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  5. "The spy returns to the under…

"The spy returns to the underground base."

Translation:wutlh waw' chegh ghoqwI'.

March 3, 2020



I've read other comments but still didn't get why /underground/ - adjective - goes before /base/ - noun


{wutlh} is another noun, thus a way to consider {wutlh waw'} is as a "base of the (area) underground".


Klingon does not have adjectives. Nouns can be modified in a few ways. One way is to put a verb indicating a quality after the noun. Another way is to put a -meH clause in front of it. Or you could put it inside a -bogh clause. And yet another way is to put another noun in front of it.

When you put a noun in front of a noun, this is called a noun-noun construction. The first noun modifies the sense of the second noun. This might mean possession, like ghoqwI' HIch spy's pistol, or it might mean the first noun is narrowing the type of the second noun. This last meaning is what's happening here.

wutlh waw' is a waw base. What kind of waw? A wutlh waw' underground base.

This course talks about "adjectives," but it is wrong to do so. There are many ways to modify nouns in the manner of an adjective, but there is no part of speech specifically meant to do so.

waw''a' important base (modifies the noun with a suffix)
waw' pegh secret base (modifies the noun with a verb of quality)
wutlh waw' underground base (modifies the noun with another noun)
waw' SamlaHbe'bogh jagh base which the enemy cannot find (modifies the noun with a relative clause)
turmeH waw' mission base, base for conducting a mission (modifies the noun with a purpose clause)


All your sentences about spies like this one makes me wonder if there needs to be a sentence about the spy coming in from the cold. But how would one best translate such a sentence? I guess most would start with something like {?vo' 'el ghoqwI'.} But as we don't strictly speaking have a noun for "the cold" would something like {Hur bIrvo'} or {Daq bIrvo'}, or as an example for the nominalize skill {bIrqu'ghachvo'}?


The trouble here is that come in from the cold is an English idiom that probably doesn't transfer to Klingon. It would only be taken literally.

bIrqu'ghachvo' is a grammatically valid word according to the rules we have, but I would consider it semantically odd. From muchness of being cold.

bIr Hur. qach 'elpu' ghoqwI' Deq.
It's cold outside. A former spy has entered the building.


Why is wrong wutlh waw'Daq chegh ghoqwI'?


It's not wrong, but it is redundant.

Many Klingon verbs impart a locative sense to their objects. This means their objects are already locations. With these verbs, it's possible to add -Daq to their objects, but doing so is considered redundant. chegh is one of these verbs.

They probably didn't allow it because they forgot to include the redundant version in the list of allowed translations.


chegh includes the "to" - "to return to", so you don't need to add the -Daq. The location being returned to is the object of ghegh rather than being added on as a locative. However, if you make it a no object verb and give it a location instead, the meaning will be the same most of the time. wutlh waw' chegh ghoqwI' means, "The spy returns to the underground base," and, wutlh waw'Daq chegh ghoqwI' has a sense more like, "In the underground base, the spy returns."

I've added in that variation now.


I am sorry for causing confusion. I did check that -Daq is used with chegh, but I did not pay enough attention at that time.

There's ghorgh pa’wIjDaq jIchegh? meaning When can I return to my room? in the CK, but this mail says that -Daq is used to indicate returning by means of some object where the subject is located at the time of returning.

Since the underground base cannot deliver the spy anywhere, -Daq is wrong according to that mail.


The rules for the differences between in/at and to locatives weren't fully formed until Okrand gave this interview. Conversational Klingon and Power Klingon predate this interview, and they don't follow the rules. It hasn't been made clear to us whether the sentences in CK and PK are in error or just follow some special rule we don't yet know about.

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