ghobe', neH mech 'ej bIH qoqmeyvaD chu' tam. (Fingers crossed that my grammar's even close....!)
Looking again, I think I see what you may have been going for in the sentence after the 'ej. "They exchange them for new ones"? If that's it, then you should know that type 5 (syntactic) noun suffixes (-Daq, -vo', -mo', -'e', and -vaD) go on the adjectival verb (as part of the whole noun phrase - even though the rest of the noun suffixes would go on the noun itself, even if there is an adjectival verb).
Also, we don't know for sure that you can use -vaD for the thing being exchanged, but it makes some logical sense and I support that usage. However, the noun marked with -vaD should go before the object of the verb.
Rather than me rewriting it with those changes, I will leave it as an exercise for you.
So, second attempt:
ghobe', mech neH, 'ej qoqmeyvaD chu' [bIH] tam.
Any closer? Does the bIH help clarify the meaning, or not?
I'm tempted to add chaH as well, maybe even twice (as a subject), but that feels like too much.
I think the bIH does help clarify quite a bit even though it's strictly not required. And in this sentence, the chaH might be helpful as well. I'm not certain you can use -vaD with tam like that, but I like it and assuming we can use it, then I only see one remaining error. Let's look at the noun phrase qoq chu' which, as you know, means "new robot". When we want to add a noun suffix to this noun phrase, we have to figure out where the suffix is going to go. Plural suffixes will go on the noun itself: qoqmey chu' "new robots". In fact, most suffixes will go on the noun itself: qoqmeychaj chu' "their new robots". However, the class of noun suffixes which are called "syntactic noun suffixes" (-Daq, -vo', -mo', -'e', and -vaD) break this pattern and go on the modifying adjectival verb instead. So you would say, qoqmeychaj chu'vo' "from their new robots". Or veQ bIH qoqmeychaj chu''e', "Their new robots are garbage." So in the case of the sentence you are writing, it would have to be qoqmey chu'vaD "for new robots".
Well, isn't that just something I haven't learned yet! ;-) I actually would have LOVED to have put the -vaD at the end of the whole noun string, for lack of a better term, as it keeps the whole idea together, if you will. Otherwise, it feels like the -chu' is just kind of hanging out there by itself, and it just felt wrong. But, I didn't think I could do that, based on what I've learned so far in this course. Isn't it interesting that my intuition - that is, to try to keep qoqmey chu' together as the noun string - turned out to be correct, and trying to go by the grammatical rules I've learned thus far instead is what tripped me up, and prevented me from saying it that way? :-)
So, to wrap it up, do you think that ghobe', mech neH chaH, 'ej qoqmey chu'vaD bIH tam (chaH) expresses what I was originally meaning to say, which is ... drumroll please ...
"No, they just trade and exchange them for new robots"?
I'm not really sure that the course teaches (as it is now) about where the -vaD goes when using a verb as adjective. I summarized the rule in an earlier response, above, so I thought I would give a more detailed description when you repeated the error. There's a lot going on here, so I'm happy to be patient and repeat myself to help an earnest student! And it paid off - the sentence at the end of that last part is great.
Yay! Yes, it's actually been mainly through your, and others', responses to questions here in the discussion forum that I know where -vaD is supposed to go, at least thus far - the course itself doesn't necessarily stress its correct placement, though I'm sure it doesn't teach any incorrect grammatical constructions, either. Then again, there is rarely one singular source sufficient to teach any language; multiple and varied tools are always required.
Thanks again for your help and time in coaxing me towards a correct answer! I'm sure I'll keep trying these sentences, but maybe the next time I run into this complicated a structure, I'll just let it go. Then again, probably not. :)
Alternately, since the meanings of 'trade' and 'exchange' are so similar, maybe I should stop trying to make it a compound sentence and just say ghobe, qoqmeyvaD chu' [bIH] mech neH.
I do like this better, but it does not improve the grammar. There is still the question of using -vaD for the object "traded for" with mech and you still have the -vaD in the wrong place. With that correction (and assuming the controversial grammar is acceptable) this sentence is more direct and thus theoretically preferable if it sufficiently expresses your meaning.
It's simpler, but it's not what I originally wanted to say, which, in plain colloquial English, was something like, "no, they just trade (and exchange) them for new ones." Unfortunately, it turned out to be a far more difficult sentence to translate than I'd expected, with rules I haven't learned yet. Which I expected; I just didn't expect there'd be that many of them at once!
(Finally, the whole original idea behind the sentence is not that the Ferengi are necessarily incapable of repairing the robots themselves, it's just that the Ferengi in general love trade so much that they'd rather go out and look for new, better robots, make some negotiations, and maybe, just maybe, make a little profit in the meantime. I'm afraid the little joke at the Ferengi's expense has probably gotten completely lost in amongst all the translation talk.)
Anyway, thanks for all your help on this goofy sentence, Jeremy. And here's a handful of shiny new latinum - uh, lingots for your trouble. :-)
Perhaps not, but let's see what we can do to clean it up. Are you using neH as an adverb? neH breaks the normal pattern and goes after the verb. That's a minor error. If you meant it as a verb, then we have a problem because you have two verbs in one sentence with no indication of their grammatical relationship.
And that appears to be the problem with the sentence after the 'ej. chu' and tam are both verbs (and worse yet, have multiple meanings), but you have not used any suffixes to indicate which is the subordinate verb nor in what way.
Also, I'm not sure what the bIH is doing. I don't see any use of a pronoun in that position.
I'd love to see you try again!
Thank you! Yes, neH was supposed to be an adverb. So, of COURSE it's an exception to the normal adverbial placement, at the beginning of the sentence or clause. :-)
chu' was supposed to be an adjective ('new'). But, I temporarily forgot that Klingon has no adjectives, only stative verbs. So, I may have mixed things up there. You're right, several of these words have multiple meanings - often as different parts of speech - and that muddies everything. The bIH was really added only for emphasis - it shouldn't be required at all, I don't think - and as as such, since I'm unsure of the word order here, I probably put it in the wrong place. Likewise, I wasn't sure if the -vaD was even necessary at all, but since I was using bIH as the direct object, I thought I'd give it a shot.
Now that I'm just on the verge of being able to formulate (simple) sentences in Klingon, I'm excited to try it! I know I'm going to slaughter some of them, but sometimes that's the best way to learn - especially with the help of patient people like yourselves. :) Let me digest the next response below, and then I will try again!