Klingon/Grammar

VocabularyEdit

loD- man be' - woman

Word OrderEdit

One of the most confusing things about Klingon is the word order. In Klingon the word order is important because Grammatical roles such as object and subject are shown through word order. This means that Klingon is "configurational" (another configurational language is English). However, unlike English which is Subject Verb Object, the Klingon word order is Object Verb Subject.

If you don't know what subjects, objects and verbs are click here.

Example:Edit

VocabularyEdit

loD - man

be' - woman

qIp - hit


Look at this Klingon sentence:

be' qIp loD

From an English point of view it looks like the sentence means 'Woman hits man'

However, that's not right. The object is at the start of the sentence and the subject is at the end in Klingon, so be' qIp loD actually means 'Man hits woman'

(Note: 'woman hits man' would be loD qIp be')

ArticlesEdit

There are two articles in English; 'a/an' (indefinite article) and 'the' (definite article). Klingon has no equivalents to these words. So the sentence be' qIp loD could mean any of the following:

The man hits the woman.

A man hits the woman

The man hits a woman

A man hits a woman

AffixesEdit

An affix is either a prefix or a suffix. For example, in English the prefix dis- is used to reverse the meaning of a verb, as in agree and disagree. Suffixes are used to form plurals, as in child and children.

Affixes are central to Klingon grammar and they will be introduced gradually.

Verb PrefixesEdit

See also: Pronouns

Only verbs have prefixes. A prefix indicates the pronouns that accompany a verb. As such, they are sometimes called pronomial prefixes. There are almost thirty of them and they will be introduced throughout the course. Here are the first four:

Prefix Subject Object
jI- I none
bI- you (sing.) none
Su- you (plural) none
ma- we none

Suffixes with an object will be introduced in a later lesson.

A prefix is added to the front of a verb to form a simple sentence:

  • jIQam. I stand.
  • bIQam. You stand. (referring to one person)
  • SuQam. You stand. (referring to more than one person)
  • maQam. We stand.


Punctuation: Some writers do not end single sentences of Klingon with the final period (.). This practice is common in The Klingon Dictionary. However it is normal practice when writing several sentences to end each with a period, as in English. I would recommend that all sentences in Klingon end with a period.

Verbs can be used without any prefix. The absence of a prefix can be translated in several ways, but the most common is where the subject is any one of he, she, it or they, and with no object.

So yIt, which is a verb meaning walk, on its own can form a sentence meaning He walks, She walks, or They walk, and so on. Of course, if there is a noun, it is used instead of the pronoun. We will see examples of this later.

SuffixesEdit

Klingon also makes extensive use of suffixes, which are added to the end of verbs and nouns.

There are several different suffixes, but this lesson introduces just one, -be'. It is added to the end of a verb to negate it, so is often translated by not or do not.

  • jIyItbe'. I do not walk.

Simple SentencesEdit

In Klingon, the word order in a sentence is reversed. The subject comes after the verb instead of before it. The subject is the noun carrying out the action of the verb, so in Klingon it appears at the end of the sentence:

  • qet loD'. The man runs.

In this sentence, no prefix is required on the verb.

Last modified on 18 May 2012, at 20:35