Newsgroup message of November 30, 1997

Subject: Re: chenmoH, ja'chuq, etc.


Somebody asked:
Are entries in the dictionaries which are verbs with an attatched suffix, such as chenmoH create (v) and ja'chuq discuss (v), words in themselves? Or are they merely examples of usage, as I suspect? (With the exception of lo'laH.) In other words, do we say vIchenmoHnIS or vIchennISmoH for "I need to create it"? Can we say ja'chuqlu' and if so, what does it mean? (Considering that -chuq and -lu' have contradictory prefix requirements, it seems unlikely if ja'chuq is merely ja' plus -chuq.)


Newsgroup: Microsoft Network expert forum
Date: Sunday, November 30, 1997 11:23 PM


For the most part, entries in The Klingon Dictionary (and also in the addendum [and] in Klingon For the Galactic Traveler) that consist of verb + suffix are indeed just that, verb + suffix. For example, one entry in the Dictionary is pujmoH weaken. This is really puj be weak and the suffix -moH cause (thus weaken is cause to be weak). Since -moH is a Type 4 suffix, if a suffix of Type 1, 2, or 3 is to be used (such as -chuq each other [Type 1] or -nIS need [Type 2]), it would precede the Type 4 -moH; for example, pujchuqmoH they weaken each other or pujnISmoH he/she needs to weaken [somebody].

It is, of course, possible to add the suffix -moH to lots of verbs; not all of the verb + -moH combinations are listed in the Dictionary as distinct entries. The ones that are listed are there as much as a matter of convenience for the user as anything else. For example, there is an entry for commit suicide just in case anyone wants to look that word up; but the Klingon equivalent is simply HoH'egh, literally kill oneself (HoH kill plus Type 1 verb suffix -'egh oneself). The absence of a verb + -moH entry in the Dictionary lists does not mean that that particular formation cannot be made.

The same goes for the negative suffixes -Ha' and -be' which, along with -moH, are the most common verb suffixes found in the Dictionary lists (except for -wI' one who is/does, but that doesn't enter into any of this since it's always last in a string of verb suffixes). Since the negative suffixes are Rovers, they follow different rules. (Well, actually, since -Ha' always occurs right after the verb and can never be preceded by suffixes anyway, it can be excluded from this discussion.) The Rover -be' comes right after whatever it is negating. Both Qochbe'nIS he/she/they need to not disagree (that is, he/she/they need to agree) and QochnISbe' he/she/they do not need to disagree are acceptable Klingon formations. The fact that the Dictionary lists Qochbe' agree (that is, literally, not disagree) does not mean that no suffix may precede the -be'. It's in there so that someone can easily look up how to say agree.

So far so good, I think.

A problem comes in because some of these forms (that is, some of these verb + suffix combinations) are so common, they seem to, in the minds of some Klingons anyway, act as if they were simply verb and not verb + suffix at all. This seems to happen only when the suffix in question is -moH cause. Maltz reports having heard both quv'eghmoH he/she honors him/herself, which follows the expected order (verb-Type 1-Type 4: quv be honored, -'egh oneself, -moH cause) as well as the weird quvmoH'egh he/she honors him/herself, in which the Type 1 suffix -'egh oneself follows the Type 4 suffix -moH cause, an impossible formation unless the speaker is considering the verb to be quvmoH honor and not quv be honored. Speakers who do this seem to be aware that they are breaking the rules, so they are doing it for rhetorical effect. (It has the same sort of feeling, perhaps, as if someone were to say in English "Don't cellular phone me this afternoon" or "I've been postnasal dripping all morning" or "It's lightninging and thundering outside" or, to follow the Klingon example, "He/she self-honors.") If this sort of thing happens a lot, maybe, in time, the language will undergo some sort of reformation; maybe -moH will become a Rover. Or quvmoH and similar forms will become simple (though two-syllable) verbs. But neither is the case yet, and while some speakers of Klingon may treat them as such, the wisest course is to leave such things to the poets and keep -moH in its Type 4 position.

On the other hand, you're right about lo'laH be valuable. It is a simple verb in its own right (though it's an unusual two-syllable one), not the verb lo' use plus Type 5 suffix -laH can. It is likely that there is some sort of historical connection to the verb + suffix form, but, if so, it is just that – historical.

Thus, finally and at long last, to answer your first specific question, say vIchennISmoH for I need to create it.

I'll try to answer your second question, about ja'chuq, in a separate posting.

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