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  5. "'ey tIr ngogh'e' vutta'bogh …

"'ey tIr ngogh'e' vutta'bogh vutwI'."

Translation:The bread which the cook has baked is delicious.

July 29, 2019



You can imagine Torg saying, 'ey tIr ngogh vutta'bogh vutwI', because it's clear what element of that relative clause would be described as 'ey. But the vutwI' is shapely, well-muscled, with a warm smile and bright twinkling eyes, and Torg's buddies suspect that enhances the flavour of the tIr ngogh for Torg. They tease, 'ey'a' tIr ngogh vutta'bogh vutwI''e', torgh? Torg is an adolescent, teeming with rImbey (hormones) and is unsure of whether it is honourable for him to lust after someone who prepares baked goods, so he defends himself with 'ey tIr ngogh'e' vutta'bogh vutwI', as in the example sentence. No one is fooled, and a week or so later the vutwI' and Torg make a cute couple.

Just a single verse of the secret lives of Duolingo example sentences.


I will take sliced cook in a bun, please.


Ok. So. I got this wrong because two problems ago the same question appeared with the solution of "The cook who has baked the bread is delicious". Why is this one "The bread which the cook has baked is delicious"? Is it that stinkin' {-'e'}, that I still cannot understand, that changed the sentence? Was that missing from the previous example?

In the other hand, if it is the {-'e'} that swaps the sentence around, this is the first time I've ever seen it used where it makes sense. I don't understand why you'd add it to the end of a sentence to the thing doing the action if that is already the focus of the sentence.


I'm glad you asked, since the point of this sentence is to learn about this very point! This is called a "relative clause" and English and Klingon handle it in completely different ways, so it can be confusing for English speakers.

The English method of turning a sentence (like "the cook baked the bread") into a noun phrase (like "the cook that baked the bread" or "the bread that the cook baked") is to add a relative pronoun and put the "head noun" (the noun that we are actually talking about) at the front. So to make it like an adjectival phrase about the object you move the object to the front and add "that" after it: "the cook baked the bread" -> "the bread that the cook baked". The "cook" still did the baking and the thing that was baked is still the "bread", but the object has moved to the front to show us we are talking about "the bread". To make it like an adjectival phrase about the subject you move the subject to the front and add "that" after it - except that the subject is already at the front, so it doesn't really move, it just get's "that" after it: "the cook baked the bread" -> "the cook that baked the bread". As before, the "cook" still did the baking and the thing that was baked is still the "bread", but the position of "the cook" at the front and before "that" shows us we are talking about "the cook". In linguistics we call this "fronting the head noun". In other words, we move the noun that we are talking about (the "head noun") to the front. That allows us to pretend that the rest of the phrase (from "that" to the right) is an adjectival phrase on that noun. But that's not the way it works in Klingon.

In Klingon we DON'T move the subject and object. The object stays in place (before the verb in a Klingon phrase) and the subject stays in place (after the verb in a Klingon phrase). We add -bogh to the end of the verb (which is very similar to adding the relative pronoun before the verb in English) and we mark the "head noun" with -'e'. The -'e' doesn't carry an actual translation, but it tells us which noun is the head noun and thus should be moved to the front in the English sentence. When translating from English to Klingon, first figure out who is doing the action and who the action is done to. Create a proper statement with that. Then look at which noun is fronted in the English sentence and mark that noun with -'e' in the Klingon sentence.

Note that the -'e' is officially optional. If you do not include the -'e' it would create some ambiguity, but is still grammatically correct. If I write just, tIr ngogh vutta'bogh vutwI', we have the -bogh in there, but I have not marked which noun is the "head noun". This could theoretically be interpreted as either, "the bread that the cook baked" or "the cook that baked the bread". When we add in the main verb, the meaning becomes immediately clear even without the -'e' to mark the head noun. Surely 'ey tIr ngogh vutta'bogh vutwI' means, "the bread that the cook baked is delicious." If I want, I can still add the -'e' to tIr ngogh and it doesn't really change the interpretation, though it makes it clear that I mean what you expect I would mean. However, if I want to create the absurd situation that we actually enjoyed eating the cook and not necessarily his bread, it becomes vital to use the -'e' marker on vutwI', since without it, people will assume I meant the bread was delicious. Though I suppose if we had already been talking about eating cooks, I could probably leave it off and you would still know what I meant due to the context of eating cooks.

Now imagine a situation like 'IH paH tuQbogh be'. This can either mean, "The dress that the woman wears is beautiful" or "The woman that wears the dress is beautiful." If the context of our conversation doesn't make it clear which I'm talking about, I can use -'e' to clarify. Either 'IH paH'e' tuQbogh be' (The dress that the woman wears is beautiful) or 'IH paH tuQbogh be''e' (The woman that wears the dress is beautiful). However, this situation allows me to use the ambiguity in a poetic fashion. Perhaps I mean to imply that both the woman that wears the dress and the dress that she wears are beautiful when I say just 'IH paH tuQbogh be'.

I hope that helps you understand better.


Insert head explode emoji here...

I think I get it with your 'IH paH tuQbogh be' example. I think some of the earlier problems that I kept getting wrong because of the -'e' didn't exactly have that option where the "woman" or the "dress" could be "beautiful", there was no "dress".

I'll need to reread your answer a few times to truly understand what you wrote. I really do want to understand -'e', and this might be the breakthrough I've needed.


Without paH, 'IH tuQbogh be' would mean, "The woman who wears is beautiful." That's an odd example because everyone "wears" things, but it is a grammatically acceptable sentence. Without the object, 'ey vutta'bogh vutwI' would mean, "The cook that cooked is tasty." That is also an odd sentence since cooks cook, so specifying that the cook cooked without saying what he cooked is odd (and saying that a cook is tasty is odd), but again, it is a grammatical sentence. But if we look at a sentence like, val jatlhbogh yaS, we get "The officer that spoke is smart." There could be a bunch of officers standing there, but only one that spoke and it doesn't necessarily matter exactly what he said, but including jatlhbogh we can specify which officer we mean. In English we place that "adjectival phrase" after the noun, but in Klingon yaS is the subject that did jatlh so it goes after jatlhbogh and the whole jatlhbogh yaS noun phrase goes in the subject position for val. I could theoretically mark the yaS with -'e', but since there is no object to create ambiguity it really doesn't serve any purpose.


BTW it's this thread that has the cook-eating bread: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33840273

'ey tIr ngogh vutta'bogh vutwI''e'. vs. 'ey tIr ngogh'e' vutta'bogh vutwI'.


Yes. Notice how moving the -'e' changes whether we are saying that the bread is tasty or the cook is tasty! Either way it is still the cook cooking the bread so the OVS of ngogh vut vutwI' doesn't change.

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