1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Klingon
  4. >
  5. "The doctor had accidentally …

"The doctor had accidentally dropped the scalpel."

Translation:bong Haqtaj chaghpu' Qel.

May 13, 2019



If I were to omit bong and simply write Haqtaj chaghpu' Qel, what would that mean? How would that differ from Haqtaj chaghta' Qel?


The absence of bong does not mean that the subject was trying to accomplish the action. Haqtaj chaghpu' Qel means simply that "the doctor had dropped the scalpel" and makes no mention of it being accidental or intentional. With the -ta' suffix, it says that "the doctor had accomplished dropping the scalpel," so there is some intentionality included as well as the information that he did in fact accomplish what he was trying to do (dropping the scalpel?).


Haqtaj chaghta' Qel -- maybe the doctor was trying to prove a point? In that case, would the addition of chIch emphasize that? Is the use of chIch with -ta' always emphatic, since it's redundant?


I don't know how chIch and -ta' interact. Maybe it's as you say, and chIch gets emphasized. Maybe it just sounds redundant. I think of -ta' as perfective with a connotation of intentionality, rather than intentionality with a connotation of perfective, so I think that adding "intentionally" to an English translation of plain -ta' is overtranslating.


Both mean the doctor dropped the scalpel; the doctor has dropped the scalpel. The one with -ta' means the doctor set out to drop it on purpose and in fact accomplished it, while the one with -pu' doesn't say whether the doctor did it on purpose.

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