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Just Some Klingon Grammar

So I have been loving Klingon on Duolingo, as it has become such a fun language to learn. But, I have been having this one recurring grammatical problem. When do you put 'e' at the end of a word - usually a name I believe - because I can't figure out when this is supposed to happen.

November 11, 2018



The other time when 'e' comes up in the course is when it marks a noun that is modified by a relative clause, especially where the sentence is ambiguous without it.

For example:

Duj ngevbogh loD'e' vISam = I found the man who sold the ship. Duj'e' ngevbogh loD vISam = I found the ship that the man sold.


And technically it's not required there either, but it sure is helpful.


Most of the time it is optional and emphatic. It brings focus to that particular subject or object. We seldom use it that way in this course, but often accept it as a variation in the possible translations. However there is one situation where it is absolutely required. When the sentence uses a pronoun as if it were the verb "to be" and also explicitly states the subject, then that subject must be tagged with -'e'.

The following sentences use a regular verb and thus do NOT require -'e', but they do allow it as an option.
beq ra' "He commands the crewman."
beq ra' tlhIngan "The Klingon commands the crewman."
beq ra' tlhIngan'e' "THE KLINGON (and not someone else) commands the crewman."
beq'e' ra' tlhIngan "The Klingon commands THE CREWMAN (and not someone else)."

But when using a pronoun as the verb and you explicitly state the subject, then the -'e' is required.
HoD ghaH "He is the captain."
HoD ghaH tlhIngan'e' "The Klingon is the captain."
There is no option without the -'e' on tlhIngan because it is grammatically required in sentences using this structure.

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