1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Klingon
  4. >
  5. "That Klingon is strong. She …

"That Klingon is strong. She is a great warrior."

Translation:HoS tlhInganvetlh. SuvwI' Dun ghaH.

October 29, 2019



Why did I get it wrong when I wrote "tlhinganvetlh'e'"?


Why would that word have an -'e' on it? What in the English indicates that there is special focus on "that Klingon"?


I thought "that klingon" was enough.


"That Klingon" is tlhInganvetlh.


I know that. I guessed it was the same as for another sentence " tlhInganpu' chaH be'pu'vam'e'". But I know figure it's because that has a noun that need's to be bound in. Or am I missing the reason entirely?


Ah, yes. That is a completely different situation. The sentence HoS tlhInganvetlh is composed simply of a verb and subject noun. In such a case, adding -'e' to the noun adds focus or emphasis to it. We don't teach how that works in this course and you shouldn't do it in this course.

The sentence tlhInganpu' chaH be'pu'vam'e' has no actual verb in it. The pronoun chaH is acting as both the subject and as a connector equating that subject to the object before it. It is acting sort of like the English "to be" (conjugated as "are" in that sentence). But since the pronoun is already there, you can't just also add a subject noun. You can either use a pronoun or a noun, but not both. Except that there is a special rule in Klingon that allows you, only in the special case of using a pronoun as a connector like that, to add in an extra noun that the pronoun represents by marking it with the suffix -'e'.

Notice that with a real verb, the pronoun gets replaced by the noun:
HoS chaH ("They are strong.")
HoS tlhInganpu' ("Klingons are strong.")

But when using the pronoun as a connector, like a verb, the subject noun gets added on and marked with -'e':
tlhInganpu' chaH ("They are Klingons.")
tlhInganpu' chaH be'pu''e' ("The women are Klingons.")


Why not put the ghah just behind hos?


I'm having to guess a little at what you mean, but a common mistake that learners make is to continue to think of the words that match English adjectives as if they were adjective in Klingon. In English, we use the connecting verb "to be" ("is") to connect two nouns: "The Klingon is a warrior."

In English we use the same structure to connect a noun to an adjective: "The Klingon is strong."

We have a similar structure that connects two nouns in Klingon, but instead of a specific verb like "to be", it substitutes the appropriate subject pronoun for the verb: SuvwI' ghaH tlhIngan'e'. Note that since ghaH is already the subject, we mark the English subject as a Klingon topic using the suffix -'e'.

However, in Klingon, this structure is NOT used to connect a noun to an adjective. Most words that are adjectives in English are actually verbs in Klingon. To indicate the verb concept in the Klingon words, we usually include "be" in the English definition: HoS = "be strong". This verb grammar is already included in the word, so no connector like ghaH is needed and when you try to use both the pronoun ghaH and a noun as the subject, it is grammatically incorrect. To say "The Klingon is strong" you have to say: HoS tlhIngan.

You CAN use pronouns for the subject with such verbs, but when you do, you cannot also use a subject noun and the pronoun is simply acting as a pronoun. It's the "adjective" which is responsible for the verb action in those sentences. HoS ghaH is "She is strong," but HoS is the verb meaning "is strong" and ghaH here only means, "she".

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