[tlhIngan Hol] verb prefix on XvaD Y ponglu' construction when Y is plural

Will Martin lojmitti7wi7nuv at gmail.com
Thu Jul 7 06:18:33 PDT 2022

If we have canon for this, then it is settled. If we don’t have canon, then I suggest that a focus on Klingon grammar that we know.

There are three nouns implied by {yupma’vaD Hoch panatheneans (lu)ponglu’}. The subject is indefinite. The object is plural. The indirect object/beneficiary is singular. Unless you are using the prefix trick, which one never uses with the indefinite subject and certainly no one is using here, the indirect object has nothing to do with the prefix. The plural object should determine the prefix.

TKD gives us no rules as to the use of alien words. So far as we know, Klingons simply don’t use them, except to transliterate proper names, and even then, we are given no advice as to whether to use the foreign plural, as you have done, or Klingon plural suffix. If you go with the foreign plural, then you should not assume that the Klingon you are speaking to understands the foreign language enough to know that it is plural, and if you wish to convey that information, the best tool available is the verb prefix.

Then again, we’ve been told that omitting {lu-} when it would be appropriate is perhaps the most common error in Klingon grammar, so in the end, unless this is some formal setting, it probably doesn’t matter very much.

Meanwhile, the thing that leaps out at me the most is the use of untransliterated foreign words that violate Klingon phonology. I don’t think we have any canon for that, and it’s probably presumptive for us to do that. If we know for sure that the recipient of the communication is multilingual, then it makes sense, but if you were talking to a Klingon and you did that, I would not assume that you were safe from a response that included physical violence.


Maybe not.


charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Jul 7, 2022, at 8:21 AM, D qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> jIH:
> > But immediately I realized that the word "panatheneans" is plural; I can't translate it
> > exactly in English, but it's like saying "the all Athenses". And by saying "Athenses" I mean
> > the plural of the word "Athens". As if there are many cities, each by the name of
> > Athens, and we're meaning all of them.
> De'vID:
> > According to John Dryden's translation of Plutarch's Theseus, the name "Panathenaea"
> > means "(the sacrifice of) all the united Athenians". But whether it refers to people or cities,
> > it's in any case plural (in Greek).
> I think what Dryden does, is describe the event which was happening during that festival, rather than the literal meaning of the word (which was my intention to describe). Although I can't translate it exactly in English, since it can be applied as a term to many things. But yes -as you wrote- it's always plural.
> De'vID:
> > This doesn't really answer your question, but it really depends on whether the
> > Klingon (or Klingon speaker) is aware that the original word was plural, and whether
> > they care. Words which are plural in one language are sometimes borrowed into another
> > language as singular.
> Yes, this is true.
> My confusion on this matter came as a result that my greek mind couldn't reconcile seeing {yupma'vaD panatheneans ponglu'} with the fact that the word is plural. On the other hand though, when I thought of the {yupma'vaD panatheneans luponglu'}, the problem became that I was given the impression that this festival had many names.
> De'vID:
> > yupma'vamvaD «Hoch *aten-nganpu' yupma'»
> > ponglu'. 'elaDya' Hol lo'lu'DI', «Panathenaea» jatlhlu'.
> This is a nice suggestion, but again the problem would be that the "panathenea" can refer to the city instead of the people. Of course one could argue, that in the festival it's the people that actually participate and not the buildings.
> I don't know.. Perhaps I'm overthinking this. It's tempting though to just write {yupma'vaD panatheneans luponglu'} basing this choice on the accord (if I understand correctly what this is..).
> But yes, I know that one could say that "we don't know for sure if the accord applies to foreign words too". But think of it this way; if I wanted to say "the spartans defeated the opponent", then I'd surely write {ghol lujeypu' spartans}, obviously treating the foreign word as plural. So why not do the same for the "panatheneans"?
> Anyway, I'll just stop now since this all gave me a headache.
> Thank you SuStel, De'vID, fergusq, and loghaD for sharing your thoughts on this matter.
> -- 
> Dana'an
> https://sacredtextsinklingon.wordpress.com/ <https://sacredtextsinklingon.wordpress.com/>
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