Can the conjunction pagh (either/or) join sentences in imperative form, or only statements? For instance, could one say: "yIjegh pagh bIHegh", or would it need to be "bIjeghbe'chugh bIHegh"?

March 8, 2019


In English "Surrender or Die" is understood to mean "Surrender or else you will die," but the idiom is just different in Klingon. Also, it sounds weird to me to connect an imperative to a declarative with a conjunction. I'd accept {yIjegh pagh yIHeghrupchoH} where the conjunction is at least balanced with two imperatives.

The canon we have with imperatives shows that they aren't usually linked into sentence grammar, though. It's more normal just to bark one or more of them.

There is no grammatical rule disallowing conjoining imperatives. However, it seems Klingons may not consider it good style. Either command them to do it or give them an ultimatum. It seems a bit wishy washy to give them a command and then give them another option (even if that other option is death).

Doesn't seem wishy-washy to me. Imperatives aren't necessarily forceful, even in Klingon. yIjegh pagh bIHegh might not be the way I'd phrase it; yIjegh pagh yIHegh would be more likely.

Now, the problem here is that Okrand has consistently avoided this kind of formation, and gone with sentences of the pattern bIjeghbe'chugh vaj bIHegh instead. This may just be his stylistic choice, or there may actually be some kind of taboo about using pagh between imperatives. We don't know.

We do know that 'ej is allowed between imperatives. teplIj yIwoH 'ej pa'lIjDaq yIjaH (CK) for example. We've never seen qoj and/or with two imperatives.

As for yIjegh pagh bIHegh not being likely, this might just be down to the fact that you've got an imperative on one side and an indicative on the other. A strict English writing teacher will tell you to keep the same grammar on either side of a conjunction; the same advice (rule? taboo?) might also exist in Klingon. Again, we don't know.

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