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  5. "The child understood a man."

"The child understood a man."

Translation:loD yaj puq.

March 19, 2019

2 Comments


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

I need help understanding the word order. I get that it is Object-Verb-Subject (OVS), but Duolingo doesn't provide enough context to determine if "puq" is the subject. When I translated this sentence, I understood child to be the Object and man to be the Subject. Do I switch the Subject and Object around when translating from English to Klingon? child-S to child-O? man-O to man-S?


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

Be careful that you are not thinking in the broad terms of "subject" being what the sentence is about and "object" being a thing in the sentence. In linguistics, the terms "subject" and "object" have much more narrow meanings that have to do with who is doing the action and who the action is done to.

The "subject" is the person or thing doing the action of the verb even if the sentence is really about something else. To find the "subject", we have to ask who is doing the understanding here? The child is doing the understanding. In both the English and the Klingon, the child is the subject. In English the subject goes before the verb: "The child understood." But in Klingon, the subject goes after the verb: yaj puq.

The "object" is the person or thing that the action is done to. What is being understood here? A man is being understood. In both the English and the Klingon, a man is the "object". In English the object goes after the verb: "The child understood a man." But in Klingon, the object goes before the verb: loD yaj puq.

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