"Norgs do not fly; they swim."
Translation:puvbe' norghmey; Qal.
There nothing wrong, grammatically, with emphasizing the subject of a sentence like that, but there's no indication in the English sentence that any special focus or emphasis is being given to the norgs. What prompted you to think that a focus or topic marker was appropriate here?
I do not remember which lesson but shortly before I answered this I was marked wrong on another for not using the suffix 'e'. I admit it might have been used with a subject pronoun and therefore my error. In any case it is correct and since English does not commonly mark such emphasis except in the spoken language it still feels right to me. AND IMO it eliminates any confusion that the second clause Qal refers to the norghmey.
The -'e' "special topic" marker is basically only required when there is no real verb in the sentence and a pronoun is being used as the verb the way we would use "to be" in English. The sentence you encountered that required the -'e' marker was certainly a "to be" sentence equating two nouns (like, "The captain is a Klingon." tlhIngan ghaH HoD'e') - as you said, used with a subject pronoun. If we wanted you to add such emphasis to a normal subject (which actually does not happen anywhere in this course) we would add some indication in the English sentence (perhaps we would say, "As for norgs, they do not fly.")
Putting -'e' on the subject or object of a verb has an effect more like focus than topic. A more appropriate translation of puvbe' norghmey'e' would be It is NORGS (not something else) that do not fly.
-'e' acts more like topic than focus when it comes at the end of a pronoun-based sentence or at the beginning of a sentence where it's not subject or object. For instance, tlhIngan ghaH HoD'e' As for the captain, he is a Klingon or Duj'e' HoD vIgheS jIpawDI' As for the ship, I will assume the duties of captain when I arrive.
I've already made some significant changes to how the Tips & Notes present these topics. Hopefully those changes will help some. But I wonder if some of this confusion could be coming from people's readings of TKD, so we might need to say something. We already tell them not to use -'e' in the course except for "to be". I'm afraid that a whole lesson on -'e' will just invite more confusion and problems. We'll have to give that some thought. I suspect that pushing the "to be" copula lesson and practice later in the course may help to give more practice with the absence of -'e' before we introduce the copula with -'e'. Separating Pronouns into to two lessons (one with simple pronoun substitution and a separate one with "to be") might also help some.
RexSettle, we're trying to figure out how to prevent this kind of confusion. What gave you the idea that -'e' was possible on norghmey in this sentence. We have not taught that usage of -'e'. Did something we teach lead you to consider that or was it something you read elsewhere?
In the KLI course, the first sentence is tlhIngan maH and I introduce all the KLPC1 pronouns that way in the first few lessons, but the sentence structure A 'oH B'e' isn't even in the course. I'm not saying that d'Armond's choices of what to include and exclude at level one were perfect (I felt absolutely hamstrung by the absence of the imperative from the curriculum), and it's good that different courses have different emphases, but I have to agree with David--and you, now--that that sentence structure needs to be moved much later.
It won't be bad. It will mean all the sentences there now will turn up as vocabulary review once the learners are ready for copula -'e'.
The copula is an important, valuable, and frequently used tool in every language. Ignoring the grammar confusion in Klingon, it makes a lot of sense to introduce it early and use it heavily. But taking into account the now quite obvious grammar confusion potential in Klingon, the full two-noun copular construction is definitely presented too early and used too often in this course.
The copula is less important in Klingon than in Romance or Germanic languages, because those use the copula for simple adjectives. English uses a copula for The sky is blue, but Klingon does not with SuD chal.
This must be recognized for a balanced curriculum. Klingon uses copula less frequently than English, and the course should reflect that.
OK I am impressed by the mass of comments, But please back up to my first response comment, quote, "shortly before I answered this I was marked wrong on another for not using the suffix 'e'. " From everything I have read it sounds as though I should not have encountered a question where my failure to us "-e" would give me a wrong response. Yet that is what got me to use it in my answer to this question. When I got that first wrong answer there were no comments so I shrugged it off. When based on that I used the suffix not long after I decided I should of posted so I did so this time. I certainly have learned a lot, But my point that it was from an answered marked wrong rather than something taught in the course has been overlooked. I believe the first question that marked me wrong must also be in "ANIMALS" part 3 of section 2 of the Klingon course. I was grinding points for leader board position and tend not to use Klingon as it requires more thought and effort, But I decided to do so since I did not want to ignore working on Klingon. My question is could there be an erroneous/misunderstood answer that influenced me to use suffix "-e" where it was not appropriate?
Without knowing exactly what the sentence that confused you was, we can't really say whether it was an error or a misunderstanding. But there are sentences in this course where what is a "subject" in English is also a "subject" in Klingon and is not accepted with -'e' and other sentences where what is a "subject" in English is, instead, a "topic" in Klingon and so gets marked with -'e'. I can see how that could get confusing.
Let me use some example sentences that I hope will show you when to use it and when not to.
targh Sop tlhIngan "The Klingon eats the targ."
paq laD ghaH "She reads the book."
Quch HoD "The captain is happy."
These are normal sentence with normal verbs and normal subjects. There is no reason to use -'e' in these sentences. -'e' has a special use and, in this course, it should not be put on simple grammatical subjects. You could actually place an -'e' suffix on tlhIngan, ghaH, or HoD (or even paq or targh), but it changes the meaning subtly (like emphasizing it) and we don't teach or accept that usage in this course.
When you are equating two things, you use a pronoun to say what the thing is equal to:
tlhIngan ghaH "He is a Klingon."
targh 'oH "It is a targ."
The pronoun is basically acting as both the subject and the verb in this kind of sentence. No -'e' suffix is used in these sentences. But what if you want to say who "he" is or what "it" is? How do we add that information to the sentence?
There is a very special rule in Klingon that allows you to add that information to the sentence using the suffix -'e'. Until you learn the suffix -bogh this special purpose is the only time you should use -'e' in this course:
tlhIngan ghaH HoD'e' "The captain is a Klingon." (Really, "As for the captain, he is a Klingon.")
targh 'oH Ha'DIbaHvetlh'e' "That animal is a targ." (Really, "As for that animal, it is a targ.")
Thanks for the examples. As far as I know I have no way of locating the sentence I think caused the problem. But I think I have identified as close as I could where I encountered it. My point is I do not think there is a problem with how the course is designed. I have completed the Duo Klingon course through the last lesson though parts 3 and 4 only to level 2 and part five still mostly to level one.