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"Does one ride cats?"

Translation:vIghro'mey lulIghlu''a'?

February 21, 2019

7 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeGOgletree

It looks to me like the "-lu" suffix (or rather the indefinite subject) causes the object to work like the subject, hence the "lu-" prefix. "Are cats ridden by someone?" Is this an accurate interpretation?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jdmcowan

The indefinite subject is specifically not passive voice, so officially that is not correct, but I also find it to be a helpful way to think of the prefixes with -lu'. So while I can't quite call it "accurate", I will agree that it is a helpful "trick".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeGOgletree

That's what I wanted to know. Thanks a lot.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidTrimb3

-lu' does not cause the object to work like a subject.

English has what are called "active" and "passive voice," in which the direct object of an active voice sentence becomes the subject of a passive voice sentence.

I throw the ball.
The ball is thrown by me.

Klingon doesn't have this. However, it is sometimes possible to translate Klingon sentences with -lu' into the English passive voice.

vIghro'mey lIgh ghotpu' People ride cats
vIghro'mey lulIghlu' Cats are ridden; someone unspecified rides cats

Notice that in Klingon, the object remains the object after attaching -lu'; the only thing that changes, aside from the removal of the subject (which is the point of -lu'), is the unusual prefix. The prefix you just have to memorize; the object still acts like an object.

It's just a matter of what syntax you choose for the English. It's not relevant to the Klingon syntax. Don't get confused between the two. The Klingon grammar is not affected by the English grammar.

Sometimes you can't easily translate Klingon -lu' into English passive voice. naDev ba'lu''a' Does one sit here? The verb has no object, so you can't say Is sat here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeGOgletree

It's always good to cogitate about your comments.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Interestingly, in German, it is possible to form a passive voice in such situations: Wird hier gesessen?.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeGOgletree

5 months later, thanks for that insight.

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