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Using verb suffix -wI'

Would -wI' ever be used along with other verb suffixes? Klingon seems like it has the potential to be a very powerful and expressive language, but it seems to be limited in Duolingo's lessons by the fact that not all suffix combinations would translate nicely into English. Are such things simply not possible in the language, or are they not taught on Duo? (Or maybe I just haven't reached them yet)

June 9, 2019



I can't think of a lot of examples in canon of things like {vutqangbe'wI'} ("one who is unwilling to cook/prepare food") or {jeSvIpqa'wI'} ("one who is afraid to resume participation") but I think that may stem from the fact that most canon is produced as a result of a request for translation from English, and English speakers tend to request things that sound pithy in English. I certainly use these.

Verbs that contain both -lu' and -wI' are generally rejected as nonsensical, and prefixed verbs with -wI' sound weird. Maybe {? nuHIvwI'pu'} ("ones who attacked us.") I can't wrap my mind around {? vIjatlhwI'} for "the one that I speak."

Try out some experiments and we'll tell you if there's a better way to say something.


I looked through a lot of canon to see what examples there were. I found quite a few with -moH, a couple with -Ha', and no others. Words like vutqangbe'wI' and jeSvIpqa'wI' simply don't exist in the body of canon that we have. Whether that's because most canonical Klingon is translation from English, which doesn't name characters in this way, or because Klingons don't choose to use these suffixes with -wI', we don't know. But I see no reason why you couldn't have a character in a story commonly referred to as the vutqangbe'wI'. It's one of those things that actually does sound better in the original Klingon, all joking about Shakespeare aside.

I feel fairly confident that prefixes cannot be added to verbs before you turn them into complex nouns. Okrand never got around to addressing that with -ghach after being asked about it. I suspect the answer is the usual: you can do it for effect, but it's highly marked, to the point of being wrong even though it follows all the rules.


Yes, you can use other verb suffixes before -wI'. For example: chenmoHwI' creator, chungHa'wI' brake, ngaQHa'moHwI' key.

I would say that Klingons won't suffix verbs with abandon when they use -wI', but they don't avoid intervening suffixes altogether either. -moH is the most commonly seen, followed by -Ha'.

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