1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Klingon
  4. >
  5. "The brave man hates the tall…

"The brave man hates the tall woman."

Translation:be' woch muS loD yoH.

July 17, 2019



I wrote woch be' muS yoH loD. Why was that wrong?


Some Klingon verbs can act as either verbs or as adjectives. In English these are usually just adjectives, like, "tall" or "brave". In English we can attach such adjectives to the noun to describe it, as in "The tall woman walks." The actual purpose of that sentence is about "walking" and the adjective just adds a description to the noun. In English we can also pair such adjectives with "to be" to make the adjective the actual purpose of the sentence: "The woman is tall."

We also have both these options in Klingon, but the grammar works a little differently. These "adjectives" are actually considered verbs in Klingon. To use the verb adjectivally and just add it as a descriptor on a noun in a sentence about something else, the adjectival verb must follow the noun it is describing. So, yIt be' woch would mean, "The tall woman walks." To make the "adjective" the main purpose of the sentence, you place the verb in front of the noun and the noun acts as the grammatical subject. So, woch be' means, "the woman is tall." Because the Klingon sentence does not have a separate word equating to "to be", we usually define these types of words with definitions like, "be tall" and say that the "be" is included in the Klingon verb.

If you look at the translation provided by Duolingo (near the top of this page), you will see that there are three verbs in the sentence: woch, muS, yoH. Normally any sentence can only have one main verb and any additional verbs in the sentence must be marked in some way to show their job in the sentence. Here, the verbs woch and yoH are marked by their position following nouns. That must mean they are acting adjectivally and only muS is actually acting as a verb.

Now if we look at your sentence, woch is in front of the word be', so must be acting as a verb instead. And then muS is acting as a verb too. And since yoH is also in front of a noun is acting as a verb. You have three sentences, rather than one sentence: "The woman is tall. He hates her. The man is brave."

We have tried to explain this in the Tips & Notes, but I know it’s very different from English and gets complicated. It's a lot of new information and some details are bound to be difficult to understand or slip through the memory. However, since Duolingo has hidden the Tips & Notes I want to make sure you know about them and where to find them. If you have not been reading the Tips & Notes, I would like to ask that you review those so we don’t have to repeat too much of the information that we have explained there.

If you are doing the course on iOS or Android, you cannot currently access the Tips & Notes through the app. To access the Tips & Notes, you will have to access the course using a web browser at https://www.duolingo.com/. You can still do it on your mobile device, but you will have to use the web browser instead of the app (or you can do it from a computer). When you click on a Skill, it will expand to reveal a Start button, a key, and a light bulb.

If you click on the light bulb it will reveal the Tips & Notes and give you a detailed explanation of the grammar that is introduced in that Skill. If you have questions after reading the Tips & Notes for any Skills, then please return to the forum to ask your question, explaining what you didn’t understand or what seems contradictory to you.

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