tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jan 19 11:32:29 1999

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RE: WARNING!-- beginner alert...A new person on the list

lab Carol Lockhart:

> Greetings, fellow adventurers!

> My name is Carol Lockhart, alias K'Dac (q'DH).  I am new to this 
> list as of Jan 16th.  While I have an average knowledge of things 
> Klingon, my language skills are somewhat laughable!  So, fair 
> warning, my tlhIngan Hol is terrible---I am a beginner in the 
> worst sense of the word!

> Why am I here annoying you?  If I'm ever to figure the language 
> out, I need to practice!  Please bare with me, if I stumble over 
> things that a 2 year old Klingon would know---I'll try to keep it 
> down to a minimum.  I also write stories as a hobby, including 
> Klingon fandom pieces.  So, I will most likely attempt to pick 
> your collective brains for some of my dialogues.  Thanks for 
> hearing me out, and apologies in advance to all you brave souls 
> willing to attempt to read my Klingon!

Welcome to the list, Carol. My name is pagh, and I am the current Beginners'
Grammarian. It's my job to help beginners learn Klingon. Whenever you have a
post you want help with, mark it for my attention by putting KLBC in the
subject line.

There's no need to appologize for being a beginner - we all were at some
point. And all of us STILL stumble over a few things any two year old
Klingon would know - it's the two year old's native language, and we are all
learning it as a second language without the benefit of a native speaker to
teach us.

> nuQbe' SoH taghwI'jaj

This is a good first attempt. You used the right words, and even the right
suffixes. The problem is in the grammar.

A basic Klingon sentence is quite simple: object - verb - subject. You
actually got fairly close when you put the verb first - you knew Klingon is
different from English, but not exactly how. The object in your sentence -
<SoH> - needs to go before the verb. Also, Klingon has different words for
singular and plural "you", so instead of <SoH>, you need <tlhIH>. What we
have at this point is:

tlhIH <verb> <subject>

The subject of the sentence is *you*, which gives you two choices. You could
just refer to yourself as "I". Instead, you refer to yourself as "beginner",
which is fine. If you want to make sure we all know you are talking about
yourself instead of some other beginner, you could add the suffix <-vam>,
making it "this beginner". This gets us:

tlhIH <verb> taghwI'vam

Now that we've got the nouns in the right place, we can look at the verb. To
start with, every verb needs a prefix. The prefix is based on the person and
number of both the subject and the object, and there is a table in the
dictionary on page 33 where you can look them up. Since you chose
<taghwI'vam> rather than <jIH> / "I", you are referring to yourself in the
third person, and the prefix needs to reflect that. The correct prefix is
one of the less used ones: <lI->. You got the <-be'> suffix right, and the
<-jaj> was a good idea - it just went on the wrong word. It needs to go on
the verb. This makes it:

tlhIH lInuQbe'jaj taghwI'vam

Finally, pronouns in Klingon are almost always optional, and are usually
only used for emphasis, so you can drop the <tlhIH>:

lInuQbe'jaj taghwI'vam.

This is not that far from what you started with, and it uses some uncommon
affixes, making it a fairly difficult sentence. Good job! Keep practicing.

Beginners' Grammarian

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