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  5. "What has the robber stolen?"

"What has the robber stolen?"

Translation:nuq nIHta' HejwI'?

September 8, 2019



I tried, "nuq 'oH'e' nIHta' HejwI'.," and "nuq nIHta' 'oH'e' HejwI'." Which is the thing that the robber has stolen? Isn't this accurate Klingon (one of them, at least)?


'e' topic marker cannot go on the pronoun (the pronoun is acting as a verb in the "to be" type of sentence). For those the topic marker needs to go on the noun which follows the pronoun (or adjectival verb that follows this noun, if present). However, this duolingo sentence is not one of those. A "to-be" one is for saying a noun is another noun. This one is just a regular ovs sentence with a question word in the position of the object. It's semantically equivalent to "the robber has stolen what?".


And if you weren't aiming for a "to-be" type sentence and I'm confused, your intended sentence would suggest it would require some form of relative clause with a {-bogh}. For example {Doch'e' nIHpu'bogh nIHwI'} might work for "the thing which the robber has stolen". And it looks possible to work that into a "to-be" sentence with a {nuq}, but the sentence is getting over-long. No-one should try to put together a "to-be" when a much shorter, more direct, and action based version with a regular verb acting as a verb does the job.


Thanks. But using a ghaH or a chaH (with an 'e' on the subject) can work to make a sentence more specific, correct? So that there is no question that I'm not referring to an 'oH or a bIH.


ghaH or chaH will make it more specific. The suffix -'e' makes an extra emphasis.

mara targh yIHotQo'. DaHotchugh Duchop.

naSHa'law' targhvetlh. muchopbej'a' 'oH?

Duchopbe' 'oH'e'. Duchop ghaH'e'. (i.e. She's the one who will bite you.)


You could say 'oH nIHta' HejwI', for The robber has stolen it, but when you ask what the robber has stolen you replace the object 'oH with the question word nuq.

I'm trying to follow the logic that makes you want to put the word 'oH meaning it into this sentence. Perhaps you have formed an incorrect model from the sentence form Ha'DIbaH 'oH targh'e' meaning a targ is an animal and are trying to apply it here. If you explain why this feels like a accurate Klingon to you, it may help to clear things up for you and others who undoubtedly have followed the same path.

You can sometimes put the -'e' suffix on a pronoun, but there has to be a use for the pronoun in the sentence.


Thank you. As jdmcowan surmised, I was trying to make the nuq more specific (as a way of learning how to use the topical 'e').


A lot has already been covered by other responses, but I think I see what you were going for, so if I am right, I might be able to address your error directly.

You seem to be trying to reduplicate the thing that was stolen in an attempted to emphasize it. Something like, "What is the 'it' that the robber has stolen?"

First let me say that pronouns don't work well for that sort of thing. Doch might work better.

Second, just sticking "it" in next to another grammatical object (like the nuq here) or grammatical subject (like the HejwI' here) doesn't really create that kind of relationship. You can only have one subject and one object (though the single subject or object can be a complex phrase grouping multiple people or things into that single subject or object). When you place two nouns next to each other like that, it instead creates a genitive relationship - the first noun describes the type or ownership of the second noun. So nuq 'oH'e' means "the it of what" and 'oH'e' HejwI' means "the robber of it". This means that your suggestions can be legitimate sentences, but very different from the given English sentence.

You may have gotten confused by the fact that you can create a topic for a sentence that is neither the object nor the subject. So you could say something like:
Doch'e' nuq nIHta' HejwI'
Which would mean something like, "As for the thing, what has the robber stolen?". That doesn't work well because it's weird to have something general as a topic. If you're specifying a topic, it's because you want to draw our attention to a specific topic. If the topic is general, there's just no need to specify. Also note that this is a cheat, because you aren't really giving a different topic than the object and subject. The nuq and the Doch refer to the same thing here and so using a topic is not appropriate here.

I think the tool you are really looking for is the verb suffix -bogh. If you have not been introduced to this yet, I will leave the full explanation for that unit. But in case you have already learned it, then I suggest you consider something like:
nuq 'oH Doch'e' nIHta'bogh HejwI'
Note that this is unnecessarily complicated and would only be accepted in this course if the English sentence were, "What is the thing that the robber has stolen." (which is unneccesarily complicated in exactly the same way.)

The simpler way to deal with this type of sentence is to use the simple replacement feature of nuq. Imagine a possible answer to the question:
"The robber has stolen the thing."
Doch nIHta' HejwI'
Then just replace the unknown thing with nuq:
nuq nIHta' HejwI'


You are right. I was trying master the 'e'. Speak Klingon forcefully.

Thank you all for your help.

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