TKD
chapter
4.2.4

Type 4 verb suffix

There is only one Type 4 verb suffix, indicating cause(1). It can only be attached to verbs. The suffix is -moH. The somewhat awkward English translation may contain the phrase "cause to..." or "cause to be..." but most of the time there is a completely new word.

Basics

The relative ordering of the suffixes must always be followed. This means that even while the word ghojmoH is translated as a new word in English ("teach"), in Klingon it still is a verb + suffix. When a suffix of a lower suffix class - i.e. Type 2 or Type 3 - is added, they must preced the suffix -moH. For some students this may look strange at first "breaking up" the word ghoj-nIS-moH, but once you got used to it, any other order just looks very wrong.

-moH does not require an object of any kind. Its description says simply that it means the subject is causing something. It doesn't say anything about objects. All it means is that the subject causes the verb instead of doing the verb. Some of the canon examples back up the idea that an object is not necessary.

Canon Examples

SeymoH QeH Anger excites. TKW, p. 196
maghoSchoHmoHneS'a' May we execute a course (to some place)? TKD, chapter 4.2.10

Simple Examples

take form chen create chenmoH "cause to take form"
learn ghoj teach ghojmoH "cause to learn"
be frozen taD freeze taDmoH "cause to be frozen"

Adjectives

Using -moH with adjectives is easy and very clear. The subject changes the condition of the object:
open (be open) poS
open (cause to be open) poSmoH
Worf opens the door. lojmIt poSmoH wo'rIv.
hot tuj
make hot, heaten tujmoH
I heat up the food. Soj vItujmoH.

Problems

When used with a verb that does not have an object (like the adjectival verbs above), the meaning is clear, as in lojmIt vIpoSmoH "I cause the door to be open" or puq vIQongmoH "I cause the child to sleep". The problem appears when a verb which can take an object is used. If the subject of the root sentence becomes the object of the verb with -moH, then there are now two objects in the sentence, like "Worf teaches you Klingon". Which object should the prefix match? And if the sentence is "I teach my son Klingon", which object should appear in the object position and where do you place the other object?

We do have one canon example that give us some indication. One of the SkyBox cards has the sentence ghaHvaD quHDaj qawmoH "[It is] a reminder of his heritage", indicating that the object which would have been the subject of the root verb might be treated as an indirect object (i.e. it is marked with -vaD). If we follow the pattern of this one example, we might create sentences like, SoHvaD tlhIngan Hol ghojmoH wo'rIv "Worf teaches you Klingon", puqloDwI'vaD tlhIngan Hol vIghojmoH "I teach my son Klingon", or perhaps even jIHvaD tlhIngan Hol vIghojmoH "I teach myself Klingon."

Some experienced Klingon speakers reject this pattern and suggest that one example is not sufficient evidence. Lacking enough canon examples, we must either live with the ambiguity or avoid the construction entirely.

See also

Type Sort Suffixes
1 Oneself/one another -chuq, -'egh
2 Volition/predisposition -nIS, -qang, -rup, -beH, -vIp
3 Change -choH, -qa'
4 Cause -moH
5 Indefinite subject/ability -lu', -laH
6 Qualification -chu', -bej, -ba', -law'
7 Aspect -pu', -ta', -taH, -lI'
8 Honorific -neS
9 Syntactic markers -DI', -chugh, -pa', -vIS, -mo', -bogh, -meH, -'a', -jaj, -wI', -ghach
R Rovers -Ha', -Qo', -be', -qu'

References

1 : The Klingon Dictionary p. 38

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