question: Who is your captain? Your natural English translation: HoDra' 'Iv. qar'a'? And your expectation that a Klingon would respond, HoDra' ghaH 'Iv'e' (which is what I did here). Do Klingons (and Japanese folk {ha, [wa when used like a Klingon 'e']}) really think in this way? To me it is like holding emphasis suspended in my head somewhere, when what I mean is just coming out of my mouth. Which is what makes it hard for me to translate back and forth without using a formula that I've memorized.

Doesn't most of that make sense?


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

I guess it just takes true fluency to "get it," Ka ou wa n se n se i.


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

In Japanese I usually spell it カーワン.


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

It is a foreign word.


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

There are three ways to translate this sentence grammatically and they are all accepted as correct for this exercise.
'Iv ghaH HoDra''e'
HoDra' ghaH 'Iv'e'
HoDra' 'Iv

That last one works because 'Iv (and nuq too, by the way) is actually a question pronoun. Just as ghaH can stand in for the verb "to be" (and is then translated as "he is"), 'Iv can also stand in for the verb "to be" (and is then translated as "who is").

In the first two translations, we could argue about whether the -'e' is marking a topic or acting in a special grammatical function separate from topics - and probably we should agree that really we would both be right. It is sort of marking the extra subject very much like a grammatical topic, but with special rules that only apply in this special grammar situation. Since "topic" is confusing you, it might be best not to think of this particular use of -'e' as a topic and just count it as a special grammatical usage.

I do know of two native Japanese who have studied Klingon, but I have never asked them if they have trouble with topics in Klingon. I imagine it would cause them the reverse problem that it causing you. In Japanese you mark almost all subjects as topics and only mark them as subjects when the topic and the subject differ. In Klingon you put all subjects in the subject position and only mark topics when they differ from the subject or object (except when using a pronoun as "to be" and then you mark explicit subjects as topics and put them at the end instead of the beginning).

I'm not sure if all that made it more confusing or more clear. If it made it more confusing, you only have yourself to blame for bringing up Japanese.


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

Your answer didn't make it much more clear, or make it more confusing. But it did make it feel saner to me. Thanks. Oh yes, the Japanese part is Very interesting.

After sleeping on it, I guess I do have a slightly better idea of what it's about.

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