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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.
This is our last Sunday of the year, so let’s spend it talking about our two remaining pronouns. To the casual English speaker, they may look quite a bit like last week’s pronouns, because they are third person pronouns, but there’s a significant difference. These are the pronouns you use when the nouns they replace are not capable of using language.
The third person singular pronoun is ’oH. Apostrophe, O, Capital H. Whether it’s the subject or object of the verb, ’oH means it. When standing in for a verb, it means it is.
The third person plural pronoun is bIH. B, Capital I, Capital H. When bIH is the subject of a verb, it means they, and as the object it means them. When standing in for a verb, it translates as they are. Remember, both bIH and last week’s pronoun choH both mean they or them. The difference is, you use choH when the pronoun references a noun capable of using language, and use bIH when the referenced noun cannot.
DujwIjDaq ’oH yuch
the chocolate is on my ship
romuluSnganpu’ vuDmey vIQoyta’ ’ej maw’ bIH
I heard the Romulans’ opinions and they’re crazy
chompu’ mugato’mey ghap DIHoHnISchugh DIHoHmeH bIH DIwIv
if we need to kill mugatos or bartenders, we choose to kill them
Some people get confused about using different pronouns for nouns that use language (like bartenders) and nouns that don’t (like mugatos), but others have no problem with the distinction. Every language reveals what’s important to the speakers. Some languages make a big deal about gender, others about formality, still others about animate vs. inanimate. Not surprisingly, Klingon shows you a different world. qo’mey poSmoH Hol