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"How many robots are repairing the space stations?"

Translation:tengchaHmey tI'taH qoq 'ar?

March 8, 2019

7 Comments


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

I wrote "tengchaHmey tI'taH qoqmey 'ar," which was not accepted. Is the pluralizing suffix never used on the noun in conjunction with 'ar in a construction such as this?


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

Edit: My answer below is incorrect, but since following answers refer to it, I will leave it intact. Please see David's reply for the correct answer.

It is not clear. It has never appeared as such in canon, but nor have we been explicitly told that it is not allowed.


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

Yes we have.

"’ar how many? how much? follows the noun to which it refers. It can never follow a noun with a plural suffix (-pu’, -mey, -Du’; see section 3.3.2)." (TKD)


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

qatlho', David! I remember we discussed the pluralization of nouns with pagh (yIH vs. yIHmey), in which case either the singular or the plural is acceptable, but I suspected the situation with 'ar might be different. I will add this information, complete with source, to my knowledge banks.


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

DopDaq qul yIchenmoH QobDI' ghu'.

I clearly did not read the question carefully and I was thinking about the question of whether the whole phrase is treated as a plural, even though that is not what is actually asked. As David explains, -mey is not allowed on the noun before 'ar.

The question that my mind mistakenly went to would effect the prefix in the sentence if tengchaH were singular. Would tengchaH lutI'taH qoq 'ar? be allowed? That is apparently the question I was answering.


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

Thanks for the clarification. That's actually a good question, too. It would certainly seem that we should NOT use the lu- prefix if the subject - qoq 'ar - cannot be plural in Klingon. It's slightly frustrating that we don't have a clear canonical answer or example, but in the case of your revised sample sentence with tengchaH, I would continue to use no prefix on the verb until told otherwise.

Looking at it again, I realize that there are other Earth languages (Mandarin Chinese is the first one that comes to mind) that use the singular form only on the noun that the question word for "how many" refers to. So, it's really only the fact that our mutual mother tongue - English - takes the plural form in such a case that serves to confuse us here.


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

Upon checking again, I now see that the Tips and Notes for the Numbers section do say of 'ar that "This word follows the singular form of the word that it is inquiring about" (emphasis added by me). I had checked this before I posted my query, but apparently the tip about the singular form was so subtly written that I completely overlooked it each and every time I read it. :-)

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