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Suggestions for learning the prefixes?

I'm having a really hard time remembering what the different prefixes mean; I remember Da- and vI- pretty well, but tend to mix up yI- and jI- and don't remember the others at all. Does anyone have any methods they used to remember them? I have the boQwI' app, which has a chart, but of course I don't want to look it up every time I want to say or understand something. I feel like I need a whole module for each prefix, for it to stick in my head XD.

January 22, 2019



Take your disinclination to look up the prefixes every time as an incentive to memorize them.

I've never seen a good trick to memorizing prefixes. The best method I've seen is to memorize sentences that contain the desired prefixes and pull them out whenever you need them. For instance, the sentence chay' jura' How do you command us? What are you orders? comes from TKD and is a good example of using the ju- You (singular)/us prefix. Another, personal, example comes from a Klingon Scrabble game I once watched. Someone played retlhuH We breathe you (plural). Some people objected on the grounds that the word made no sense. I pointed out that it just takes the right context to make it make sense: suppose that you (plural) have died and we are engaging in a ceremony that has us breathe in your ashes. From that day on, retlhuH has been my model for the prefix re- we/you (plural).


Thank you, I will try to find/write some memorable sentences. I think that is why I remember vI- and Da- better than the others; I used to keep saying "tlhIngan Hol vIjatlh! tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh'a'?" to my brother (it was about the only thing I knew how to say at the time). Drove him crazy XD

  1. Write out or recite the prefix table over and over again until you can do it from memory, and until you can pause and mentally look up the prefix you want. This is still not knowing the prefixes, but it is a first step.

  2. Use the prefixes. Talk about yourself, talk about others, talk about groups and their interactions. Rather than avoiding the hard prefixes, reach for opportunity to use them, even if you have to pause to find them. The pause will shorten. Some of them get used enough that they will just become ingrained--as you've already noticed with Da- and vI-. Others will take some special occasion, like David's Scrabble game. One day a couple of people were leaving the room during an event, and I asked them, "qatlh Sumej? lIghIj'a'?" My pause before lI- was obvious. People laughed, not meanly, just knowing exactly why I paused: to looking up the prefix in my memorized but not yet internalized table. And now I know it.

The prefix table is THE highest barrier to conversing in Klingon, so work hard on it, but don't be afraid of it.


I used Tinycards to drill them. Here's the set I used:



Unfortunately Tinycards doesn't work on my phone, but thank you for the suggestion! :-)

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