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  5. "Torg! Mara! Are you sleeping…

"Torg! Mara! Are you sleeping?"

Translation:torgh! mara! SuQongtaH'a'?

July 10, 2019



What does taH mean in this word? I thought SuQong'a' would mean are you sleeping, but don't remember anything about the suffix taH. Thank you!


In this course, you would be expected to translate SuQong'a' as "Do you sleep?" The aspect suffixes are officially introduced in the next row of the course, but a few "preview" sentences have been snuck into this unit. The -taH suffix indicates that the verb is an ongoing action in the time frame of the sentence. It doesn't say anything about when the action started, how long it has been going on, how long it will be going on, when it will end, or even if it is ever expected to end - just that right at that/this time the action was/is/will be continuously ongoing. While it is not exactly the same as the English "-ing" ending it is a very close approximation. Thus this course asks that you match translations of -taH with translations of "-ing". SuQongtaH'a' could be translated as, "Are you (all) sleeping?", "Were you (all) sleeping?", or "Will you (all) be sleeping?" For the English, "Are you sleeping?" the Klingon translation SuQong'a' (without -taH) will generally not be marked correct in this course.


You are basically correct: SuQong'a' would be how you actually ask someone Are you sleeping? It's equivalent to Are you asleep? except Qong means sleep, not be asleep.

A very literal translation of SuQong'a' would be Do you sleep? While this is perfectly good Klingon, in English we usually don't speak in the simple present tense this way: we are forced to use the present progressive tense. This is not because the concept is inherently progressive; it's just what contemporary colloquial English demands.

This course mostly requires you to mimic colloquial English grammar, even when the grammar you're mimicking is not really part of the concept you're translating. It artificially requires you to translate all -ing in English with either -taH or -lI' in Klingon. Just be aware that this is not how Klingon actually works; you only need -taH or -lI' in Klingon when you're actually talking about an action that you're expressing as ongoing.

That said, SuQongtaH'a' isn't wrong, per se. It's just expressing something slightly different than what Are you sleeping? is meant to express. SuQongtaH'a' is more like Are you continuously asleep? or Do you remain asleep? You could use this to ask if someone is asleep, though you're asking about details of the state that you're not actually interested in.

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