DaHjaj Hol 111013 indefinite subject #tlhIngan #tlh

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Hello, and welcome. You’re listening to DaHjaj Hol, your daily dose of Klingon language. I’m your host, Lawrence Schoen.

We’re going to look at one of the odder suffixes today, the second of the two Type 5 verb suffixes. I’m speaking of course about –lu’. L, U, Apostrophe, –lu’ signals the existence of an indefinite subject or an unknown subject on the verb. As a result, sentences containing the –lu’ suffix often show up in English translation in the passive voice.

Because the subject of any verb with –lu’ is always unstated, its prefixes do not follow the usual pattern. The prefixes which you’re used to seeing indicating a first or second person subject (either singular or plural) with a third person object (i.e., vI-, Da-, wI-, bo-) are used with the –lu’ suffix to indicate first or second person object. When the object is third person singular, no prefix is used, and when the object is third person plural, the prefix lu- (which is normally the prefix for third person plural subject / third person singular object) is used.

This may be the most confusing suffix we’ve talked about, so I’ll provide plenty of simple and clear examples:

something hit me

someone killed you

we were certainly tricked

y’all were defended again

ghaytan tlhaplu’
Something probably took it

DujDaq luQoybe’lu’
they were not heard in the ship


You don’t have to master every suffix in Klingon. You can manage quite well without fully grasping all the nuances of the indefinite subject. And it’s likely you’ll get by just fine without ever using it in anything you choose to say. But you haven’t been listening to these podcasts because you want to just manage or get by. So put in some extra time on this one. Work through all the examples and use them as templates to create more on your own. Someone is going to be using language to open worlds, and we want to be very definite about who it’s going to be. You. qo’mey poSmoH Hol.

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