tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 30 10:51:57 2009

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Re: Checking understanding of -be'

Christopher Doty (

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 07:58, Steven Boozer <> wrote:
> TKW 48:  The Klingon construction {tIvnISbe'} means "does not need to enjoy"; {tIvbe'nIS" would mean "needs to not enjoy", an utterly different concept.

This, coupled with what is said in TKD, make it pretty clear to me
that there is a difference between <-lu'be'> and <-be'lu'>, even if we
don't see examples in canon.  There are also certainly cases where the
difference might be very subtle or unimportant; this is why I
constructed my examples as I did, with lots of context, to show that
there could be a difference in some places.


>  pujwI' HIvlu'chugh quvbe'lu'
>  There is no honor in attacking the weak. TKW

It isn't clear in this case that the difference between <quvbe'lu'>
and <quvlu'be'> would be meaningful: "One doesn't" or "no one does."
It probably takes a context to highlight the difference (or to make it

> {-lu'be'}:
>  SuvwI'pu' qan tu'lu'be'
>  There are no old warriors. TKW
> Hmm... I thought there was another example.  This may be a colloquial variant of the more formally correct {tu'be'lu'}, which also occurs:
>  QuvlIjDaq yIH tu'be'lu'jaj
>  May your coordinates be free of tribbles! PK
> Perhaps some Klingons just add {-be'} to {tu'lu'} "there is/are" as if it were a fixed formula.  We know that Klingons also omit the {-lu'} prefix in the plural:
>  naDev tlhInganpu' tu'lu'
>  There are Klingons around here. TKW
> At qep'a' loSDIch "Robyn Stewart's idea of {lutu'lu'} as 'the Klingon version of "whom"' got a nod and an explicit lack of contradiction [from Okrand]. {naDev tlhInganpu' lutu'lu'} is grammatical, but the {lu-} is more often left off." (ghunchu'wI')
> "... in English, most people use the word 'who' when formally they should be using 'whom', much like most Klingons use the word {tu'lu'} when they should be using {lutu'lu'}. In other words, the more formally correct sentence is {tlhInganpu' lutu'lu'} though most Klingons most of the time would say {tlhInganpu' tu'lu'}." (charghwI')
> If this is so, then {-lu'be'} may not be productive on other verbs after all.

Yeah, I'm hesitant to make anything from <tu'lu'>, since verbs like
this tend to have special syntax, and this is clearly the case in
Klingon with the lack of <-lu'>.  Spanish, for example, does exactly
this: "There is kids," because the verb "there is" has become so
lexicalized.  In past tenses, the plural is technically correct, but
pretty much no one uses it.

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