tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 11 06:56:27 2009

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RE: Yet another newbie!

Steven Boozer (

lay'tel SIvten:
>>>>  nuq 'oHtaH "KLD"'e'? rap'a' "TKD" "KLD" je?

>>> Can you explain to me 'oHtaH? It seems to me that the -taH ending gives
>>> this a meaning of continuously being something (or somewhere), which seems
>>> a bit much for the intended 'identity' meaning. (~"What is KLD being?">?)
>>> I would have expected something like:   nuq "KLD"?

>> nuq "KLD" is a problem, because the subject is a noun.
>> If you have an English sentence along the lines of
>>    X is/are Y,
>> and Y is a noun, then you need to do two things: you need to include the
>> appropriate third-person pronoun ('oH, chaH, bIH) and you need to mark 
>> X with the topic marker 'e'.  (You can think of that pronoun as a verb, 
>> since it takes verbal suffixes.  Or not.  It doesn't matter how you 
>> think of it as long as you do it.)
>> So nuq 'oH "KLD"'e' is probably the minimum here.

TKD p.69:  For {'Iv} "who?" and {nuq} "what?" the question word fits in the position that would be occupied by the answer.

st.k (12/12/96):  Question words (in this case, {nuq} "what?") function the same way pronouns do in questions with to be in the English translations. Thus, the question {yIH nuq?} "What is a tribble?" is exactly parallel to the statement {yIH 'oH} "It is a tribble" ... The answer to the question {yIH nuq?} ("What is a tribble?") would presumably be a definition or description of a tribble. 

  Dochvam nuq 
  What is this? CK

  Daqvam nuq 
  What is this place? PK

  nuq mI'lIj, tera'ngan 
  What is your number, Terran? CK

["Apparently, {nuq} can go on either side of the noun. [....] this is an example of the question word being in a weird place! I'd say that questions which omit the pronoun can be ordered either with the question word before or after." (SuStel)] 

  nuq tu'lu' 
  What is there? PK

  Sojvetlh 'oH nuq'e' 
  What is that food? PK 

  Dujvetlh 'oH nuq? 
  What ship is that? ST6 

>As far as I know, 'oHtaH and the likes are only used when talking about
>the location of the subject, so I expect:
>  nuq 'oH "KLD"'e'?    = What is KLD?
>  nuqDaq 'oHtaH "KLD"? = Where is (the) KLD?

Andre is right, using {-tah} on the pronoun is generally used when stating location: 

  bIQ'a'Daq 'oHtaH 'etlh'e' 
  The sword is in the ocean. KGT 

  loS... qIb HeHDaq, 'u' SepmeyDaq Sovbe'lu'bogh lenglu'meH He
   ghoSlu'bogh retlhDaq 'oHtaH 
  It waits... on the edge of the galaxy, beside a passage to
   unknown regions of the universe. S99 

  pa' 'oHtaH vaS'a''e'.  tlhIngan qum waw' 'oH. 
  This is where the Klingon Great Hall is located, the center
   of the Klingon government. S27 

  meyrI'Daq 'oHtaH gho'e' 
  The circle is in the square. [qep'a' 2005]

  pa'Daq jIHtaH 
  I'm in the room. TKD

  pa'wIjDaq jIHtaH 
  I am in my quarters. TKD

  pa'DajDaq ghaHtaH la''e' 
  The commander is in his quarters. TKD

  jIHtaHbogh naDev vISovbe' 
  I'm lost. TKD 

  naDev bIHtaH 
  Here they are. PK 

  qIrq.  DujHomDaq ghaHtaH!
  Kirk.  He's on the shuttlecraft! ST5 

  bIghHa'Daq ghaHtaH qama''e' 
  The prisoner is in the prison. 

... although there are five known examples without {-taH}:

  nuqDaq 'oH Qe' QaQ'e' 
  Where is a good restaurant? TKD

  nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e' 
  Where is the bathroom? PK
   (N.B. Clipped:  nuqDaq puchpa' [PK]) 

  nuqDaq 'oH jengva''e' 
  Where is the plate?  KGT

  nuqDaq 'oH ngop'e' 
  Where are the plates? KGT

  nuqDaq bIH 
   [Where are they? (untranslated)] ST6)

Notice that all of these contain {nuqDaq} "where?".  Perhaps when asking about an unknown location {-taH} is omitted, but when the location is definitely known {-taH} is used (i.e. it's there and continues to be there).

BTW a good example to remember the difference between {'oH} (identity) vs. {'oHtaH} (location) is SkyBox card S27:

  pa' 'oHtaH vaS'a''e'.  tlhIngan qum waw' 'oH. 
  This is where the Klingon Great Hall is located, the center
  of the Klingon government. S27


  pa' 'oHtaH vaS'a''e'
  "the [Klingon] Great Hall is [located] there"

  tlhIngan qum waw' 'oH 
  "it is the base of the Klingon government"

Canon Master of the Klingons

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