tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Feb 01 16:30:40 2002

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Re: A -moH suggestion

jatlh SuStel:

> I'd like to suggest that /-moH/ shouldn't cause your brain to do backflips
> when trying to understand it.  These two sentences should "feel" the same
> when you read them:
> Qong yaS
> QoymoH yaS

I like this approach. I'll add the classic example to illustrate your point. In 
English, we have the two verbs "teach" and "learn". Klingon only has {ghoj}. 
There is no verb stem meaning "teach". Apparently, Klingons do not see teaching 
as a function other than causing the student to learn, so for "teach" we use 

Any time you have a sentence in English using the verb "teach", you'll use 
{ghojmoH} as if that were a simple verb. There have been people in the past who 
argued that {ghojmoH} was a separate verb than {ghoj + -moH}, but Okrand has 
clarified that this is not the case. The only reason {ghojmoH} is in TKD's word 
list at all is because it is the equivalent of the English word "teach". If you 
were looking up "teach" in the English-Klingon side of the dictionary, if 
{ghojmoH} wasn't there, you might not think to look up "learn" and add {-moH} 
to what you find.

The only difference in usage between {ghojmoH} and any simple verb stem for a 
verb that normally takes a direct object is that if you want to add a verb 
suffix of a Type numbered earlier than 4 (since {-moH} is a Type 4), you need 
to follow the normal rules for ordering the suffixes and place those suffixes 
between {ghoj} and {-moH}.

So, to say, "I'll teach you again," you'd say {qaghojqa'moH.} You would not say 

There is a bit of a problem if you try to say, "I'll teach you Klingon 
language." It looks like "you" and "Klingon language" are both objects of 
{ghojmoH}. In this case, the verb "teach" is "ditransitive", meaning that it 
has two objects, though Klingon doesn't really have a place in its grammar for 
two direct objects. That's when it is good to remember that {ghojmoH} is {ghoj} 
plus {-moH}.

When I teach you, I cause you to learn. I don't cause the Klingon Language to 
learn. The cleanest, least controversial way to say, "I'll teach you Klingon 
language," is to split it up into smaller sentences, like:

qaghojmoH. tlhIngan Hol wIHaD.

I'm choosing to say it this way because even while I'm teaching the Klingon 
language, I'm studying it, too. I study it in order to teach it, even if it is 
something I no longer need to learn. I see this as a difference between the 
verbs "study" and "learn".

"Study" does not imply the kind of newness to the topic that "learn" does. I 
can study a poem hundreds of times, even if I only learn it once.

As a tangent, I could see someone referring to a bad teacher as {HaDmoHwI'} 
instead of the usual {ghojmoHwI'}, since it implies that this is a person who 
causes one to study, but not necessarily to learn.

Also, just to describe something there is one odd bit of canon for (but please 
don't take this so seriously as to let it confuse you), some would argue that I 
could say:

SoHvaD tlhIngan Hol vIghojmoH


tlhIngan Hol qaghojmoH.

If indeed this is the way it is done, as the one odd canon example would 
suggest, my advice is that you should not work too hard trying to figure out 
why it works. It is weird. Each of these two examples are weird. The only way 
you can really deal with them is to either ignore them and pretend that they 
don't exist, or accept them on blind faith that this is the way Klingons 
handle "ditransitive" situations with verbs using {-moH} and accept the grammar 
as exceptional, like the comparatives. It doesn't make sense. Just accept it.

Of those options, I suggest that any beginner should just ignore them and 
pretend like they don't exist. If someone says something like this to you, just 
reply {nuqjatlh?} and they'll probably restate it as two sentences and then 
you'll know what they really meant.


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