From: Marc Okrand [email protected]
Date: Sunday, November 30, 1997 11:23 PM
Subject: Re: chenmoH, ja'chuq, etc.

Neal wrote in message #[email protected]...

Are entries in the dictionaries which are verbs with an attatched suffix,
such as chenmoH=create (v) and ja'chuq=discuss (v), words in
Or are they merely examples of usage, as I suspect? (With the exception of

In other words, do we say *vIchenmoHnIS or vIchennISmoH for "I need to
create it"? Can we say ja'chuqlu' and if so, what does it mean?
(Considering that -chuq and -lu' have contradictory prefix
it seems unlikely if ja'chuq is merely ja' plus -chuq.)

This is one of those answers that starts off being simple and then gets

For the most part, entries in The Klingon Dictionary (and also in the
addendum in Klingon For the Galactic Traveler) that consist of verb + suffix
are indeed just that, verb + suffix. For example, one entry in the
Dictionary is pujmoH "weaken." This is really puj "be weak" and the
suffix -moH "cause" (thus "weaken" is "cause to be weak"). Since -moH is a
Type 4 suffix, if a suffix of Type 1, 2, or 3 is to be used (such as -chuq
"each other" or
-nIS "need" ), it would precede the Type 4 -moH; for example,
pujchuqmoH "they weaken each other" or pujnISmoH "he/she needs to weaken

It is, of course, possible to add the suffix -moH to lots of verbs; not all
of the verb + -moH combinations are listed in the Dictionary as distinct
entries. The ones that are listed are there as much as a matter of
convenience for the user as anything else. For example, there is an entry
for "commit suicide" just in case anyone wants to look that word up; but the
Klingon equivalent is simply HoH'egh, literally "kill oneself" (HoH "kill"
plus Type 1 verb suffix -'egh "oneself"). The absence of a verb + -moH
entry in the Dictionary lists does not mean that that particular formation
cannot be made.

The same goes for the negative suffixes -Ha' and -be' which, along
with -moH, are the most common verb suffixes found in the Dictionary lists
(except for -wI' "one who is/does," but that doesn't enter into any of this
since it's always last in a string of verb suffixes). Since the negative
suffixes are Rovers, they follow different rules. (Well, actually,
since -Ha' always occurs right after the verb and can never be preceded by
suffixes anyway, it can be excluded from this discussion.) The Rover -be'
comes right after whatever it is negating. Both Qochbe'nIS "he/she/they
need to not disagree" (that is, "he/she/they need to agree") and QochnISbe'
"he/she/they do not need to disagree" are acceptable Klingon formations.
The fact that the Dictionary lists Qochbe' "agree" (that is, literally, "not
disagree") does not mean that no suffix may precede the -be'. It's in there
so that someone can easily look up how to say "agree."

So far so good, I think.

A problem comes in because some of these forms (that is, some of these verb
+ suffix combinations) are so common, they seem to, in the minds of some
Klingons anyway, act as if they were simply verb and not verb + suffix at
all. This seems to happen only when the suffix in question is -moH
"cause." Maltz reports having heard both quv'eghmoH "he/she honors
him/herself," which follows the expected order (verb-Type 1-Type 4: quv "be
honored," -'egh "oneself," -moH "cause") as well as the weird quvmoH'egh
"he/she honors him/herself," in which the Type 1 suffix -'egh "oneself"
follows the Type 4 suffix -moH "cause," an impossible formation unless the
speaker is considering the verb to be quvmoH "honor" and not quv "be
honored." Speakers who do this seem to be aware that they are breaking the
rules, so they are doing it for rhetorical effect. (It has the same sort of
feeling, perhaps, as if someone were to say in English "Don't cellular phone
me this afternoon" or "I've been postnasal dripping all morning" or "It's
lightninging and thundering outside" or, to follow the Klingon example,
"He/she self-honors.") If this sort of thing happens a lot, maybe, in time,
the language will undergo some sort of reformation; maybe -moH will become a
Rover. Or quvmoH and similar forms will become simple (though two-syllable)
verbs. But neither is the case yet, and while some speakers of Klingon may
treat them as such, the wisest course is to leave such things to the poets
and keep -moH in its Type 4 position.

On the other hand, you're right about lo'laH "be valuable." It is a simple
verb in its own right (though it's an unusual two-syllable one), not the
verb lo' "use" plus Type 5 suffix -laH "can." It is likely that there is
some sort of historical connection to the verb + suffix form, but, if so, it
is just that -- historical.

Thus, finally and at long last, to answer your first specific question, say
vIchennISmoH for "I need to create it."

I'll try to answer your second question, about ja'chuq, in a separate