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"They are cheap."


January 18, 2019



This sentence raises a question: can people (or I suppose I should say, humanoids) be cheap as well, or can only objects be qutlh? In other words, could this sentence be translated into Klingon as qutlh chaH?

Follow-up question: can I attach the -laH verb suffix to a state/stative verb, e.g. qutlhlaH'a' yoqpu'? Or can it only be attached to regular, "full" verbs?


The dictionary often only gives short glosses, but I would understand qutlh only as "having a low price" and not as "unwilling to pay a lot of money" -- so it wouldn't apply to sentient creatures (unless they're being sold as slaves, perhaps).

can I attach the -laH verb suffix to a state/stative verb, e.g. qutlhlaH'a' yoqpu'?

I'd say yes.


Although even though qutlhlaH'a' yoqpu' may be correct in a grammatical sense, it would appear that it would not make sense to ask "Are humanoids cheap?" Unless, as you say, they're being bought or sold as slaves. :-) I suppose qur "to be greedy" or var "to be miserly" are probably better options.


qaltho' - cha'logh!


Verbs describing states or qualities are regular, full verbs. Don't think of them otherwise.

bItuHlaHbe'chugh bIquvlaHbe'
If you cannot be shamed, you cannot be honored. (TKW)
That's two of 'em right there.


I knew even as I was writing that that I was not using the proper terms to get my point across. What I meant was, can -laH be affixed (suffixed?) to stative verbs as well as to, for example, action verbs or transitive verbs?

I have sensed some opposition here to calling the "be" verbs, or verbs of quality, stative verbs (even though that's the easiest way for me personally to think of them). So I was trying to find a different way to refer to action or transitive verbs. Obviously, "regular, full verbs" was not a good or accurate way of doing that. :-) But even though stative verbs may be "full and regular" verbs, it seems to me that they are sometimes treated differently from transitive verbs in Klingon - for one example, I think there are some types of verb suffixes that can be applied to stative verbs, but not to action verbs or transitive verbs, and vice versa.

For example:

(1) you can say Hopqu' "it's very far away," but I don't think you can say jIqetqu' "I really ran" (unless, of course, you can).

(2) Similarly, I don't think you can use aspect suffixes with stative verbs: you can say bIleStaH "you were resting," but I don't believe you can say bI'ojtaH "you were being thirsty_ or bI'ojpu' "you have been being thirsty."

(3) I also wonder about Volition suffixes, which I personally would call modals: you can say Duj jItI'rup "I am ready to fix the ship," or jISoprup "I am ready to eat," but not, I don't think, jIwochrup "I am ready to be tall," or jIjubrup "I am ready to be immortal" (although I'm less certain about this, as it may be a semantic issue rather than a grammatical one).

So unless all of these assumptions are mistaken, there is, at least on some level, a fundamental difference between most stative verbs/verbs of quality and what I was trying to call "regular" verbs - verbs of action and/or transitive verbs. That's what I was trying to get at: which suffixes can and can't be used with which type of verb.


These verbs are not exactly the same as what are defined as "stative verbs", but there is a distinct similarity and a lot of overlap. I won't object if you want to use the term "stative verbs", but I will usually call them "be verbs" or "verbs of quality".

1) You can use it. jIQuchqu'! "I am very happy!"

2) You can use them. jIQuchpu'. "I had been happy." jIQuchtaH is a little difficult to translate simply into English. It would be something like, "I'm in an ongoing state of happiness." It might be most common to see that sort of thing with -vIS: jIQuchtaHvIS... "While I was happy..."

3) Using -rup with verbs of quality is a little odd, but there isn't a grammatical prohibition against them, it's just difficult to figure out just what you mean. I suppose there are very unusual circumstances where they would make sense, like if Q has just promised to give you everything you have desired: jIQuchrup!

Grammatically, the only suffixes that I would prohibit are -'egh -chuq -lu' je since the first two create a reflexive object and the third can only be used with first- and second-person objects. But that's true of all intransitive verbs, not just the verbs of quality. That doesn't mean that the other suffixes will always make sense. The point of language is communication. If you have followed all the rules, but failed to be understood, then you are not using the language well.

The main thing that makes the verbs of quality different from other intransitive verbs is that they can be used adjectivally.

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