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  5. "Dorbe' ghe'naQ bompa' be' tI…

"Dorbe' ghe'naQ bompa' be' tIn."

Translation:The opera is not over before the big woman sings.

October 19, 2018



bompa' was throwing me off at the beginning... I thought it was "the singing room/space", or maybe rehearsal room? Could it be used in such a way?


There is no such word so it would have to have a space in it. bom pa' could, indeed, mean "the song room".


To add to what jdmcowan wrote, while noun–noun compounds (where two nouns stand next to each other, with a space between them, and the first modifies the second) are formed freely, many Klingonists do not form new compound words (where two words are smooshed together into one new word) but only use previously-revealed compounds.

So we would use e.g. puchpa' "bathroom, washroom, restroom (that has a toilet in it)", vutpa' "kitchen, galley", jolpa' "transporter room", Qulpa' "research lab" (compare puch "toilet", vut "to cook, prepare (food)", jol "transporter beam; to transport, beam aboard", Qul "to research"), but we wouldn't form new compounds such as *bompa' "*singroom / *songroom".


Much the same happens in English. Lexicalized phrases like living room, bathroom, bedroom and so on will be found in a dictionary, but words or phrases you make up like songroom won't, and you shouldn't expect someone not in the know to understand them.

If I were talking to someone I'd just met at a party at my house to put their coat in the songroom, they might stop and ask me what the songroom looks like, because they don't know that word. They might be able to guess, but they'd have some uncertainty. If I told them to put their coat in the bedroom, they'd completely understand because they know that word.

And if you went out on the Internet and started insisting that the word for a room where a chorus sings is called a songroom, people would say that, okay, they understand what you mean, but songroom isn't "really" a word.

That's what you've got with Klingon. You can put words together any way you like, but if you put words together in public people are going to tell you that they're not really words.

Just put spaces between words when you do this, and everyone will be happy.


Thank you everybody. Since I found vutpa', puchpa', Qulpa',... I thought it was sort of codified as is the case with the the -wI' suffix.

I see this is not the case.

Apart from rooms, I have seen no words for various kind of buildings...

Only quch for generic buildings, but nothing for say, school, or house, or for administrative building, or shops...

Well, maybe replicators removed the need of most shops by now, but still...


qach building

DuSaQ is sufficient for school. DuSaQ vIjaH I'm going to school. But if you insisted on talking about the school building, you could say DuSaQ qach and everyone would understand you. House has been given to us by Okrand as juH qach.

There is no standard phrase for administrative building, but I wouldn't blink if you said loH qach administration building or even loHmeH qach building for administering.

Shop has stymied Klingons for years. Most resort to Suy qach merchant building. It may or may not be a lexicalized term, but it's completely obvious what it means. It's a "merchant's building."

Like I said, just be sure to put spaces between words in noun phrases you construct, and everyone will be happy. If you don't pretend that DuSaQqach is a single word, nobody will complain.

Listen to Power Klingon to hear lots of situations involving Klingon shops.


Somewhere (I think it might have been Eurotalk: Talk Now! ?) I think I read that Klingons don’t usually talk about going to a particular shop but instead about going to the shopkeeper. So they wouldn’t ask where a pharmacy is but instead where they can find a Hergh ngevwI' “medicine seller”.

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