1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Klingon
  4. >
  5. "Qo'noS wIjaHlI'."

"Qo'noS wIjaHlI'."

Translation:We are on our way to Kronos.

March 29, 2019



Sorry to bother you all again but I REALLY don't understand why some sentences that include a verb describing a movement and a direction to a place are translated with a object-Daq verb (vaS'a'Daq yIt torgh) and some as object verb-lI' (the sentence above) and some as object verb only (I went to a kitchen : vutpa' vIjaH). It frustrates me that I don't understand the difference.


There is a class of verb called "verb of motion", which include in their definition that the Object is the destination, and thus the -Daq is superfluous. You need to be able to identify which those are, but I understand {leng, jaH, paw, ve'} are in that class, and things like {qet} and {yIt} are not. e.g. {Duj vIleng} "I travel to the ship" and {DujDaq jIleng} "I travel on the ship".


"Verb of motion" has long been a popular term, but it's more correctly described, as it is in TKD, as "verbs whose meanings include locative notions." It's not just that their objects are destinations; their objects are LOCATIONS. For instance, if I'm traveling along a road, I can say taw vIghoS. The road (taw) is not my destination; it is my path. The object of ghoS is the path one travels, and that path might be defined by your destination (e.g., yuQ wIghoS We go to the planet; our path is the to-the-planet path).

Meanwhile, not all verbs that describe motion are "verbs of motion," and this shows the weakness in that terminology — a terminology that Marc Okrand does not use. qet run and yIt walk certainly describe forms of motion, but they aren't verbs that include locative notions. "Place" doesn't define what they're all about.


A verb with a -taH or -lI' means that the verb is describing an ongoing action. -lI' simply means the ongoing action has a known stopping point. -taH doesn't specify whether the stopping point is known or not. You can always use -taH even where you might be able to use -lI'.

yIttaH torgh Torg is walking (an ongoing action)
yItlI' torgh Torg is walking (an ongoing action with a known stopping point)

A verb with -pu' or -ta' means that the verb is describing a completed action. -ta' means the completed action was undertaken deliberately. -pu' doesn't specify whether the action was undertaken deliberately, and you can always use -pu' even where you might be able to use a -ta'.

yItpu' torgh Torg walked (a completed action)
yItta' torgh Torg walked (a completed action that was undertaken deliberately)

A verb without any of these suffixes is not ongoing and not completed: it is none of the things described by those suffixes. You can use a verb this way to describe a general tendency, or a hypothetical event, or an abstract concept, or any other number of things that aren't ongoing or completed.

yIt torgh Torg walks (maybe it's his habit to walk, or maybe someone is asking Torg's parent if baby Torg is walking yet — there are lots of possible uses)
yItchugh torgh if Torg walks (a hypothetical action)
yItmeH torgh in order for Torg to walk (another hypothetical action)
yItlaH torgh Torg can walk (describing Torg's ability, not an action he's taking)

Now here's the big problem: the Duolingo course gets this wrong. They have decided that, because the English translations of these sentences can't line up one-for-one with the Klingon sentences, they're going to FORCE the sentences to line up. yItpu' could be translated walked, have walked, had walked, or will have walked, but the course usually does not let you use just walked. Sometimes an English verb with -ing doesn't refer to an event whose continuousness is meant to be described: Torg is walkin home could mean that Torg is in the ongoing process of going home (juH qachDaq yIttaH torgh), but it could also mean that Torg's mode of transport is walking rather than driving (juH qachDaq yIt torgh). But this course will only let you translate -ing with -taH or -lI'. This is the greatest weakness of this course.

So go ahead and artificially translate every -taH or -lI' with an -ing and every -pu' or -ta' with an English perfect tense (have done, had done, will have done), but understand that it's not correct Klingon.


Thank you all very much for such detailed answer to my question! Very appreciated. And David - thank you for all the answers to all my questions (other threads), I will study what you wrote more deeply tomorrow, as some information includes the grammar chapters I haven't learnt yet (I'm learning on Duolingo, lesson by lesson, only moving forward after 1 or 2 skills have turned gold so I'm very slow).


We're heading for Kronos (Kronos) ♪ And still we stand tall ♪

On a more serious note, is "heading" an acceptable translation from Klingon to English?


Sure. It's probably not in the list of good translations, but that would be because they can't think of and add every synonym, not because it's wrong.


In fact, it is in the list. I'm guessing DarthGandalf is just wondering about an option that they haven't tried yet.

Learn Klingon in just 5 minutes a day. For free.