[tlhIngan Hol] jar DamaSqu'bogh yIngu' vs nuq 'oH jar'e' DamaSqu'bogh

mayqel qunen'oS mihkoun at gmail.com
Mon Jul 13 05:22:45 PDT 2020

There's the following link:


Where 'oqranD explains why one should say {jar DamaSqu'bogh yIngu'}
instead of {jarlIj qaq nuq?} for "what is your favorite month?".

I've read this article, and I think I understand the reason why we
can't say {jarlIj qaq nuq?}. But what I'm wondering is this:

If we wrote {nuq 'oH jar'e' DamaSqu'bogh} would it be as problematic
as the {jarlIj qaq nuq?} ?

For ease of reference, I copy-paste here the relevant text from klingonska.


You suggested translating "What is your favorite month?" as:

jarlIj qaq nuq?

This one's a little easier to deal with.  Your sentence literally means
"What is your preferable month?"  The basic syntax is correct.  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 the statement yIH 'oH
"It is a tribble" (where yIH is "tribble" and 'oH is "it").  The answer to
the question yIH nuq? ("What is a tribble?") would presumably be a
definition or description of a tribble.  This being the case, then, the
answer to the question jarlIj qaq nuq?  ("What is your preferable month?")
would presumably be a definition of "your favorite month." But this is not
what you want to find out by asking your question.  What you really mean
to ask is something like "Of all the months, which one do you prefer?"

The first word in your sentence, jarlIj, means "your month"  (jar "month,"
-lIj "your").  But given that what you're really asking is "Which month do
you prefer?" it's not really "your month" at all.  The "you" should go
with the verb, not with "month."

Which brings us to the verb.  You use qIb, "be preferable,"  adjectivally
(jarlIj qIb is "your preferable month").  I think what you mean is better
expressed by using the verb maS "prefer" with "you" as the subject: jar
DamaS "you prefer the month."  If you want to highlight the notion of
"most prefer," you can use the emphatic suffix -qu': jar DamaSqu' "you
very much prefer the month."  (In this case, since "prefer" involves
making a choice, the one chosen is automatically the one that is "most"

So what about the "what" (or "which") of your original question
("What/which is your favorite month?")?  When asking someone a question of
this type, you are really asking him or her to make a choice.  So just be
a Klingon and order them to do so: "Identify the month that you very much

jar DamaSqu'bogh yIngu'

DamaSqu'bogh "that you very much prefer" (DamaSqu' "you very much prefer
it" plus -bogh "which," the relative-clause marker) modifies jar "month"
and the whole phrase jar DamaSqu'bogh "the month that you very much
prefer" is the object of the verb ngu' ("identify"), which is preceded by
the imperative prefix yI- ("do something to it!").


~ Qa'yIn

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