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Pronunciation Lesson updated 2022-01-28 ^

QumwI' yIchu'!
("Activate communicator!")

We're excited to bring the language of the future to your primitive technical devices!

This unit will teach you the sounds of Klingon. Don't worry if you can't say or hear them perfectly to begin with. Keep practising & you will get it.

This unit is not teaching regular words. Much as the English letter "H" is "aitch" or "haitch", or "Y" is "wye" & "W" is "double-you", Klingon letters also have names.

The vowels are called 'at 'et 'It 'ot 'ut. The consonants add -ay to the consonant sound, e.g. m is called may (sounds like English my) & tlh is tlhay. Translate those as "the letter a", "the letter m", "the letter tlh", etc.


The Klingon alphabet is:
a b ch D e gh H I j l m n ng o p q Q r S t tlh u v w y '

Note that case matters: many letters are always lowercase (even at the beginning of a sentence) & some are always uppercase.

Note I (capital i) versus l (small L) - the second has a small curl at the bottom in Duolingo's website font. The vowel I never has an adjacent vowel. The consonant l will always have at least one adjacent vowel. Q & q are two separate letters. ch gh ng & tlh count as single consonants in Klingon. The ' (apostrophe) also counts as a letter.


Letters b l m n p t & v are said as in English, but b, p & t should always have a puff of air, even at the end of a word.

Vowels each have one pronunciation.
a as in father
e as in ten
I as in it
o as in bowl
u as the oo in pool

I is uppercase to remind us that it is different from the pattern of 5 vowels we often see in foreign languages.

w & y are as in English at the beginnings of syllables. At the ends they form a combined sound called a diphthong. At the end of a syllable w sounds like "oo" & y sounds like "ee". So paw sounds like "pow" & pay sounds like "pie".

ch is said as in "church". Never like an English "k" or "sh", & never like a German, Scottish, or Hebrew "ch". Please note that ch is a single Klingon consonant.

j should be said hard like the beginning & end of the English word "judge". Never with the softer sound from French.

r is not usually said at the roof of the mouth like an American English "r", but with the tip of the tongue behind the teeth like a Spanish "r".

q sounds much like an English "k", but from the back of the throat. The q does not include the "w" sound as in English words that begin with "qu". Even when q is followed by u, the two sounds do not blend. The Klingon word qul ("fire") sounds like the English word "cool", but with a stronger "c" sound. This is a different letter than Q explained below.

D in Klingon sounds similar to the English "d", but said with the tip of the tongue further back in the high roof of the mouth & is capitalized to help us remember the difference.

S is similarly said with the tip of the tongue further back in the high roof of the mouth. It winds up sounding a bit like an English "sh", but should never be said like an "sh". The S is also capitalized to help us remember the difference.

ng is said exactly as in English, but English speakers are not used to it at the beginning of a word. Put the rear of your tongue to the roof of your mouth to make this sound. Please note that ng is a single Klingon consonant.

gh is produced at the top of the throat with a raspy gargle or purr & a voiced vibration in the throat. Please note that gh is a single Klingon consonant.

H is said in the same position as gh but without the voiced vibration. It is similar to the "ch" heard in Scottish "loch", Hebrew "l'chaim", & German "Bach", though it is usually said a little further back & a little stronger than those sounds. It is capitalized to remind us not to say it like the weak English "h". When you see a lower-case "h" it will always be part of one of the consonants ch, gh, or tlh.

Q combines the q sound & the H sound. It should start with the throat closed like you are going to make a q, but then explode into a raspy H-type sound.

tlh is another sound not made in English. It explodes like a "t", but out the sides of the tongue like an "l". Note that this is one consonant in Klingon & is the only time you will see a l (lower-case L) without at least one vowel next to it.

' marks a sound we do make in English. We don't usually mark it in English. In Klingon it is a full letter & leaving it out is like missing any other letter from a word. We call this qaghwI'. It is made by closing the throat & is called a glottal stop. It's the stop between syllables in the word "uh-oh". You may notice that you also close the throat at the beginning of "uh-oh" and all English words that start with a vowel. Klingon 'ej sounds exactly like English "edge".

Useful phrases Lesson updated 2020-05-13 ^

Hello & welcome to Duolingo's course in Klingon!

We would like to tell you "Hello and welcome" in Klingon, but as you will see, Klingon does not have equivalents to those words. Klingons tend to be very direct and rarely engage in conversation simply for the pleasure of conversing, making superfluous many of the pleasantries we are accustomed to using in English.

In this unit we will focus on getting you using Klingon right away by introducing useful phrases that you can memorize. The grammar for these phrases will be explained in future lessons.

In case you skipped the Sounds unit to dive right in, following are some important notes:

Case matters! Many letters are always lowercase (even at the beginning of a sentence!) and some are always uppercase.

Pay attention to I (capital i) versus l (small L) - the second has a small curl at the bottom in Duolingo's website font.

nuqneH & nuqjatlh

nuqneH is a truncated form of nuq DaneH, meaning "What do you want?"

It is a common misconception that this is "the Klingon word for hello". In fact, Klingons have no word for hello. If a Klingon wishes to say something, they'll walk up to you and say it, without wasting time - as they see it - on idle chatter.

nuqjatlh? is a truncated form of nuq Dajatlh?, meaning "What did you say?"

These phrases are special exclamations and not grammatically formed questions.


Klingon for "success".

This word is often mistranslated as "Goodbye", due to the fact that it is often heard at the end of conversations. In fact, Klingon has no word for "Goodbye", but Qapla' is often used either to congratulate somebody on their success or to wish them success in the future.


Quvar - also known as the Klingon Teacher from Germany - has produced an informative video about the words nuqneH and Qapla', available in both English and German.


Klingon verbs do not have tense (past, present, future), so a verb such as yaj could mean "understands, understood, will understand".

They do have aspect (e.g. whether an action is completed or is continuous), but that will come later in the course. For now, translate verbs as non-continuous forms (e.g. "he walks" or "he walked" - not "he is walking" or "he was walking") until the continuous aspect is introduced.

In grammar, a subject is the one doing the action and an object is the one the action is done to. Klingon verbs show the subject and the object of verbs by means of prefixes.

The most important verb prefixes at the beginning of the course are:

If the subject is third person (he/she/it/they) and has either no object or a third-person object (him/her/it/them), then the verb has no prefix. (With the exception of "they - him/her/it", which you will learn later). So a verb such as yaj can mean "he understands; she understands; it understands; they understand; he understands him/her/it/them; she understands him/her/it/them; they understand them", or the same in the past or future.

Because of the verbal prefixes, the subject and/or object does not have to be included as a pronoun, and subject or object pronouns are often left off.

Torg and Mara

In this unit, you will meet Torg and Mara. They will appear in many sentences where a name is useful. (Later on, more names will appear.)

Torg is male and Mara is female - though that fact is not important to Klingon grammar, as there are no separate words for "he" and "she", and no different verb prefixes or suffixes depending on gender.

Joining nouns with and without "and"

Nouns are joined with je, which comes after the nouns, as in torgh mara je "Torg and Mara", or Hol pong je "the language and the name".

If there is no je after nouns next to each other, the effect is similar to possession: mara pong "Mara's name"; tlhIngan Hol "a Klingon's language, the Klingon language".

Word order

Klingon word order in a sentence may seem like the opposite of English word order - first comes the object (if any), then the verb, then the subject. So a sentence such as mara legh torgh means "Torg sees Mara".

Computer translations

You may be tempted to use computer translators, like Bing. Just don't! The quality of Klingon machine translation is almost always very bad. Don't report sentences from there.

Basic sentences 1 updated 2019-12-04 ^

Here, you will practise some short sentences, and learn a few new verb prefixes and suffixes

Verb and Noun suffixes

Meaning is added to Klingon words through use of syllables added to the front or ends of words. Syllables added to the beginnings of words are called prefixes and in Klingon indicate who is doing a particular verb and who that action is done to.

Suffixes are added to the ends of words and occassionally you will encounter a word with more than one suffix. Klingon linguists categorize these suffixes according to which ones cannot occur together and what order they must occur in. Verbs have 10 suffix types and generally only one suffix can occur from each type, but if you have one from each type, plus a prefix, you can have a very complicated verb!

Nouns have 5 suffix classes and again, you can only have one suffix of each type. Klingon nouns can still get pretty complicated even with only 5 suffixes.

The types of the suffixes are numbered because they may only occur in the order of their numbers. A type 1 suffix must always occur before a type 4 suffix. This course will not be quizing you on the suffix types and it attempts to teach you the proper order through drilling and familiarity rather than through memorizing the types. None the less, we will generally mention the suffix type in the Tips & Notes, in case you find it helpful or want to make a note of it.


English plurals are a good example of using suffixes. In English an -s or an -es is generally added to the end of the noun to make it plural. Klingon plurals are formed in a similar fashion to the English method of forming plurals. In Klingon a -pu', -Du', or -mey is added to the end of the noun. These are the "Type 2" noun suffixes.

Nearly all Klingon nouns belong to one of three groups, depending on which "Type 2" noun suffix they use to form their plural:
- Beings capable of using language have a plural in -pu'
- Body parts have a plural in -Du'
- Everything else (including inanimate objects, robots, and animals) have a plural in -mey.

There are only a handful of exceptions where nouns have completely separate plurals, a bit like English "person / people".

In this lesson, you will come across some nouns that refer to beings capable of using language: "man, woman, child". These therefore form their plural in -pu':

Singular (EN) Singular (tlh) Plural (EN) Plural (tlh)
woman be' women be'pu'
man loD men loDpu'
child puq children puqpu'

Plural suffixes in Klingon are optional and can be left off. A noun without one of these suffixes might still be plural. In the following units, you may come across sentences where there is no plural suffix and only the nearby grammar tells you that a noun must be plural.

New verb prefixes

Next to jI- for "I ..." and bI- for "you ..." (for one person), you will learn ma- for "we ..." and Su- for "you ..." (for multiple people, also some times said as "you guys", "all of you", "you all", or "y'all"). These prefixes indicate that there is no object.

You will sometimes be presented with an English sentence with the word "you" and no other indication whether this is supposed to be singular or plural. In such cases, Duolingo will usually accept either the Klingon version for singular "you" or for plural "you". But watch carefully for other grammar or context in the exercise that indicates whether the "you" might be singular or plural.

Joining two sentences with "and"

In the previous skill you learned that nouns are joined with je -- remember that it comes after the two nouns, as in torgh mara je "Torg and Mara".

To join two sentences with "and" a different word is used: 'ej. This word is placed between the sentences. For example, "I run" (jIqet) + "I jump" (jISup) can become "I run and I jump" (jIqet 'ej jISup).

'ej is only for joining sentences or verb phrases together, not nouns -- you cannot say torgh 'ej mara, for example.

Dialogue I updated 2019-10-05 ^


In this lesson, you will learn how Klingon respresents some English adjectives.

Klingon does not have adjectives as a separate class of words; instead, it has verbs which mean things such as "be handsome", "be smart", or "be big".

A sentence such as val torgh "Torg is smart" has the same grammar (verb + subject) as yaj torgh "Torg understands", even though one sentence has an adjective in English and the other an active verb.

Note that the English translation includes the connecting word "is" when you use an adjective, but the Klingon translation just connects the subject directly to the verb without using any sort of connecting word. As verbs, these Klingon words already contain the "is" in their definitions like "be smart".

If, on the other hand, such a verb is used after a noun, it acts like an attributive adjective: for example, from Duj "a ship" and tIn "big", we can make Duj tIn "a big ship", and from qach "a building" and 'IH "beautiful", we can make qach 'IH "a beautiful building".

This can't be interpreted as object + verb word order, because such verbs can't take an object -- they can't mean "it bigs the ship" or "it beautifuls the building".

Compare again: tIn Duj "the ship is big" (adjectival verb comes before the noun), Duj tIn "the big ship" (adjectival verb comes after the noun); 'IH qach "the building is beautiful", qach 'IH "the beautiful building".

The words HISlaH and ghobe'

HISlaH means "yes" and ghobe' means "no". These words are primarily used to answer yes/no questions. Later in the course, you will learn another word - Qo' - which is used to express refusal (as in "No, I won't!"). Outside of this course, you may also see the word HIja' which also means "yes" and is a direct synonym with no different connotations. This course will only show you the word HISlaH for "yes".

Note that unlike the English word "no", the words ghobe' and Qo' cannot be used as determiners (as in "We have no bananas."), nor as adverbs ("I am no better."); they are strictly used as exclamations.

Negatives and questions

You will come across some adjectivals and verbs that are negative -- he is not handsome, I am not stupid -- and/or are questions -- is he handsome? are you smart?.

These are formed with the verb suffix -'a' for a yes/no question and the verb suffix -be' for negative. The verb suffix -'a' is classified as a "type 9" verb suffix and will always be the last suffix on a verb. The verb suffix -be' is classified as a "rover", and the nature of its "roving" will be explained once you have learned more suffixes.

These suffixes can be added to any verb to turn it into a negative or a question. For example, jIQong "I slept", jIQongbe' "I did not sleep", jIQong'a'? "did I sleep?"; bIval "you are smart", bIvalbe' "you are not smart", bIval'a'? "are you smart"?

Even negative questions are possible: valbe''a' torgh? "Is Torg not smart?", yItbe''a' mara? "Didn't Mara walk?" (Note that the -'a' is placed after the -be' since it always comes last on the verb.)

Please note that the -'a' verb suffix is not used when there is a question word such as "who", "what", "where", "when", "why", or "how". It is only used to turn a statement into a yes/no question. Question words will be covered later in this course, but you have already had a preview with questions like nuq 'oH ponglIj'e' ("What is it your name?"). Note that the suffix -'a' is not used because that is not a yes/no question and instead uses a question word.

Apostrophes and quotes

You know by now that Klingon uses the apostrophe ' as a letter.

It does not use the double-quote character " as a letter -- when you see what might look like a double-quote in the middle of the word, it is actually two apostrophes side by side.

For example, maw' means "to be crazy" or "he/she is crazy"; when you add the question suffix -'a', you get maw''a'? "is he/she crazy?".

Simple sentences updated 2019-10-02 ^

Transitive verbs

This lesson practises some transitive verbs (ones that have an object).

Remember that the object comes before the verb and the subject goes after it in a Klingon sentence.

The lu- prefix

The lesson introduces a new prefix: lu- is used when the subject is "they" and the object is "him", "her", or "it".

Remember that if the subject is "they" and the object is "them" or there is no object, there is no prefix. Similarly if the subject is "he", "she", or "it" and the object is "him", "her", or "it".

But the combination "they - him/her/it" needs a prefix: lu-.

Suffixes -'egh and -chuq

This lesson introduces the "Type 1" verb suffixes.

The suffixes taught here indicate that the subjects of the verb somehow affect themselves or each other.

-'egh indicates that the subject of the verb affects itself (or the subjects affect themselves). For example, from legh (see), one could form legh'egh torgh "Torg sees himself" or legh'egh puqpu' "the children see themselves" (perhaps in a mirror).

-chuq indicates that the subjects of the verb affect each other. It only makes sense if the subject is plural: "we, you, they". For example, leghchuq puqpu' would mean "the children see each other" -- that is, each child sees another child.

In more technical terms, the suffix -'egh makes a verb reflexive, while the suffix -chuq makes it reciprocal.


As you have already seen, forming plurals is about as easy as in English -- where the basic rule is "just add -s". You may also remember that in Klingon, the plural ending depends on whether the noun is a being capable of language or a body part.

Beings capable of language take -pu' (tlhIngan "a Klingon", tlhInganpu' "Klingons").

Body parts take -Du' (and will be introduced later).

Everything else takes -mey (nagh "a rock", naghmey "rocks").

Note that Klingons do not generally consider robots (no matter how smart or independent) to qualify as "beings capable of language". Thus robots usually (and in this course, always) use the plural suffix -mey: one qoq, several qoqmey.

(If you, the one taking this course, are a language-using robot, we apologize for any perceived slight this simplification may inflict.)

Plural suffixes are optional in Klingon, so "the Klingons" could be translated as tlhInganpu' but also as tlhIngan.

The special case of mang

The word mang "soldier" is introduced in this skill and as a being capable of language uses the plural mangpu'. A note should be made that this is not the simple plural it appears to be. There is a separate word, negh which is used to refer to a group of "soldiers" as a whole. The plural word mangpu' has an implication that you are talking about each individual soldier in the group. Thus mangpu' might be translated as "each of the soldiers". For purposes of this lesson the simple plural "soldiers" will also be accepted.

Some more names

While you'll still see Torg (male) and Mara (female) in the course, this unit also introduces a few more names for variety.

A few of these are female: beylana, ghIrIlqa', luqara' (B'Elanna, Grilka, Lukara)

Most of them are male: DuraS, ghawran, martaq, mogh, molor, moratlh, qeylIS, wo'rIv (Duras, Gowron, Martok, Mogh, Molor, Morath, Kahless, Worf).

More names will come later in the "People" skill.

Vocabulary 1 updated 2021-01-07 ^

This lesson introduces some new verb prefixes and verb suffixes, as well as some more noun suffixes and the use of time stamps.

Verb suffix -laH "can"

The "Type 5" verb suffix -laH indicates "can" or "able to".

For example, it makes the difference between tlhIngan Hol vIjatlh "I speak Klingon" and tlhIngan Hol vIjatlhlaH "I can speak Klingon".

Verb suffix -be' "not"

In an earlier unit we introduced the very useful verb suffix -be', which means "not". You may remember that this suffix is classified as a "rover". Unlike suffix types 1-9, some of the rovers can actually be placed in different orders and change the meaning of the sentence slightly based on where they occur.

The "rover" suffix -be' comes after the verb portion which it negates.

So tlhIngan Hol vIjatlhlaHbe' means "I cannot speak Klingon" (the -be' negates the -laH), while tlhIngan Hol vIjatlhbe'laH would mean "I am able to not speak Klingon" (the -be' negates the vIjatlh to make "I do not speak", and then -laH turns that into "I can not-speak" or "I am able not to speak").

The other feature of some of the rovers is that they can appear multiple times, thus negating multiple parts of the verb construction. jIjatlhbe'laHbe' would mean, "I cannot not speak," or, "I am not able to not speak." (I know humans like that, but Klingons like that are much more rare.)

Most verbs have only one or two suffixes at a time, and the correct order of suffixes will soon become second nature from seeing the most frequent combinations.

Noun suffix -mey

This unit more fully introduces the "Type 2" noun suffix -mey, which forms the plural of many nouns (the ones that are neither beings capable of language nor body parts).

In Klingon, plural suffixes are optional -- both qach and qachmey can be used for "buildings".

Since it is clearer to use a plural suffix when there is more than one of something, these early units in the course usually use them even though they are optional. As you advance, sometimes we will show you sentences where only the verb prefix or other context indicates that a noun is plural.

More verb prefixes

You've already come across what are probably the most common verb prefixes: jI-, vI-, bI-, Da-, ma-, Su-, and no prefix at all (sometimes called the "null" prefix).

This unit introduces some new verb prefixes for combinations of subjects and objects:

Prefix subject object
qa- I you (singular)
Sa- I you (plural)
cho- you (singular) me
ju- you (singular) us
pI- we you (singular)
wI- we him, her, it
DI- we them
re- we you (plural)
tu- you (plural) me
che- you (plural) us
bo- you (plural) him, her, it, them

Pay special attention to the fact that when the subject is "we", there are separate prefixes wI- and DI- depending on whether the third-person object is singular (him, her, it) or plural (them) -- unlike when the subject is "I" (vI- for both singular and plural third person subjects) or "you (singular)" (Da- for both singular and plural third person subjects) or "you (plural)" (bo-.for both singular and plural third person subjects). Though this is a constructed language, there are some irregularities like this that appear to make it resemble a natural language.

Some of these prefixes are more frequent then others, especially the ones with an object of "him, her, it" and/or "them", so you'll see a fair bit of bo- in this course and some wI- and DI-, and it pays to get those three down.

The others are a bit rarer, though cho- and qa- (you do something to me, or I do something to you) are perhaps a bit more common than the others.

Time Stamps

Since Klingon verbs lack tense, a common way to indicate the tense of a sentence is to note the time frame of the action at the start of the sentence. These are often called "Time Stamps". We use them in English, too:
Tomorrow I will fight the enemy.

"Tomorrow" is a time stamp. In Klingon the word for "tomorrow" is wa'leS:
wa'leS jagh vISuv.

In English, time stamps can be moved around in the sentence and it is also possible to say, "I will fight the enemy tomorrow." This is NOT true in Klingon. In Klingon the Time Stamp must be part of the beginning of the sentence and must be before the object, if there is one (which also means before the verb, whether there is an object or not). As you learn more about Klingon grammar, you will see that there are also other elements that will be part of the beginning of the sentence before the object.

Pronouns updated 2020-05-05 ^


English Klingon
I (am); me jIH
you (are); you SoH
he (is), she (is); him, her ghaH
it (is); it 'oH
we (are); us maH
you (are) - plural; you tlhIH
they (are) - language-users; them chaH
they (are) - things, etc.; them bIH

Pronouns can represent a noun, but you must include the appropriate prefix : maval maH "we are smart"; jIH cholegh SoH "you see me".

The prefixes are required, the pronouns are not! Pronouns can be left off, since the verb prefix shows what the subject and object are.

Pronouns are commonly used to emphasise the subject and/or object, for example, jIqet jIH 'ach bIyIt SoH "I am running but you are walking".

When the null prefix is used for third person subjects and objects, pronouns are sometimes used to clarify: mara legh qoq 'ej 'oH tI' ghaH "The robot sees Mara and she fixes it".

SoH vs tlhIH

Klingon distinguishes between "you" for speaking to one person and to several people. "You" for one person is SoH; "you" for several people is tlhIH. English sentences that use "you" are often ambiguous - they could be talking to one person or several - but Klingon sentences are clear.

There is no distinction for formality or politeness. You would address any one person, from the admiral of the fleet to your own younger sibling, as SoH.

ghaH vs 'oH

Unlike English, Klingon does not use separate pronouns for male or female: ghaH is used for all "beings capable of using language" (Klingons, humans, etc.) regardless of whether they are male or female. It can be translated as either "he" or "she" (or "him" or "her" as an object). To keep singular vs plural clear, we do not accept "they" as a translation, but we encourage the use of singular "they" in other contexts.

'oH "it" is used for other things: animals, plants, inanimate objects, etc. Klingon is similar to English in that things are all "it" - there are no feminine forks or masculine chairs.

There may occasionally be nouns, such as an andriod, for which it is difficult to determine if it is a "being capable of language". There is no correct answer for these and different people might use different pronouns.

This division into "beings capable of using language" and "everything else" is also used in forming plurals, as explained previously, and in possessive endings, which will be taught later.

chaH vs bIH

Klingon makes the same distinctions in the plural. chaH is used for a group of beings capable of language and bIH for a group of things (inanimate objects, animals, etc.). A mixed group will most likely use chaH bIH je.

To be or not to be

Klingon does not have a verb "to be". Instead, pronouns help to fill that role.

jIH means "I" or "me" but also means "I am" in sentences such as tlhIngan jIH "I am a Klingon".

ghaH means "he", "she", "him", or "her" and also means "he is" or "she is" in sentences such as tlhIngan ghaH "He is a Klingon" or "She is a Klingon".

To specify who the "he", "she", or "it" is, Klingon uses pronouns in combination with a "Type 5" noun suffix -'e'. "Torg is a Klingon" is tlhIngan ghaH torgh'e', and "The men are Klingons" is tlhInganpu' chaH loDpu''e'.

The "Type 5" noun suffix -'e' will be covered in more detail later. For now, please only use it where it is grammatically required -- this means only in sentences where a pronoun is used for "to be".

Using verbs adjectivally and "to be"

Using a verb that can be used adjectivally for a statement, the verb includes "to be" in the verb - you do not use a pronoun as "to be" for this: val jagh ("The enemy is smart." A pronoun may still be used to represent the subject - val ghaH "she is smart", but we consider "is" to be part of val rather than of ghaH.

With a verb as an adjective following the noun it describes there is no "to be" in the English translation. If you want to use such a noun phrase as the topic in a "pronoun as to be" sentence, the -'e' suffix goes on the end of the whole noun phrase (appearing to attach to the verb).


This, that, these, those

"This, these" and "that, those" use "Type 4" noun suffixes: -vam and -vetlh, respectively: Ha'DIbaHvam "this animal", Ha'DIbaHmeyvetlh "those animals".

Whether "this" or "these" is appropriate as a translation of -vam depends on whether the noun is singular or plural; similarly with "that" or "those" for -vetlh.

These type 4 suffixes come after the type 2 plural suffix and -'e' would come last as a type 5 suffix.

Chasing forest sarks

A Sargh "sark" is a Klingon riding animal. The phrase, "chasing forest sarks" is an idiom for "doing something complex and difficult".

Verb prefix practice updated 2018-10-25 ^

More prefixes

This lesson teaches and practises some more verb prefixes which combine subject and object:

For example,

Pay special attention to the fact that when the object is "you (singular)", there are separate prefixes Du- and nI- depending on whether the third-person subject is singular (he, she, it) or plural (they) -- unlike when the object is "me" (always mu-) or "us" (always nu-) or "you (plural)" (always lI-). Though this is a constructed language, there are some irregularities like this that appear to make it resemble a natural language.

Explicit Objects and Subjects

The prefix system allows both the object and subject to be indicated on the verb itself and because of the specificity of the prefixes, it is often not necessary to specifically state the object and subject with additional explicit objects and subjects. However, if you do want to explicitly state who or what the object or subject is, to make the sentence even more specific or for emphasis, you simply put the name, noun, or pronoun before the verb (if the object) or after the verb (if the subject).

Vocabulary 2 updated 2020-05-05 ^

Verb suffix -qu'

This suffix is used to intensify a verb or another verb suffix.

You have seen previously, in this course, that other verb suffixes have type numbers and must occur in a specific order following their type number. You have also learned how to use the -be' suffix, which is classified as a "rover" and can be placed in different locations to negate specific parts of the verb. This -qu' suffix is also a "rover" and can occur directly after the verb or after another suffix. When it occurs directly after the verb it is used to emphasize the action or state of the verb itself.

Most often, it's used on adjectival verbs to give a meaning like "very ..." or "really ..." or "extremely ...": For example, valqu' SuvwI' could be translated as, "The warrior is very smart," and, yoHqu' SuvwI' valqu' could be translated as "The very smart warrior is really brave."

Note that "really" is being used in these sentences to intensify the following word and not necessarily to imply the truthfulness of the statement (there are suffixes for that, but you'll learn them in another unit).

When the suffix -qu' occurs after another verb suffix, it tends to emphasize the meaning of that specific suffix, though officially it is emphasizing the meaning of the whole word before it. For instance:
nIQoylaH would mean, "They can hear you,"
nIQoyqu'laH would mean, "They can really hear you,"
and nIQoylaHqu' would mean, "They are really able hear you."

As with -be', the suffix -qu' can be used multiple times in the same verb construction (to emphasize multiple different things). It is possible to say something like, nIQoyqu'laHqu' ("They are really able to really hear you.").


You have already learned how to use the Noun Type 4 suffixes -vam ("this") and -vetlh ("that"). In English we use something called "demonstrative adjectives" to accomplish this same thing. Similarly to how the Klingon suffixes attach to the ends of the nouns they are "demonstrating", these English "demonstrative adjectives" must be placed before the nouns that they are "demonstrating":
tajvam "this knife"
tajvetlh "that knife"

English also has something called "demonstrative pronouns" which can "demonstrate" a noun by taking the place of the noun and not attaching to anything:
"This is a knife."
"That is sharp."

Klingon does not have anything like a "demonstrative pronoun". There is no way to directly and literally translate such an English sentence. We must come up with similar Klingon sentences that have the same sort of idea, even though they are not exactly the same.

We are not going to go through all the possible methods here. We are just going to demonstrate one simple method. While the Klingon pronoun 'oH is a very close and direct translation of the English word "it", you can use it where an English speaker might use a "demonstrative pronoun".

An English speaker might hold out a knife in his hand and say, "This is a knife." A Klingon holding out the knife and wanting to demonstrate what it is would say, taj 'oH. (Note that this sentence is using the pronoun 'oH as if it were a verb meaning "it is" or "this is".)

An English speaker might point to the knife on the counter and say, "That is sharp." A Klingon pointing to the knife and wanting to demonstrate that it is sharp could say, jej 'oH. (Note that jej is the verb "to be sharp" and 'oH is just acting as a simple pronoun here.)

Other third-person pronouns can be used in a similar method:
tajmey bIH ("These are knives.")
tlhIngan ghaH ("That is a Klingon.")
Humanpu' chaH ("Those are Humans.")

You will find some exercises in this unit which include English sentences that have "demonstrative pronouns". We have included those sentences to give you a chance to practice using the regular Klingon third-person pronouns in place of the missing "demonstrative pronouns".

Locations and locatives updated 2019-11-19 ^

In this unit, you will learn to speak about locations: being in a place or going to or from a place. You will also learn to specify a currently ongoing action.


The "Type 5" noun suffix -Daq is a generic locative - depending on context, it can mean "at, in, on, by, to". A noun with -Daq would normally come before the object of the sentence.

Depending on the verb, you may not need -Daq; some verbs have destinations or locations "built in" to them and the destination or location is treated as an object. Though in English we say that one would "go to" somewhere, Klingon does not use -Daq because the verb jaH already includes the idea of "to" when used with an object.

The word nuqDaq is usually translated as "where" and is placed into the same position that the location would go if it were a statement. Even with verbs that have movement "built in" and would not normally have -Daq added to the destination, nuqDaq is used to ask "where". Since this is a question word, the interrogative verb suffix -'a' is NOT used.


The "Type 5" noun suffix -vo' means "from" and is used to specify a starting point or origin.

As both are "Type 5" noun suffixes, you may not use both -Daq and -vo' on the same noun. They can be used with other suffixes, such as plurals, -vam, or -vetlh. When used with other suffixes, the "Type 5" noun suffixes always go last.

When using -Daq or -vo' on a noun + adjectival verb, the "Type 5" suffixes (but not others) will go at the end of the entire phrase, appearing to attach to the verb: loDpu' wochvo' "from the tall men".


The "Type 7" verb suffix -taH is used for continuous or ongoing actions. Its meaning is very similar to that of the English -ing in "I am running".

Since Klingon doesn't have tense, jIqettaH can mean "I am running" or can mean "I was running" or "I will be running" - the -taH only shows that it is, was, or will be an ongoing action.


The "Type 7" verb suffix -lI' is similar to -taH and also identifies an ongoing action; however, it also implies that the action is heading towards a specific end or goal.

tera' vIjaHlI' (with jaH "go (to)") could be translated as "I am on my way to the Earth" - with the suffix -lI' implying that the going is not only ongoing but that you are making progress towards a known end point (when you reach the Earth, you will stop).

As both are "Type 7" verb suffixes, you may not use -taH and -lI' on the same verb. They can, however, be used with other suffixe types.

To be in/at/on/by a place

As noted before, pronouns help to fill the role of the verb "to be" in Klingon. This is also true with locations, such as, monDaq 'oH "It is in the capital."

As with other "to be" sentences, if you want to explicitly state the subject when using a pronoun as the verb "to be", you have to use the noun suffix -'e'. yuQDaq 'oH veng'e' "The city is on the planet."

-taH with pronouns

Klingon often uses -taH in combination with a pronoun and a location to indicate a temporary, but currently ongoing presence -- for example, Qo'noSDaq ghaHtaH mara'e' "Mara is on Kronos" (the Klingons' home world); a bit more literally, "As for Mara, she is being on Kronos".

Sum and Hop

The adjectives Sum and Hop mean "(be) near" and "(be) far", respectively.

On their own, they usually mean that something is near the speaker or far from the speaker. For example, Sum mara would mean "Mara is close (to me)".

If you want to say that something or someone is close to (or far from) someone else, you can use -Daq to make the reference point explicit: SoHDaq Sum mara (literally, "at you, Mara is close") would mean "Mara is near you", while SoHDaq Hop mara (literally, "at you, Mara is far") would mean "Mara is far away from you".

Above and below

Klingon doesn't have prepositions such as "above" or "below" or "next to".

Instead, there are nouns that mean "area above", "area below", "area next to", and so on, and things are described as being in (-Daq) those areas.

The area nouns that you will encounter in this lesson, together with a rough preposition equivalent in English, are:

nagh retlhDaq ghaHtaH torgh'e' "Torg is next to the rock" literally means something like "Torg is in the rock's area-beside".

Note that in standard Klingon, the way to say something like "in front of me" jIH tlhopDaq and "behind you" is SoH 'emDaq. Later you will learn possessive suffixes (like "my" and "your"), but they are not used with these area nouns.

Aspect suffixes updated 2019-10-05 ^

Aspect suffixes: revision and extension

This lesson gives some more practice and revision on the "Type 7" verbal aspect suffixes that you have met before (-taH and -lI') and introduces two more: -pu' and -ta'.

You will then know all four of Klingon's "Type 7" verbal aspect suffixes.

Of these four, -taH and -pu' are more general and so are more commonly used. -lI' and -ta' have more specific meanings and are only used when you want to emphasize those meanings.

-taH and -lI'

As you have seen before, these show continuous aspect - marking a given action as ongoing or continuous.

-lI' specifically implies that action is headed towards some defined goal or end, while -taH is neutral in this respect. (It neither implies nor denies an endpoint, it just notes that the action is currently ongoing.)

Sometimes, "is in the process of (doing something)" may be an equivalent for -lI'. Sometimes, a different verb might convey the goal-oriented action, e.g. tlha'taH "he is following him" versus tlha'lI' "he is pursuing him".

-pu' and -ta'

These verb suffixes mark perfective aspect: that a given action is completed. They are commonly translated into the English perfect tenses: "has done, had done, will have done".

-pu' is the more general and neutral suffix, and does not specify or deny any intent to have done the action. The action may have been intentional, it may have been accidental, or it may have been beyond our control.

(Don't confuse this one with the identical noun suffix -pu' that indicates the plural of beings capable of using language.)

On the other hand, the verb suffix -ta', implies that the action was undertaken intentionally and was accomplished - that one set out to do the action and was successful in the action.

Sometimes the simplest way to represent -ta' in English is to add, "has accomplished (doing something)" or, "has successfully (done something)". There are also some verbs which include a notion of intent in the verb and naturally lend themselves to using the -ta' suffix, like "has defected", "has won", or "has executed". These verbs are not usually used when the action was not deliberately taken.

Note that with -taH/-lI', the difference was one of progressing towards an end point, but with -pu'/-ta' the end point has already been reached and the difference is instead a question of intent.

Adverbs: bong and chIch

This unit introduces the adverbs bong "accidentally" and chIch "intentionally".

Adverbs and adverbial expressions (such as expressions of time -- "yesterday", "next month", "on Tuesday" etc.) always come at the beginning in Klingon.

Note that putting chIch at the beginning of the sentence or -ta' on the verb of the sentence creates a very similar meaning, but perhaps with a slightly different focus on intentionality vs. completion:
chIch qoq vItI'pu' "I have intentionally fixed the robot."
qoq vItI'ta' "I have accomplished fixing the robot."

Klingon grammarians do not consider it incorrect to include both the adverb chIch and the suffix -ta' and do not consider it to be overly repetitive. Such sentences are rare, but it is perfectly fine to say, chIch qoq vItI'ta' "I have intentionally accomplished fixing the robot."

A later unit ("Adv") will provide more adverbs for you to practice; this is a kind of preview.

Imperatives updated 2019-10-05 ^

Imperatives / Command forms

How to get people to do what you want them to? You ask them to nicely!

Klingons are direct, so they don't waste time on words such as "please". That means that a command such as yIngu''egh! "Identify yourself!" is not necessarily considered rude; it could be the equivalent of "Excuse me, could you tell me who you are, please?". A Klingon might consider such an uneccessarily complicated and roundabout question as rude and would see the directness of yIngu''egh! as much more polite.


The most important verbal prefix for imperatives is yI-.

It's used on all imperatives that have a grammatical object of "him, her, it", no matter how many people you are speaking to. It's also used on imperatives without a grammatical object if you are speaking to one person.

For example, mara yISam! "Find Mara!" could be directed to one person or to several, but yI'Ij! "Listen!" could only be addressed to one person.


If you wanted to issue a command without a grammatical object to several people, you would use the prefix pe- instead, e.g. pe'Ij! "Listen!".

Note that the only time it matters how many people you are giving a command to is when there is no grammatical object. For all commands with a grammatical object, the same prefix is used whether you are giving the command to one person or to many. However, if there is no grammatical object, then you use yI- when giving the command to one person and pe- when giving the command to multiple people.


The prefix tI- is used whenever the object of the command is third person plural ("them"), e.g. tera'nganpu' tIngu'! "Identify the Terrans!". The same prefix is used whether you are speaking to one person or many of them.

HI-, gho-

HI- is used when the object is "me" and gho- is used when the object is "us", e.g. HIvoq! "Trust me!" or ghovuv! "Respect us!". These are also the same regardless of whether you are speaking to one person or many.

-Qo' with imperatives

We have previously learned that statements are negated by using the negative verb suffix -be'. However, for imperatives, a different suffix is used for negation. Negative imperatives use the suffix -Qo'. For example, HIHot! "Touch me!" can be turned into HIHotQo'! "Don't touch me!"

The -Qo' suffix is officially grouped with the rover verb suffixs, but it doesn't actually rove at all. Even if there are more than one suffix on the imperative verb, the -Qo' suffix will occur last.

There are some circumstances where specific suffixes would follow the -Qo' suffix, but they do not occur with imperatives. You will learn about those later in the course. For now, if you are negating a command, place the -Qo' suffix at the end of the verb, after any other suffixes.


The adverb wej appears at the beginning of the sentence and makes the sentence a negative sentence meaning, "not yet". It is not used with negative suffixes like, -be' and -Qo' and can be used with statements, questions, and commands. For instance:
wej jagh wISuvpu'. "We have not yet fought the enemy."
wej paq DalaD'a'? "Didn't you read the book yet?"
wej qoq yItI'! "Don't fix the robot yet!"

state verbs ("adjectivals")

When you form the command form of a verb that describes a state, rather than an action (the kind of Klingon verb that in English would often be an adjective, such as yoH "be brave" or matlh "be loyal), you need the suffixes -'egh and -moH, e.g. yIyoH'eghmoH! "be brave!", literally "make yourself brave!", or pematlh'eghmoH! "be loyal!", literally "make yourselves loyal!".

The suffix -moH is taught later on, so you will not see such commands with state verbs in this unit. This is just a grammar preview.

Volition / Predisposition updated 2020-07-31 ^

This lesson introduces the "type 2" verb suffixes, which indicate things such as how much choice the subject has in performing the action of the verb or their willingness or readiness to do so.


-nIS means "need"; sometimes "must" or "have to" can also be appropriate. maqetnIS "we need to run (we must run, we have to run)"


-qang means "willing" and indicates that the subject of the verb does not mind taking a certain action under the circumstances and does so willingly: tera' vIjaHqang "I am willing to go to Earth".


-vIp means "afraid" and shows that the subject is afraid to do the given action: tlhIngan Soj SopvIp tera'ngan "the earthling is afraid to eat the Klingon food" (Soj "food", Sop "eat").

You will rarely hear the -vIp suffix from a Klingon with a prefix indicating that the subject is "I" or "we" -- it's a cultural taboo to indicate that the speaker (or a group including the speaker) is afraid to do something.


-beH means "ready" or "set up" and shows that the device acting as the grammatical subject is in a state where it can perform the required action: labbeH "it is ready to transmit (data)" (lab "transmit data")


-rup is similar to -beH, but is used with sentient subjects (this time, no language use is necessary, so animals, for example, qualify); it means "ready" or "prepared" and is used when the subject (a sentient being) is able to take on a task because they are ready to do so: qaleghrup "I am ready to see you".

Order of suffixes

With all of these suffixes, remember that the negative suffix -be' follows the part of the word that is negated -- this means that it's important to look at the order of suffixes in a word.

laDvIpbe' has -be' after -vIp and so means "he is not afraid to read it" (he is -vIpbe' to laD), while laDbe'vIp has -be' after laD and so means "he is afraid to not read it; he is afraid not to read it" (he is -vIp to laDbe').

Or as another example, Duj wItI'nISbe' has -be' after -nIS and so means "we do not need to repair the ship; we do not have to repair the ship" while Duj wItI'be'nIS has -be' after tI' and so means "we must not repair the ship; we need to not repair the ship".

Note that only one "type 2" verb suffix can be placed on a single verb. It is impossible to use "type 2" verb suffixes alone to indicate that someone is "willing to be afraid to do something" or "willing to be ready to do something". For these kinds of meanings much more complicated constructions, probably consisting of multiple sentences, will need to be used.


In this unit, you will encounter the word wo'vaD. The -vaD suffix will be explained in detail in a later unit, but for now, note that this word is not used as the object or subject of a verb, but is instead placed before the OVS structure to indicate that the action is done on behalf of the Empire.

if ... then updated 2019-10-05 ^

To express the concept "if", Klingons attach a "type 9" verb suffix on the end of the verb: -chugh.

For example, from bIyIt "you walk", you can make bIyItchugh "if you walk".

As in English, the "if" clause can come before or after the "result" clause:

Because of this, the exercises will often be strict in requiring that you maintain the order of the clauses. When the "if" clause comes first in the language presented to you, it must also come first in the translation. Similarly, if the "result" clause comes first in the language presented to you, it must also come first in the translation.

The result clause may start with vaj "then, so, thus, in that case", especially when the "if" clause comes first: e.g. bIDoy'chugh vaj yIQong "If you are tired, then sleep!" It is more unusual, but not incorrect to see vaj on the result clause when it comes first: vaj yIQong bIDoy'chugh "Then sleep, if you are tired!" It is also common to see the two clauses side by side without using vaj in the result clause.

This unit teaches "if" sentences with conditions that are considered real or possible. Hypothetical or counterfactual sentences ("If you were tired, you would sleep", "If I had studied, I would have passed the test", or the like) use a different structure which is not covered in this course.

Animals updated 2020-03-27 ^

This unit introduces a number of Klingon animals and practices the -mey plural suffix for animals and other things that are not body parts and are not capable of using language.

This unit also introduces possessive suffixes.

Possessive suffixes

Remember that to specify one person or thing that possesses another person or thing, the two nouns (or noun phrases) are simply presented next to each other with the first noun (or noun phrase) indicating the possessor and the second noun (or noun phrase) indicating the posession:
HoD Duj "the captain's ship"
tlhIngan SoS "the Klingon's mother"

When you don't want to list the specific possessor, but just want to refer to them, English would use a possessive pronoun, such as "my", "your", "his", "their" etc.

In Klingon these relationships are marked with Type 4 noun suffixes.

Klingon distinguishes here between possessions which are beings capable of using languages (those which have their plural in -pu' and use pronouns ghaH and chaH) from all other possessions (those which have their plural in -mey or -Du' and use pronouns 'oH and bIH).

If the possession is not a being or not capable of using language, such as an inanimate object, an animal, a body part, etc., then the following possessive suffixes are used:

If the possession is a being capable of using language (e.g. "my mother"), some, but not all, of those endings end in a glottal stop ' instead of a j, e.g. -lI' instead of -lIj. Those Endings are taught later, in the "Family 1" unit.

Since you have now learned many of the possessive suffixes, remember that the possessive suffixes are not generally used with area nouns. In ta' Hol we don't say tlhopwIjDaq or 'emlIjDaq (though speakers from Sakrej region would) - instead ta' Hol speakers would use pronouns and say, jIH tlhopDaq ("in front of me") and SoH 'emDaq ("behind you").

Preview of -bogh

You will see the -bogh relative-clause verb suffix used in this Skill. It is used here to mean, "thing that" as in puvlaHbogh qoq "a robot that can fly". For now memorize these words as a unit and the specifics of how to use the suffix will be taught in detail later on.

People updated 2020-03-20 ^

In this skill, you will learn some words for talking about people. You have already seen some examples such as tlhIngan ("Klingon"), tera'ngan ("Terran"), be' ("woman") and loD ("man").

You will also be reviewing the "type 2" plural noun suffix -pu'

You may remember that -pu' is a noun suffix that pluralizes nouns describing beings capable of using language. Including Klingons, Humans, Organians, Vulcans, men and women, warriors and teachers, emperors and chancellors, potentially even sentient robots (but not in this course).

Other plurals which you have already seen are:

In this skill, we'll be focusing on just the first of these suffixes, -pu'. The others are practiced in other units of the course.

While the plural suffixes can make a sentence more clear, they are in fact completely optional. The word tlhIngan can mean either "Klingon" or "Klingons", whereas the word tlhInganpu' is explicitly plural and can only mean "Klingons".

So, if you're asked to translate the sentence "I see Klingons.", you can respond with either:

You can also sometimes distinguishing between singular and plural nouns based on the use of the verb prefixes:

quv vs. batlh

Both of the nouns quv and batlh are usually represented by the same English word "honor". In English we use the word "honor" for a few different purposes, but Klingon distinguishes the personal accounting of "honor" that one earns and separates it from the "honor" which we talk about as an internal, philosophical concept of doing the right thing. As nouns, the official descriptions state that quv is associated with "reputation, dignity, and respect" and batlh is associated with "integrity, rectitude, scruples, and principles".

Thus quv as a verb is usually translated as "be honored" and batlh as an adverb is usually translated as "honorably" or "with honor". quv cannot be used as an adverb and batlh cannot be used as a verb.

More Klingon names

Starting from this lesson, you may also meet the following additional Klingons:

Female names -- 'a'Setbur, be'etor, lurSa', boqor, lurveng (Azetbur, B'Etor, Lursa, Bokor, Lurveng)

Male names -- cheng, DuraS, ghorqon, qarghan, qImpeq, toral, turghal, tlha'a (Chang, Duras, Gorkon, Kargan, K'Mpec, Toral, Turgal, Klaa)

Miscellaneous names -- ghurlaq (Gurlak)

And a few non-Klingons: qIrq (Kirk, male); pIqarD (Picard, male); 'elvIS (Elvis, male).

Captain Torg

Titles come after the name in Klingon, the opposite order to English. So, "Captain Torg" becomes torgh HoD. Rarely this can cause confusion as the same phrase can also mean "Torg's captain."

ra'wI' - "commanding officer"

The noun ra'wI' is actually made of a verb + suffix combination and you will learn how to create such words later in this course. This is defined as "one who commands" or "commander", though we must be careful not to confuse this with the similar rank. Thus it is translated as "commanding officer" in this course. Note that a ra'wI' does not have to be an officer and this is just being used to differentiate from the rank. As a noun, ra'wI' can take all the noun suffixes including the posessive suffix -wI'. At first the word ra'wI'wI' ("my commanding officer") may seem odd, but you will get used to it.

Body Parts 1 updated 2019-10-05 ^

Body parts (eyes, hands, etc.) have a special plural in Klingon: they are pluralised not with -mey or -pu' but with -Du', e.g. mInDu' "eyes", nItlhDu' "fingers".

As always, the plural suffix is optional.

Except for the separate plural ending, they act grammatically like other inanimate objects, e.g. using 'oH and bIH ("it, them") rather than ghaH and chaH ("he/she, them") and using the regular possessive endings (ending in j) such as -wIj "my".

Cultural note: Klingons have built-in redundancy in their internal organs so that if, for example, one liver should fail due to injury or disease, the other one can keep on working. This means that many body parts for which humans have only one, Klingons have in pairs.

Klingons also possess a body part that is not spoken about in polite company: the qIvon, about which little is known among other races besides its name and the fact that some (or perhaps all) Klingons seem to have more than one. The qIvon is featured in some common Klingon phrases, but don't expect to ever get a Klingon to show you, or even tell you about, his qIvonDu' unless you get to know him extremely well.

The saying bIrchugh qIvon tuj 'Iw literally translates as, "If the qIvon is cold, the blood is hot," but seems to mean something like, "Even when a Klingon does not seem so, he is always ready for battle."

The idiom bel qIvon is often used with kids and seems to refer to going to the bathroom. One might ask a kid, belHa''a' qIvonlIj? ("Is your qIvon displeased?") or excuse themselves from the room with qIvonwIj vIbelnISmoH ("I must please my qIvon.").

Adjectives updated 2020-03-27 ^

This unit teaches you some more verbs which can be used adjectivally. Remember that though these are adjectives in English, there is no such thing as an adjective in Klingon and these are really verb which can be used in a manner resembling an adjective.

These verbs can be used both in a manner similar to an attributive adjective describing a noun (in which case they come after the noun) or as a predicate adjective (like "... is blue/old/brave/...") in which case they are normal verbs and come before the subject without any connecting words (unlike English which uses the connecting verb is/are/be).

old, new, and young

A pair of adjectives to pay special attention to is ngo' and qan, as these both translate to "old" in English.

ngo' "old" is the opposite of chu' "new", while qan "old" is the opposite of Qup "young".

So a book or a house can be ngo' but a person will be qan.


Klingon has very few basic color names, so each color covers quite a broad part of the spectrum of visible light.

Most straightforward are chIS "white" and qIj "black".

Doq covers colors in the red-orange-brown part of the spectrum. It might be helpful to think of Doq as meaning "warm colored", though for translating purposes we ask you to pick a specific color in the range.

SuD covers colors in the yellow-green-blue part of the spectrum. It might be helpful to think of SuD as meaning "cool colored", though for translating purposes, we, again, ask you to pick a specific color in the range.

There isn't really a word for "purple" or "violet" in Klingon, perhaps because Klingon eyes can't perceive that color, though this is a controversial assertion. Some non-Klingons use Doq 'ej SuD "blue and red".

Further color distinctions can be made either with additional adjectives such as wov "light" and Hurgh "dark"; with the suffix -qu' "very, really"; or by using similes. (For example, brown things are sometimes describes as Qaj wuS rur "resembles kradge lips", in reference to the kradge, an animal with -- you guessed it -- brown lips.)

Placement of adjectives and suffixes

Remember that, in Klingon, verbs acting adjectivally to modify nouns come after the nouns they modify, as in tlhIngan woch "a tall Klingon". In contrast, when a noun is used to modify another noun, it comes before the noun it is modifying, as in tlhIngan Hol "the Klingon language".

When using a noun phrase made up of two nouns as a location or as the topic of a "pronoun as to be" sentence, the suffixes -Daq ("in/at/on/by/to"), -vo' ("from"), or -'e' (topic) go at the end of the phrase, which is the main noun: tlhIngan DujmeyDaq jIQuch "I am happy on Klingon ships".

When using a noun phrase that is made up of a noun + adjectival verb as a location or topic, such suffixes still go at the end of the phrase, which makes them appear to attach to the verb: Dujmey chu'Daq jIQuch "I am happy on new ships."

Compare those two sentences to make sure you see the difference between using a noun to modify another noun and using a verb to modify a noun:
tlhIngan DujmeyDaq jIQuch "I am happy on Klingon ships".
Dujmey chu'Daq jIQuch "I am happy on new ships."

When using both kinds of modifiers, these type 5 noun suffixes will still go at the end of the whole phrase, again appearing to attach to the verb: tlhIngan Dujmey chu'Daq jIQuch "I am happy on new Klingon ships."

Adverbials updated 2019-09-25 ^

This unit covers a range of adverbial words in Klingon. Official Klingon grammar categorizes all the words that aren't nouns or verbs as chuvmey leftovers. Thus these adverbial words are chuvmey.

Adverbials such as these modify or qualify a verb or sentence and may express a relation of time, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., "quickly", "on purpose", "forcefully", or "with honor").

Adverbial words such as these usually stand at the beginning of a sentence in Klingon - before the main Object-Verb-Subject part of the sentence. There are some exceptions where other words might occur before the adverb and there are also a couple adverbs that are exceptions in that they appear after the verb instead of before it. These exceptions are not covered in this unit and all of the adverbials presented in this unit will occur at the beginning of the sentence.

There are a few qualifying ideas which are adverbs in English, but which occur as a type of verb suffix in Klingon rather than as separate adverbial words. These suffixes of qualification are taught in a separate unit.

Vocabulary 3 updated 2020-01-04 ^

A collection of various words.

Of particular note is pagh, a word with a range of meanings including zero (the number), nothing, and nobody.

This lesson also includes the verb 'av "to guard" and the related noun 'avwI' "a guard" (plural 'avwI'pu' "guards); since these words start with an apostrophe, hints may not always work properly for those words, so we have added them here to make sure you have seen their definitions.

Numbers 0-100 updated 2020-02-10 ^

Klingon numbers used to be based on threes rather than tens: counting went "one, two, three; 3+1, 3+2, 3+3; 2×3+1, 2×3+2, 2×3+3; 3×3+1, 3×3+2, 3×3+3", and then it got complicated.

However, fortunately for learners on Earth, the Klingon scientific community has since created a number system based on ten, and this is the one we will be teaching here.

(Cultural note: the first three number names wa', cha', wej were kept, and the additional numbers los, vagh, jav, Soch, chorgh, Hut were borrowed from the names of the fourth through ninth notes of the Klingon musical scale.)

Numbers higher than nine use a set of suffixes that attach only to numbers.

Unlike English, these number names are completely regular -- as if we used "onety, twoty, threety, fourty, fivety" etc. based on "one, two, three, four, five" plus a suffix -ty for tens.

In Klingon, the suffixes are:

Numbers in between are written with multiple words, e.g. 456 = loSvatlh vaghmaH jav, 1,007 = wa'SaD Soch.

The word for zero, as we have seen before, is pagh.

Numbers indicating how many of something there are come before the noun they are counting: wa' paq "one book".

As we have seen before, plural suffixes on nouns are optional; this is particularly true after numbers, e.g. loS puqpu' = loS puq "four children".

Ordinal numbers are formed with the number suffix -DIch, e.g. cha'maH loSDIch "twenty-fourth", cha'DIch "second". Ordinal numbers come after the noun they are indicating: Duj wa'maHDIch "the tenth ship".

To count the number of repetitions of something, you can add the suffix -logh to a number: wa'logh "once", cha'logh "twice", javvatlhlogh "six hundred times". Repetitions act like adverbs and come at the front of the sentence (i.e. before the OVS).

The question word 'ar

The word 'ar means "how many?" or "how much?". This word follows the singular form of the word that it is inquiring about. For example:

If the noun that 'ar is referring to can take a Type 2 plural suffix, the plural suffix should NOT be used, but the word should still be treated as plural:
Duj 'ar DIlegh? - "How many ships do you see?"

If the noun that 'ar is referring to does not normally take a Type 2 plural suffix, for instance mass nouns and inherently plural nouns, then the word should be treated as singular:
bIQ 'ar wIlegh? - "How much water do you see?"

Remember that we do not use the interrogative verb suffix -'a' with question words such as 'ar. The interrogative verb suffix -'a' is only used to form a yes/no question from a statement.

law' & puS

In this unit you will also learn the words law' "be many" and puS "be few". These are verbs and not actually numbers. They can be used as verbs to make complete sentences:
law' tlhIngan Duj "The Klingon ships are many." (or in English we might be more likely to say it as, "There are many Klingon ships.").
puS verengan yoH "The brave Ferengi are few." (or in English we might be more likely to say it as, "There are few brave Ferengi.")

These verbs can also be used in an adjectival manner by following a noun:
pawtaH tlhIngan Duj law' "Many Klingon ships are arriving."
yoH verengan puS "A few Ferengi are brave." (or in English we might be more likely to say it as, "There are a few brave Ferengi.")

Family 1 updated 2020-04-06 ^

This unit introduces possessive suffixes for beings capable of speech -- for example, "my father, your sister, her brother" etc. -- as well as Klingon kinship terms, i.e. names for various relatives.

Possessive suffixes for beings capable of speech

Notice that, -Daj, -chaj "his, her, their" are the same as for things not capable of speech - the others differ by ending in j for inanimate objects but in ' for beings capable of speech.

Do not mix them up in the company of Klingons and refer, for example, to puqlIj "your child" as if it were an object.

Note that these suffixes are not used when you are explicitly indicating the possessor with a name or a noun. For instance, "the captain's mother" would be HoD SoS. The suffixes are only used to refer to the possessor with generic pronouns, like English "your", "his", "their", etc. So "his mother" would be SoSDaj.

Kinship terms

The Klingon kinship term system is quite a bit more specific than in English, which often merges similar relatives together (e.g. "cousin" can refer to any grandchild of any of your grandparents that is not your brother or sister, and an "uncle" can be related to you by blood or by marriage). On the other hand, Klingon makes no distinction between cousins and nephews/nieces, unlike English.

Terms for lineal relatives

Names for lineal relatives (direct ancestors or descendants) map pretty neatly to English, since English has separate words for pretty much all of these:

This unit also includes the form vavoy "daddy", which is an affectionate term, usually for one's own daddy. The suffix -oy in that word will be introduced properly and used more widely in the unit "Grandeur" later on.

Terms for collateral relatives

Names for aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, and nieces are more specific than in English -- speakers of languages such as Chinese, Swedish, or Turkish may be more at home here (though Klingon makes no distinction between elder and younger siblings).

Parents' generation, father's side (paternal uncles and aunts)

Your father's brother is your tennuS and his wife is your 'e'mamnal.

Your father's sister is your 'e'mam and her husband is your tennuSnal.

Parents' generation, mother's side (maternal uncles and aunts)

Your mother's brother is your 'IrneH and his wife is your me'nal.

Your mother's sister is your me' and her husband is your 'IrneHnal.

Your and your children's generations (cousins, nephews, and nieces)

Your cousins are divided into parallel cousins (children of father's brother/mother's sister, i.e. of the sibling of the same gender as your parent) and cross cousins (children of father's sister/mother's brother).

Your parallel cousins are your tey'pu'; they are tey'loD if male and tey'be' if female. Your cross cousins are your lorpu'; they are lorloD if male and lorbe' if female. Klingons tend to be closer to their parallel cousins than to their cross cousins.

These same names are also used for your nephews and nieces -- parallel nephews and nieces (if you're a man, then your brother's children; if you're a woman, then your sister's children) are tey'pu' as well, while children of your sibling of the opposite gender as you are your lorpu'.

Groups of tey'pu' and lorpu' together are your vInpu' "cousins (in general) and nephews and nieces (in general)"; one of them may also be called a vIn "cousin, nephew, or niece".

More distant cousins (second cousin once removed, grandnephew, etc.) are yurpu'.

More general terms

An 'e'nal is an in-law in general: someone who married into your family, whether father-in-law, sister-in-law, uncle-in-law or whatever.

A tuqnIgh is a member of your tuq "house", i.e. your extended family unit or clan.

Finally, there are three verbs for "to marry": what a man does is Saw while what a woman does is nay. These specific verbs are usually preferred, but if the situation does not allow you to be specific you can say tlhogh, which can be used by either partner for "to marry".

quvmoH - to honor

You have previously seen quv ("to be honored"), but one can also honor another with quvmoH. The -moH ending is a suffix that you will learn later in the course. For now just treat them as separate but related verbs.

Food and drink updated 2020-10-29 ^

Various terms for Klingon food and drink.

Soj is anything you can consume, so it's wider than "food" since it also includes drinks.

Sop is to eat solid food, tlhutlh to drink liquids, and 'ep is a verb for eating chatlh.

chatlh is a kind of soup or stew, in between solid and liquid (though usually with less liquid than an English "soup"). English speakers usually "eat" soup while Turkish speakers "drink" soup; Klingons 'ep their chatlh, using neither the term Sop nor tlhutlh for the process. It's probably best translated into English as "eat", but only applies to such soups or stews.

naH is a generic word for the edible parts of plants and is used to refer to both what English would call "fruits" and "vegetables". Two specific naH unique to Qo'noS, but similar in some ways to produce which is common on Earth, are the peb'ot, which is very similar to an Earth cucumber, and the na'ran, which has some distinct similarities to an Earth orange.

One note on an irregular plural: a jengva' is a plate (for eating from), but several of them are not jengva'mey but rather ngop.

That word is treated as a singular noun; for example, "Where are the plates?" is nuqDaq 'oH ngop'e'? rather than nuqDaq bIH ngop'e'?, and "Wash the plates!" is ngop yISay'moH! rather than ngop tISay'moH!.

(English speakers may be reminded of the word "dishware" and German speakers may be reminded of the word "Geschirr", which similarly are singular nouns applying to multiple dishes, though not necessarily only plates.)

There are about half a dozen nouns in Klingon with such an irregular plural, most of which are not taught in this course.

Clothing and armor updated 2020-02-11 ^

Another vocabulary lesson, with words devoted to clothing and armor.

The word paSlogh "socks" is intereresting because it seems to refer to socks in general and is always translated into English as a plural, but always treated in Klingon as a singular. This kind of noun is often referred to as, "inherently plural". It might help to think of the word as meaning something more like "hosiery". Klingon does have a word which can refer to a specifc, individual solitary sock: tu'mI'. It would be very unusual to use the word tu'mI' with a Type 2 plural noun suffix and paSlogh would usually be used when refering to more than one sock. However, following the pattern of some other "inherently plural" nouns, one might be able to use tu'mI'mey to imply that there are "socks scattered all about".

Change updated 2018-10-25 ^

This unit is focussed mostly on grammar, namely, the type-3 verb suffixes -choH and -qa'.

-choH indicates a change in state; typical translations are "begin to, start to" or "become", but sometimes also "fall" (e.g. QongchoH "start to sleep = fall asleep").

-qa' indicates that an action had taken place, stopped, then resumed again. "again" is often a translation for -qa'; sometimes, "back", "re-", "resume", or "repeat".

Note that since both of those suffixes are type 3, they fit into the same "slot" after a verb and cannot both attach to the same verb at the same time -- you can use either -qa' or -choH but not both at once.

So there's no -qa'choH or -choHqa' for "start to ... again"; just use -qa' in this case.

Question words updated 2021-01-31 ^

This unit introduces the questions words of Klingon:

Please note that even though you are asking a question, you do NOT use the interrogative verb suffix -'a' with these question words. The -'a' verb suffix is only used to turn a statement into a yes/no question and is not used with question words, like these.

This unit also introduces the question tag qar'a'?. This literally means, "is it accurate?", but it can also act as a general question tag -- English translations might include "doesn't he? aren't we? isn't that so? eh? innit? right?" depending on the sentence it is attached to, the level of formality, and where you come from.

A few notes on the question pronouns nuq and 'Iv:

Just as the difference between ghaH and 'oH, 'Iv is used for all "beings capable of using language" (Klingons, humans, etc.) and can be translated as "who" or "whom" and nuq "what" is used for other things: animals, plants, inanimate objects, etc.

As pronouns, they can act like a noun and they would be placed in the same position as the answer would occur in the sentence:
Sop 'Iv? "Who ate it?"
nuq Sop? "What did he eat?"

Also like pronouns, they can act like a verb to form a "to be" question (the same way that 'oH, ghaH, etc. form "to be" sentences).

So you may see sentences like 'Iv ghaH tlhInganvetlh'e'? "Who is that Klingon?" or nuq 'oH ponglIj'e'? "What is your name" with 'Iv and nuq acting like nouns, and you may also see sentences like tlhInganvetlh 'Iv? or ponglIj nuq? with 'Iv and nuq acting like verbs.

Beneficiaries updated 2019-08-24 ^

This unit introduces the noun suffix -vaD.

It indicates the beneficiary of an action (for whom something is done?) and is often translated as "for" or "to". Note that "beneficiary" is a linguistic term and the action is not always to the benefit of the beneficiary. If you give a bomb to someone, they are the beneficiary, even though the bomb does not necessarily benefit them.

Note that the word "action" is used a couple times in the above paragraph. This suffix connects a noun to a verb when that noun is neither the subject nor the direct object. An example of it's use is that the recipient of verbs of speaking or giving would be marked as the beneficiary.

Another example would be its use with pong "to name, to call" to mark the beneficiary -- the person or thing given a certain name -- e.g. SoHvaD mara vIpong "I will call you Mara" (in the sense of: I will use the name Mara for you). The English translation does not appear to use a preposition, but Klingon does use -vaD to indicate the "beneficiary" or "recipient" of the naming.

Placement of -vaD

A noun marked with -vaD cannot be used as an object or subject and will occur before the OVS structure of the sentence. Since this suffix marks the syntactic role of the noun or noun phrase, like -Daq, -vo', and -'e', you may not combine any of these suffixes together and you can only choose one syntactic role for the noun or noun phrase.

You can, however, combine the syntactic markers with other suffixes like plurals and possessives. If a noun has multiple suffixes, -vaD will always be the last.

If -vaD (like the other syntactic markers) is placed on a noun phrase created using noun + adjectival verb, this suffix moves to the end of the phrase, thus appearing to attach to the verb: jupwI' QIpvaD paq vInob "I will give the book to my stupid friend."

The prefix trick

In English, we can say either "I gave the book to him" or the shorter "I gave him the book", without "to"; the sentences mean the same thing and the word order makes it clear what is meant.

Klingon also allows one to abbreviate sentences that would use -vaD in some cases. The recipient has to be first or second person (to me, to you, to us) and there must either be a third-person direct object (a singular or plural noun or one of the pronouns "him, her, it, them"), or there is no object stated and the verb cannot take a person as a direct object.

To abbreviate a sentence like this, the verb prefix will show the subject as usual, but will show the indirect object (the beneficiary/recipient) rather than the direct object.

For example, cho- is the verb prefix for "subject = you (one person), object = me". If we say paq chonob, it will mean "you gave me a book": the same thing as jIHvaD paq Danob "you gave a book to me".

In the shorter version, paq chonob, it is clear that "me" is not the direct object (the thing given) because an explicit object paq is present.

In the longer version, jIHvaD paq Danob, the verb prefix Da- (subject = you, object = it) agrees more straightforwardly with the direct object.

Similarly, qoqmey ghonob! "Give us the robots!" would be understood the same way as maHvaD qoqmey tInob! "Give the robots to us!" -- gho- "you!–us (imperative/command)" will be understood with "us" as the indirect object because the direct object qoqmey is present.

As an example of a verb that cannot take a person as a direct object, jatlh "to say, to speak" can only take things such as languages, speeches, or sentences as direct objects. Thus qajatlh cannot mean "I speak you" but has to mean "I speak to you".

This abbreviated way of forming sentences using the verb prefixes in a different way rather than using -vaD is also known as "the prefix trick".


There is sometimes a temptation to use the -vaD suffix to relate two nouns when English uses the word "for", as in, "a message for the captain". Klingon does not use the -vaD suffix for this kind of connection and in the vast majority of cases, you are better off using the genitive noun-noun construction: HoD QIn "a message of the the captain".

Cause updated 2022-01-28 ^

This unit introduces the suffixes -moH and -Ha'.


-moH is a Type 4 verb suffix - in fact, it is the only Type 4 verb suffix that we know of. -moH is used to form causatives; this feature is also present in several other languages, such as Esperanto's -ig-.

For example, from poS "to be open" one can form a new verb poSmoH "to cause to be open, to make open = to open". From Sop "to eat" one can form a new verb SopmoH "to cause to eat = to feed". From ghoj "to learn" one can form a new verb ghojmoH "to cause to learn = to teach".

If the root verb does not take an object, then the subject of the root verb simply becomes the object of the causative verb:

If the root verb can take an object, then there are several possibilities, depending on whether you want to name both the original subject and object, or just one of them:

This means that something like puq SopmoH torgh "Torg feeds the child" can be ambiguous between "Torg feeds the child (to the targ)" or "Torg feeds the child (with pie)".

targhvaD puq SopmoH torgh and puqvaD chab SopmoH torgh are clear.

-'eghmoH in commands

As you may remember from the "Imperatives" unit, verbs of quality (verbs that describe a state or quality, such as "be hungry, be tired, be brave, be loyal", rather than an action, such as "run, walk, fight, eat, drink") require -'eghmoH in the imperative or command form.

For example, "be brave!" would be yIyoH'eghmoH! to one person (literally, "cause yourself to be brave!") and peyoH'eghmoH! to several people (literally, "cause yourselves to be brave!").

Since -'egh is a Type 1 verb suffix and -moH is a type 4 verb suffix, any Type 2 or 3 suffixes would come between them, but would otherwise not change the usage or meaning.


The verb suffix -Ha' implies un-doing something that you did or mis-doing something, doing it wrongly. Sometimes the meaning is also simply the opposite of the basic verb.

For example, from yaj "understand" we get yajHa' "misunderstand"; from meS "to tie (a knot)" meSHa "to untie (a knot)", and from par "to dislike" parHa' "to like".

-Ha' is officially classified as lengwI' (a Rover) by Klingon linguists, but, in actuality, it doesn't rove the way -be' and -qu' do. When Ha' is used it always comes immediately after the verb, including even before any Type 1 verb suffixes.

Cause 2 updated 2021-03-13 ^

This unit teaches the suffix -mo' and another use of the verb suffix -Qo' which we have seen before.


The suffix -mo' means "because (of)" and appears as either a noun suffix or a verb suffix. Klingon linguists treat these as two separate suffixes, one type 5 noun suffix and one type 9 verb suffix. Most of the suffixes are unique and the few that do look similar have completely different uses and meanings (-pu' on a noun is a plural and on a verb indicates it is perfective, -lI' on a noun is a possessive and on a verb indicates it is "in progress"). Grammatically we separate the noun suffix -mo' from the verb suffix -mo', but they both occur as the last suffix on a word (whether a noun or a verb) and they both mean "because" (when we use this noun suffix we often add "of" to the English translation).

As an example of using the noun suffix -mo', from vavwI' "my father" we can form vavwI'mo' "because of my father". As an example of using the verb suffix -mo', from jIghung "I am hungry" we can form jIghungmo' "because I am hungry".

If a noun is followed by an adjectival verb, then the -mo' ending goes on the adjectival verb; for example, vavwI' HoSmo' "because of my strong father". Be careful to note that HoS cannot have a grammatical object and so has to be acting adjectivally here. Thus this cannot be the verb suffix -mo' and must be the noun suffix -mo' even though it appears to be on a verb.

Whether being used on a noun or a verb, -mo' is always the last suffix. A noun marked with -mo' (or a noun phrase consisting of noun + adjectival verb-mo') must appear before the object-verb-subject structure of the sentence. When -mo' is placed on the verb of a complete clause, the whole -mo' clause may be placed before or after the main clause of which it is indicating the cause. Be careful to pay attention to the order of the verb clauses. Since they can be in either order in both languages, we require you to translate them in the same order as presented.


The verb suffix -Qo' has come up on imperatives (command forms) before, where it turns the command into a negative: "Don't ...!". This can also be interpreted as "Refuse to...!"

When the verb is not imperative, the -Qo' suffix can also be used to mean "refuse".

For example, from qagh Sop tera'ngan "The Terran eats gagh" we get qagh SopQo' tera'ngan "The Terran refuses to eat gagh".

On non-imperative verbs the -Qo' suffix is often translated simply with the words "will not" or "won't" (only as an indication of refusal and not as a reference to future tense). So qagh SopQo' tera'ngan can also be translated as "The Terran won't eat gagh."

There is a subtle difference here from regular negation with -be'. Compare:
qagh Sopbe' tera'ngan "The Terran doesn't eat gagh."
qagh SopQo' tera'ngan "The Terran won't eat gagh."

You may remember, from the Imperatives unit, that the -Qo' suffix is officially classified as a rover, but does not actually rove. In that unit you were told that the -Qo' suffix would always come last, but there were exceptions. These exceptions occur when using -Qo' on non-imperative sentences.

Any type 9 syntactic verb suffix will always occur after the -Qo' suffix. The type 9 syntactic verb suffixes that you have learned in this or prior units are the "interrogative" -'a' verb suffix, the "if" -chugh verb suffix, and the "because" -mo' verb suffix presented above. Thus to ask "Does the Terran refuse to eat gagh?" a Klingon might ask, qagh SopQo''a' tera'ngan? Or to say, "If you won't buy, then you will die," a Klingon might say, bIje'Qo'chugh vaj bIHegh. Or, the customer having already failed to make a purchase, the Klingon might say, bIje'pu'Qo'mo' DaH bIHegh ("Because you have refused to buy, now you will die.")

Space exploration updated 2018-10-25 ^

This unit introduces various words related to space, stars, planets, etc.

It also includes the word tu'lu'.

The grammar behind this will be taught more explicitly later, so for now, just learn X tu'lu' as "there is an X", and Y-mey (lu)tu'lu' as "there are (some) Ys".

Technically, the verb form should be lutu'lu' if there are many Ys, but many Klingons just say tu'lu' whether there is just one thing or there are many things. It's perhaps a bit like "whom" in English -- "Whom did you see?" is the conservative form and is technically correct, but very many native speakers would simply say "Who did you see?".

This course generally uses just tu'lu' whether there is just one object or many.

Similes updated 2019-03-23 ^

This unit is all about comparing.


The first lesson uses the verb rur to say that something resembles or is similar to something else.

For example, we might say vavwI' rur torgh "Torg resembles my father".

This verb is also used to ascribe qualities to someone by comparing them to someone or something else that has that quality.

For example, quv torgh; qeylIS rur literally means "Torg is honored; he resembles Kahless" but idiomatically means "Torg is as honored as Kahless" -- the implied comparison is that Torg resembles Kahless in that quality we have just mentioned, namely being honored.

bigger/smaller/cheaper/... than

The next few lessons use the X Q law' Y Q puS pattern, which needs a bit more explanation.

To say that one thing has a quality in a greater degree than another thing, English uses the -er ending (bigger, smaller, better, ...) or the word more (more expensive, more interesting, more powerful) together with the word than.

Klingon does this quite differently.

To say something such as "My father is stronger than your brother", Klingons say vavwI' HoS law' loDnI'lI' HoS puS.

This might be interpreted, somewhat literally though ungrammatically in English, as "my father's strong is many; your brother's strong is few" or "my father has much strong, your brother has few strong".

The adjectival verb (here: HoS) has to be named twice -- once with the law' "many" and once with the puS "few". When used in this kind of construction, the adjectival verb never takes a prefix, and pronouns may be used for the nouns which are being compared, for example: jIH HoS law' SoH HoS puS for "I am stronger than you."

In the hints for translating Klingon to English, combinations such as HoS law' are usually glossed as "stronger" and puS is glossed as "than", but you can't just say vavwI' HoS law' puS loDnI'lI' for "my father is stronger than your brother" -- remember to put the adjectives after the nouns, to use them twice, and to follow one by law' and the other by puS.

To negate such a comparison, negate both law' and puS, e.g. vavwI' HoS law'be' loDnI'lI' HoS puSbe' "my father is not stronger than your brother".

As a side note, because "A Q law' B Q puS" structure is so distinctive, Klingons may use other pairs of antonyms than law'/puS such as HoS/puj, pIv/rop, Daj/qetlh, ghegh/Hab, Qatlh/ngeD. This course will only accept law'/puS, though.


The comparative structure mentioned above can be turned into a superlative one (Torg is the bravest, etc.) by using Hoch "everyone, everything" as the second part of the comparison: torgh yoH law' Hoch yoH puS "Torg is the bravest" (more literally, "Torg is braver than everyone").

If you want to specify the group from among whom Torg is the bravest, you can use the topic marker to do so: tlhInganpu''e' torgh yoH law' Hoch yoH puS "As for Klingons: Torg is the bravest" = "Torg is the bravest Klingon, Torg is the bravest of the Klingons".

What time is it? updated 2018-10-25 ^

This unit teaches you one way to tell time and to say at what time something happens.

It works for full hours.

The question is 'arlogh Qoylu'pu'? and can be translated as "what time is it?"

The literal translation is "how many times has it been heard?", with "it" originally referring to some traditional bell or chime, presumably.

Saying when something happens in the future or had happened in the past can be done with xxx-DI' yyy-logh Qoylu'pu' "xxx will happen / happened at yyy o'clock", or literally, "when xxx happens / happened, it will have been heard / had been heard yyy times".

For example, mapawDI' loSlogh Qoylu'pu' "We will arrive at four o'clock / We arrived at four o'clock" (literally: when we arrived, it had been heard four times).

Time from now and time ago updated 2020-03-24 ^

This unit teaches you how to describe some things that happened in the past or will happen in the future with words such as "the day before yesterday" or "three months from now". It also introduces the days of the week.

The Klingon day

The basic Klingon word for a day is jaj. In it's strictest use, this refers to one complete planetary rotation from one dawn to the next dawn. The Klingon day can be divided into pem "daytime" followed by ram "night".


You may notice that the word jaj appears in the timestamp DaHjaj "today". It is also used in the word jajvam "this day". jajvam seems never to be used as a timestamp, but is frequently used to refer to "today" in sentences as the subject, object, or topic of the sentence. For instance in the famous Klingon aphorism, Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam! "Today is a good day to die!"

DaHjaj can also be used as the subject, object, or topic of a sentence, but it is rare to see it that way. jajvam is mostly used for that purpose and DaHjaj is usually just used as a timestamp.

Time ago and time from now

Klingon expresses notions such as "x days ago" or "y days from now" with special syllables combined with a preceeding number and do not use the word jaj.

Similar syllables are used for months and years.

You will see the number and the time syllable written together as if the syllable was a number suffix, but you also may sometimes see them written as two words with a space between.

Time ago

Time from now

People who like mnemonics may find it useful to remember waQ and wen as "months from now, months ago" because the moon 'waxes' and 'wanes'.)

How old are you?

The suffix -ben "years ago" is also used when inquiring about someone's age.

When asking someone how old they are, Klingons ask how many years ago they were born: ben 'ar bIboghpu'?

And the answer might be wa'maH chorghben jIboghpu' "I was born eighteen years ago = I am eighteen years old".

It is standard to use the -pu' syllable even though the English does not include "has/had/will have" and so we allow answers that do not include them for these phrases.

Other time periods

For other time periods that have no specific suffixes, such as minutes from now or weeks ago, you can use ret "time period ago" and pIq "time period from now".

For example, wa' Hogh ret is "one week ago" and wa'maH tup pIq is "ten minutes from now" -- literally, "one week's time-period-ago" and "ten minutes' time-period-from-now".

Days of the week

The days of the week in the Gregorian calendar commonly used on Earth are as follows:

There are two words for Saturday. There's no difference in meaning between them. The longer one lojmItjaj tends to be used on formal occasions, but otherwise, both are used about equally frequently.

The days DaSjaj through ghInjaj/lojmItjaj are Klingon weekday names and are used in the Klingons' six-day week.

When Klingons encounter calendars with more than six weekdays, they simply number the remaining days and call them "Day One, Day Two, Day Three" etc.

Thus our Sunday gets called jaj wa', literally, "Day One".

Time suffixes updated 2019-09-27 ^

This unit teaches some type 9 syntactic verb suffixes that indicate when something happened or will happen.

-pa' means "before", -DI' means "when" or "as soon as", and -taHvIS means "while".

-taHvIS is really a compound of -taH, the continuous-aspect suffix which we have seen before, and -vIS, which conveys the "while" meaning and which is always used together with -taH.

For example, bISoppa' ghopDu' tISay'moH! "Before you eat (bISoppa'), wash your hands (ghopDu' tISay'moH)!

This can also be said as ghopDu' tISay'moH bISoppa'! "Wash your hands before you eat!"

Purpose updated 2018-10-25 ^

This unit introduces the verb suffix -meH which is used for purpose clauses -- "in order to (do something)" or "so that (something)".

Together with the verb lo' "use", this also gives us a way to phrase things that would use the preposition "with" in English.

For example, "he cut the fruit with a knife" can be rephrased as "to cut the fruit, he used a knife" naH pe'meH taj lo'. (Note that the purpose clause must come before the other clause -- the word order *taj lo' naH pe'meH is not possible.)

The subject of the verb with the -meH prefix does not need to be the same as the subject of the verb in the main clause: for example, one can say SulaDlaHmeH, Qorwagh vIpoSmoH "I open the window (Qorwagh vIpoSmoH) so that you all can read (SulaDlaHmeH)".

Indefinite subject updated 2020-04-02 ^

This unit is all about the Type 5 verb suffix -lu', called the "indefinite subject" suffix.

Indefinite Subject

This suffix indicates that the subject or actor is unknown, indefinite, irrelevant, or general. We often indicate this in English by using generic subjects like, "one", "someone", or "they".

For example, loD choplu'pu' would mean "someone has bitten the man", "they have bitten the man", or "one has bitten the man".


The use of verbal prefixes in connection with this suffix is a bit unusual.

The prefix is chosen as if the patient or "sufferer" of the verb were the subject and the object were "he, she, it".

For example, "it bites you" (when speaking to one person) is Duchop, but when using -lu' to say, "one bites you", Du- is not used but instead Da- -- the form used for "you (one person) do something to it": Dachoplu' "one bites you; someone or something bites you; they bite you".

Thus, we have:

Passive voice

To avoid expressing who is doing the action, English sometimes use the passive voice, such as "the man was bitten". The English passive voice is used to emphasize what would normally be the object of a sentence by placing it in the subject position. You can add the preposition "by" to indicate who actually did the action ("the man was bitten by the targ"), but still emphasize that you are talking about a man being bitten and the targ is incidental. However, if you leave the preposition off, then it becomes a type of indefinite subject. If all I say is "the man was bitten" then who did the biting is left indefinite.

As we indicated earlier, loD choplu'pu' would mean "someone has bitten the man", but it can also be translated into the English passive voice, "the man was bitten."

Note that in the passive voice, English reverses the position of the subject and object:
The targ bites the man.
loD chop targh
The man is bitten by the targ.

When using the English passive voice, the ones doing the action and having the action done to them now appear in the same order as the Klingon sentence. When doing the exercises this can be somewhat confusing because if you are given the passive voice in an English sentence, the receiver of the action will appear first and the word order will match the Klingon, instead of being reversed like you would normally expect.

Also note, however, that the use of the Klingon prefixes does seem to reverse and also now seems to match the English passive voice:

In the Duolingo exercises, pay attention for when you are given an English passive voice sentence and must translate it with the Klingon indefinite subject.

There is - tu'lu'

Now you can also understand the forms tu'lu' for "there is" and lutu'lu' "there are": they are based on the verb tu' "find, observe".

So pa' puq tu'lu' "there is a child there" literally means "one finds a child there" or "a child is found there". And pa' puqpu' lutu'lu' "there are children there" literally means "one finds children there" or "children are found there".

-lu' and -laH

For reasons that make most sense to Klingon grammarians, it is not possible to combine the suffixes -lu' and -laH to create meanings such as "one can see me; I can be seen" or "one cannot find them; they cannot be found". -lu' and -laH are both Type 5 verb suffixes, so one or the other of those suffixes can be on a given verb but not both at once.

If such a meaning is desired, one way to express it is with a locution such as muleghlaH vay' "someone can see me" or chaH tu'laH pagh "nobody can find them" with an explicit subject vay' "someone" or pagh "nobody".

Sentences as objects updated 2021-01-31 ^

So far, we've been using fairly simple sentences -- simply main clauses, or main clauses joined to each other by conjunctions such as 'ej "and" or 'ach "but".

This skill will teach you how Klingons do the equivalent of subordinate clauses -- things such as, "I know that you have eaten my gagh," where the object of "know" is an entire clause including a verb, "you have eaten my gagh."


English uses a subordinating conjunction "that" for this; Klingon uses a special pronoun: 'e'.

(This is a complete and separate word not to be confused with the topic suffix -'e' that can be added to nouns, such as in "A is a B" sentences.)

This pronoun 'e' refers to a preceding sentence, and can go into the object position of a following sentence (i.e. in front of the verb).

For example, if one person says qettaH mara "Mara is running", another may reply, 'e' vIlegh "I see that", referring with 'e' for to the previous sentence, qettaH mara.

More commonly, however, two clauses are spoken by the same speaker, "connected" with 'e'. Usually, no punctuation is used after the first sentence.

So you might also hear: qettaH mara 'e' vIlegh -- literally, "Mara is running, I see that", but equivalent to "I see that Mara is running."

Note that while in English, we might say, "I know that you ate my gagh," with the word "that" or, "I know you have eaten my gagh," without it, the Klingon sentence must contain the 'e': qaghwIj DaSoppu' 'e' vISov.

The only exception to this is the verb neH which means "to want" -- here, the 'e' is left out.

For example, a Klingon might say qagh vISop vIneH "I want to eat gagh." -- literally: "I eat gagh. I want that."

'e' counts as a singular object, so something like "We know that the prisoners eat" would be Sop qama'pu' 'e' wISov, with the prefix wI- indicating the subject is "we" and the object is "it".

Similarly, "They want us to eat" would be maSop luneH (literally: "we eat; they want that"), with prefix lu- indicating subject "they" and object "it, that".

Don't be misled by English grammar and use something like Sop nuneH to try to say "they want us - to eat". nuneH does mean, "they want us", but you can't use it to try to say "they want us - to eat". In this type of sentence, "we" are doing the eating and so must be represented by the prefix on Sop, instead of on neH. The Klingon grammatical object of "want" is the entire previous sentence (which for other verbs would be represented by the pronoun 'e', but 'e' is omitted with the verb neH).


Another special pronoun is net.

This acts similarly to 'e', but in addition indicates that the subject of the verb is indefinite or general.

For example, 'e' Sov means "he/she knows that", but net Sov means "one knows that; it is known that". This is exactly equivalent to 'e' Sovlu', but when you want to use -lu' with 'e', you should use net instead. For example: val tlhInganpu' net Sov "It is known that Klingons are smart; One knows that Klingons are smart".


The verb poQ does not have one good translation, so it can be confusing. It is used to indicate a strong desire or something that feels as if it necessary. It may imply a command or suggest a requirement, but it literally only expresses that the subject feels the object is very important to them. poQ is often used with 'e' to indicate what one desires to happen. Most of the time, this course will translate poQ as "demand", but it is important to keep in mind that it is "demand" as in "require" or "need", not as in "to make a command". In English one doesn't "demand" someone else, so when the object is a person, poQ is more often translated "need".


This unit introduces the verb jal which is usually translated as "imagine, envision" and is very often used to express hypothetical situations: tlhIngan SoH 'e' vIjal. This sentence can be translated directly as "I imagine that you are a Klingon."

In English, we often express hypothetical situations like this with a subjunctive mood conjugation, so we might instead say, "I imagine that you were a Klingon." In this course we will accept either the indicative mood (regular past, present, or future) or the subjunctive mood.

Commands using 'e' with jal may sometimes translate the 'e' as "if": puvlaH targh 'e' yIjal ("Imagine if targs could fly.") In this course, we will accept either "that" or "if" in sentences like this.

Note that the verb suffix -chugh also creates a kind of hypothetical situation. The difference is that a -chugh statement is used to indicate a cause and effect and should include the result of the hypothetical. A jal command is just asking the listener to imagine if such a situation were to exist.

Science Vocabulary updated 2018-10-25 ^

Some more science vocabulary.

Also includes a useful verb bop "to be about", as in HeySelmey bop paqvam "this book is about atoms".

Particle physics updated 2018-10-25 ^

This skill introduces some words from particle physics: protons, electrons, particle accelerators, etc.

Weather updated 2018-10-25 ^

Some words about weather and weather phenomena.

Note that weather usually involves verbs in Klingon -- for example, SIS "rain" is a verb (it rains, it is raining) and there is no specific word for the noun "rain".

If you wanted to specify that a specific puddle, for example, was formed from rain and not some other source of water, you could call it chal bIQ "sky water", but that's more of a description than a separate word for "rain".

Note that English needs a dummy subject "it" with weather verbs (it is raining, it snowed, etc.) but Klingon does not: SIStaH, peD etc. are quite sufficient. Don't use 'oH as there is no "it" there which "does the raining".

Serious weather predictions use the verb 'aq, which indicates a kind of prediction that is carried out on the basis of science, research, or deductive reasoning, rather than guesswork or gut feeling.

If the specific person or group who made the forecast is not named, the construction is usually ... 'e' 'aqlu' "It is predicted that ...", though ... net 'aq is also possible.

Verb Qualifiers updated 2018-10-25 ^

This skill introduces type-6 verbal suffixes, which can be used to show how confident you are about the statement you are making, or how close to reality the verb is.

There are four of these: -law' -bej -ba' -chu'


The verbal suffix -law' indicates some degree of doubt -- "it seems that..., I think that..., I suspect that..., apparently...".

For example, ghunglaw' puq means "it seems that the child is hungry; I suspect that the child is hungry; the child is apparently hungry".


The verbal suffix -bej indicates a high degree of confidence. It can be translated as "certainly", "definitely", or "undoubtedly".


The verbal suffix -ba' indicates that something is obvious.

For example, nepba'taH qama' would mean "the prisoner is obviously lying". (Note the order of the suffixes: the type-6 suffix -ba' "obviously" comes before the type-7 aspect suffix -taH "-ing".)


The verbal suffix -chu' can be translated as "clearly", "perfectly", or "completely", depending on the sentence.

Note in this connection that the placement of the negative suffix -be' matters when there are multiple suffixes, as it acts on the one in front of it.

So qayajlaHbe'chu' (qa- "I-you", yaj "understand", -laH "can, able", -be' "not", -chu' "completely") means something like "I am completely unable to understand you, i.e. the -laHbe' "not able" state is perfect or complete.

On the other hand, qayajlaHchu'be' would mean something like "I can understand you, but not perfectly", i.e. the -laH "able" state is -chu'be' "not perfect".

These distinctions are sometimes a bit difficult to capture naturally in English.

Noun Qualifiers updated 2018-10-25 ^

This skill introduces you to the three type-3 noun suffixes -qoq -Hey -na', which indicate the speaker's attitude towards the noun, or how sure the speaker is that the noun is being used appropriately.

These are tricky to translate into natural English; sometimes, an adverb or verb may work better than an adjective.


The suffix -qoq indicates that the noun is being used ironically or otherwise not with its literal meaning. "So-called" is usually a good translation. It's similar to the practice of using "finger quotes".

For example, if someone is asking a question "for a friend", the listener might inquire about jupqoqlI' "your so-called friend" or "your 'friend' ".


The suffix -Hey indicates that the speaker is not sure what the object he is discussing is but suspects that it may be this noun.

For example, if the speaker sees a humanoid figure in the distance and thinks it might be a Ferengi, but isn't sure yet because he can't see clearly enough, he might call say verenganHey vIlegh. "I see an apparent Ferengi" might be a translation, or perhaps a rewording to "I see what might be a Ferengi" or "I think I see a Ferengi" or "I suspect that it's a Ferengi that I see" might capture the sense of the Klingon sentence better.


The suffix -na', on the other hand, indicates that the speaker is sure that the word he/she is using is appropriate.

If, in the previous example, the humanoid comes close enough that the speaker can clearly discern their brow ridge and the shape of their ears and knows without a doubt that it is, indeed, a Ferengi, he may use the word verenganna' "definitely a Ferengi, an undoubted Ferengi" to describe him.

Lengths and Measurements updated 2019-03-23 ^

This skill introduces various words for measuring things and saying how long or wide etc. they are.


The word 'ab means specifically "to have a height of ...", but due to a difference in how English and Klingon measures things, it may sometimes be translated as "to have a length of ...".

For something that effectively has only one measurement (in other words, it has a significantly greater measure in one dimension than in the other two - such as a pole or a rope), 'ab will give you the measurement of that greatest dimension. In English we usually call this the length, but Klingons call it the height. Klingons apparently imagine measuring such long objects standing on end, instead of stretched out along a surface.

juch & 'aD

The word juch means "to have a width of ..." and the word 'aD means "to have a length of ..."

For something that effectively has only two measurements (in other words, one of the dimensions is negligible compared to the other two - such as a lid or a table top), 'aD will give you the length and juch will give you the width. Klingons apparently imagine measuring such flat objects lying down and not standing up on the edge.

When measurements are given for all three dimensions of a being or thing, then the actual orientation is considered and 'ab is used for height, juch is used for width, and 'aD is used for length (sometimes called "depth" in English, but only for depth going back, 'aD is never used for depth under a surface).


The word Saw' means "to have a depth of ..." and is used for giving the measurement of depth under a surface.


Measurements in this skill are in Klingon units: 'uj and 'uj'a', translated here as uj and uja (i.e. the English names are just the Klingon words without the apostrophes), pluralized as ujes and ujas, respectively.

We do not ask you to convert between Klingon units and English units in this course, so you do not need to memorize the exact length of an uj or uja. However, in case you would like to know, an uj is about 35 cm or 14 inches, an uja is nine ujes, so about 3.15 m or 124 inches (10 foot 4).

Agent nouns updated 2019-02-20 ^

This skill introduces the suffix -wI'.

It is added to verbs and produces nouns.

Similar to the English suffix -er, those nouns refer to a person who does that action or an item which does that action.

For example, from bom (to sing), we get bomwI' "singer" (a person who songs) and from poSmoH (to open) we might make poSmoHwI' "opener" (a tool that opens things, or a person who opens things).

You have seen this suffix before as part of some nouns such as SuvwI', chungwI' or ghoqwI'.

A few nouns in -wI' have an unpredictable meaning, however, such as De'wI' "computer"; there is a noun De' "data, information" but no (known) verb De'.

Greater and lesser updated 2019-12-16 ^

This unit will introduce the Type 1 noun suffixes. There are three such suffixes and they are -'a', -Hom, and -oy. These suffixes will always come before any other suffixes (with the exception that if they are being placed on a noun formed from a verb with the type 9 verb suffixes -wI' or -ghach, then any verb suffixes retained in creating the noun will be before the noun suffixes).

-'a' (augmentative)

This suffix is placed on a noun to indicate that you are talking about a different version of the noun which is in some way greater, more significant, or more major to the normal, unmarked version of the noun. The difference is usually more than just a simple size difference (which should be indicated, instead, with the verb tIn), but indicates a difference in power, capability, or importance.

A bIQ'a' is not just a big area of water, it is an ocean or a sea. A pIn'a' (master) could actually be physically smaller than a pIn (boss) in the same field. And while the vaS'a' (Great Hall) is bigger than the typical vaS (assymbly hall), what makes it the vaS'a' is the importance and power of the Klingon government that is seated there.

There is not really one good way to translate the suffix into English. Some words might actually change completely to reflect the difference in English. A Duy is an agent or emissary and a Duy'a' would be an Ambassador. When there are not different English words available, you will often see -'a' translated as, great, though this can be confused with meaning, wonderful, and -'a' does not necessarily carry that connotation. Sometimes the word major works well, though in military contexts, this can be confused with the Terran military rank.

Please note that this suffix is NOT related to the identical looking interrogative verb suffix -'a'. As you can see above, the noun suffix has a completely different meaning from the verb suffix.

-Hom (diminutive)

This suffix indicates the opposite quality from -'a'. -Hom marks a noun which is in some way a lessor, more insignificant, or more minor version of that noun. Again, size can play a role, but is usually not the determining factor (otherwise, you might be better off using the verb mach).

be'Hompu' and loDHompu' are not just tiny be'pu' and loDpu', but actually a minor version of those things (pun intended). While a lupDuj is a transport ship, a lupDujHom is nothing more than a shuttlecraft. And though a veng would be a bustling city, a vengHom would just be a village.

We see, again, in the words introduced above, the tendency to actually use different English words, when available to translate the different concepts. Though at times, there isn't a different word available and words like lessor or minor are often used to translate the -Hom suffix.

A good Klingon word to demonstrate all three version of one concept, might be the word SuS, which is translated wind, breeze, and with the -'a' suffix becomes a SuS'a' (strong wind) or with the -Hom suffix becomes a SuSHom (wisp of air).

-oy (endearment)

This suffix is rarely used by adults, especially in military or formal settings. It is most often used by children and applied to relatives and pets. It indicates a particular fondness, usually by the speaker, for the noun that it is attached to. A child might call their SoS (mother), SoSoy (mommy), and their vav (father), vavoy (daddy). While native speakers may have a good understanding of when or how to use this suffix, it is not recommended that adult learners use this suffix unless they are absolutely certain they understand what the ramifications will be.

Note that the -oy suffix is the only known syllable of the Klingon language that begins with a vowel. All other known syllables of the Klingon language start with a consonant (remember that the qaghwI' is a consonant). There are more than a few syllables that end with a vowel, but no other syllables that begin with a vowel. This could cause a theoretical problem if a noun ending in a vowel might have the suffix -oy placed on it, thus causing there to be two adjacent vowels (which is not allowed in usual Klingon spelling and pronunciation). No encounter of such a word has ever been reported by English speaking students of Klingon, but it has been speculated that Klingons might actually insert a qaghwI' between the two syllables in such a case.

Music updated 2018-10-25 ^

This skill talks about music.

It introduces a variety of Klingon musical instruments.

Planetary Science updated 2018-10-25 ^

This skill introduces various vocabulary connected with planets and their surfaces.

Arithmetic 1 updated 2018-10-25 ^

This skill shows how to express elementary arithmetic in Klingon.

We teach decimals, which use vI', and how to express addition and subtraction.

The way these are worded is rather different from how English does it, so they will be explained here.


A mathematical expression such as 4 + 3 = 7 is read in English in pretty much the same order as it is written down: "four plus three equals seven".

Klingon uses the verbs boq "ally with" and chen "form; take shape" in such sentences and would read that as wej boq loS; chen Soch -- literally, "four allies with three; seven forms".

In other words, one number allies with another one, and the result is that a new number (the result) takes shape, comes into being, forms.

In such mathematical expressions, the numbers are considered singular. For example, 8 + 1 = 9 is wa' boq chorgh; chen Hut, where the verb boq is in the form for "singular subject, singular object" -- it does not take the prefix lu- for "plural subject, singular object" since the chorgh in that expression is considered singular: a "pure number" rather than a count of multiple things.


Subtraction proceeds in a similar manner to addition, using the verb boqHa' "dis-ally" or "dissociate from".

For example, 13 - 8 = 5 would be read as wa'maH wej boqHa' chorgh; chen vagh -- literally, "eight dissociates from thirteen; five forms."

Relative clauses updated 2020-01-31 ^

This skill teaches how to form relative clauses such as "the book which I am reading" or "the man who is guarding us".


This is done through the use of the Type 9 verb suffix, -bogh.

From paq vIlaDtaH "I am reading a book", we get paq vIlaDtaHbogh "the book which I am reading", and from nu'avtaH loD "the man is guarding us", we get nu'avtaHbogh loD "the man who is guarding us".

Such a relative clause forms a noun phrase which can then serve as the subject or object of a main clause -- for example, "Mara is looking for [the book which I am reading]", paq vIlaDtaHbogh nej mara or "[The man who is guarding us] refuses to fall asleep" QongchoHQo' nu'avtaHbogh loD.

Head Nouns

If the relative clause only mentions a subject or only mentions an object, as in the previous examples, then it is clear whether the subject or the object of that clause is the thing being referred to.

If, on the other hand, a clause has both an explicit subject and an explicit object, then adding -bogh to the verb does not make it clear whether the subject or the object of that clause is the "head noun" (i.e. the one intended to be relativized). For example, paq ghajbogh be' can either mean "the book which the woman has" or "the woman who has the book".

Context may make it clear which meaning is intended, but if you want to be more specific, you can use the Type 5 noun suffix -'e' on the head noun which you want to "extract" or relativise; thus paq'e' ghajbogh be' is explicitly "the book which the woman has" and paq ghajbogh be''e' is explicitly "the woman who has the book".

This use of the Type 5 noun suffix -'e' is related to other uses like topic, focus, or emphasis, but does not typically indicate any of those things when used along with the -bogh verb suffix. In this case it is usually just marking which noun is being relativized.

Choice of Type 5 suffixes

If you want the noun phrase formed with -bogh to be used as something other than the subject, object, or topic, other syntactic noun suffixes can be placed on the head noun instead of -'e'. For instance, you can use -Daq to indicate that the phrase describes the location, you can use -vo' to indicate that the phrase describes the origin, you can use -mo' to indicate the phrase describes the cause, or you can use -vaD to indicate that the phrase describes the indirect object. In each of these cases, the entire -bogh phrase marked in this way would be placed before the OVS structure of the sentence.

Multiple Adjectives

Note that when using adjectival verbs like chu' ("be new"), using -bogh for a relative clause has basically the same meaning as placing the adjectival verb after the noun. The noun phrases paq chu' ("a new book") and chu'bogh paq ("a book which is new") effectively mean the same thing.

Relative clauses using -bogh are a good way to add additional adjectives to a noun. We are not allowed to put two adjectival verbs after a noun, so we cannot say ?paq QaQ chu'? for "a good new book". Instead, we can use the -bogh suffix on one of the verbs to create a more complex noun phrase:
QaQbogh paq chu' "a new book that is good" or
chu'bogh paq QaQ "a good book that is new"

Fingers updated 2018-10-25 ^

Left and right

Two new words here are poS "left side" and nIH "right side". These are nouns, so "on the left side" would be poSDaq, for example.

Fingers and toes

Klingons' hands and feet are very flexible, and they can easily move each of their fingers or toes independently of the others.


There is a separate verb for each of these digit movements, e.g. SIq "to use the index finger" or nan "to use the fourth toe".

The object of such a verb, if present, is the item which is manipulated or touched with that finger or toe, similar to the English usage of "to thumb a switch = to flip a switch using the thumb".

If the verb has no object, but there is a noun with the locative suffix -Daq, then the meaning of the finger/toe verbs is "point" -- for example, lurvengDaq jISIq "I 'indexfinger' at Lurveng" would mean "I point at Lurveng with my index finger".

The verbs taught here are:

(Those who live in New York State may be reminded of the Finger Lakes, which include Seneca, Skaneateles, Cayuga, Keuka, and Canandaigua Lake.)

for the fingers and

(Any similarities to the nursery rhyme "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed at home; this little piggy has roast beef, this little piggy had none. And this little piggy cried 'Wee, wee, wee!' all the way home" that some families play on infants' toes are almost certainly coincidental.)


The names of the fingers and toes are derived from the verbs with the agent suffix -wI'.

Thus a thumb is a SenwI' -- literally, a "thumb-er" or "thing which thumbs" or "thing which is used in a thumb-like manner" --, an index finger is a SIqwI', and so on.

Location nouns updated 2019-03-03 ^

In English, an object's location is normally indicated using prepositions, such as under, over and next to.

In Klingon, on the other hand, such concepts are most commonly described using a nouns referring to areas and surfaces. Examples include:

Klingon English
bIng area below, area under
Dung area above, area over
tlhop area in front of
'em area behind
retlh area next to

To express a spatial relationship to an object, we can use a simple noun-noun construction:

nagh retlh - the area next to the rock

QI bIng - the area below the bridge

This can then be combined with the suffixes -Daq and -vo' to describe an object's location or motion in relation to another.

nagh retlhDaq jIHtaH. - I am next to the rock.

QI bIngDaq 'oHtaH nagh'e'. - The rock is below the bridge.

QI bIngvo' maqet. - We ran from the area below the bridge.

Special place nouns

There are a handful of place nouns which never take the suffix -Daq. These are:

Klingon English
naDev here, hearabouts
pa' there, thereabouts
Dat everywhere
vogh somewhere

As such, the following two sentences are correct:

naDev jIHtaH. - I am here.

Dat naghmey tu'lu'. - There are rocks everywhere.

vogh 'oHbejtaH. - It is definitely somewhere.

However, the following three sentences would not be correct:

WRONG: naDevDaq jIHtaH.

WRONG: DatDaq naghmey tu'lu'.

WRONG: voghDaq 'oHbejtaH.

Note that these words may still take the suffix -vo'. For example:

naDevvo' yIghoS! - Go away (from here)!

pa'vo' yIttaH. - They are walking away from there.

The dual meaning of pa'

The word pa' is an interesting case, as it has two completely separate definitions:

  1. there, thereabouts

  2. room

This can cause some confusion, but context will usually make it clear which meaning is intended. Also, because the first use of the word is never combined with the suffix -Daq, this can sometimes be used to disambiguate:

pa' chaHtaH. - They are there.

pa'Daq chaHtaH. - They are in the room.

Interior and exterior surfaces

In Klingon, one always distinguishes between the interior and exterior top of an object, as well as between the interior and exterior bottom. The interior surfaces are those which can be seen from the inside, while the exterior surfaces are those which can be seen from the outside.

Klingon English
bIS'ub interior bottom
'aqroS interior top
pIrmuS exterior bottom
yor exterior top

This distinction may sound somewhat technical at first glance, but it can be illustrated using an example from everyday life:

Let's say you live in an apartment on the second floor of a building. Looking up and down, you can easily see your apartment's interior surfaces: You call the interior bottom (bIS'ub) your floor (rav), and you call the interior top ('aqroS) your ceiling (rav'eq).

The exterior surfaces, however, are not visible from inside your apartment. The exterior bottom (pIrmuS) of your apartment is the ceiling of the apartment below you.

Likewise, the exterior top (yor) of your apartment is the floor of the apartment above yours. Alternatively, if you live on the top floor, the exterior top of your apartment will be part of the exterior top of the building itself: Its roof (beb).

(We will discuss architectural terms in more detail in the next lesson.)

Architecture updated 2019-02-20 ^

Course notes still in progress

Various vocabulary connected with buildings and their contents.

Love updated 2018-10-25 ^

A handful of words related to love, marriage, and pregnancy.

A note on tlhogh: this can be used either as a noun -- meaning "marriage" -- or as a verb -- meaning "to marry (someone)", as a gender-neutral variant of Saw (what a man does when he marries someone) and nay (what a woman does when she marries someone).

Arithmetic 2 updated 2018-10-27 ^

Big numbers

This unit introduces number suffixes for bigger numbers: -netlh for 10,000, -bIp for 100,000, and -'uy' for 1,000,000.

These work just like the suffixes -maH, -vatlh, -SaD/SanID which you have already learned, for example, vaghnetlh is 50,000 and cha'bIp wejnetlh SochmaH is 230,070.

Multiplication and division

Expressing multiplication and division works a bit like addition and subtraction, involving the verb boq "ally with" and chen "form, come into being".


Multiplication is essentially repeated adding -- 4×8 is like adding 8 to itself four times.

So in Klingon, multiplication uses the verb boq'egh "allies with itself", formed from boq "ally with" and the suffix -'egh which indicates that the action of the verb is directed back at the subject itself.

For example, 4 × 8 = 32 is expressed as loSlogh boq'egh chorgh; chen wejmaH cha' "four times, eight allies with itself; thirty-two forms."


Division involves the verb boqHa''egh "dissociates from itself" -- for example, 27 ÷ 3 = 9 is expressed as wejlogh boqHa''egh cha'maH Soch; chen Hut or literally, "twenty-seven dissociates from itself three times; nine forms."


A percentage may be expressed by following a number with vatlhvI'. "1%" may be expressed as wa' vatlhvI'. We do not know of a way to express other fractions.

Home Life updated 2018-10-25 ^

Some vocabulary connected with home life, such as television, bills, the Internet, and Christmas wish lists.

Health 1 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Various vocabulary surrounding body parts.

Magic updated 2018-10-25 ^

Miscellaneous vocabulary connected to magic: both "real" magic with spells and also stage magic, the illusionist's craft.

Real magic

Regardless of whether you believe that real magic and proper wizards exist, Klingons have words for such concepts.

"Magic" is 'IDnar, and a wizard or sorceror is a 'IDnar pIn'a' (literally, a "master of magic") or a reSwI' (literally, a "spellcaster").

A magic spell is a tlheH, and the verb for them is reS (cast). It can be used either with an object (tlheH reS 'IDnar pIn'a' "the wizard cast a spell") or without (reStaH 'IDnar pIn'a' "the wizard is casting spells").

Stage magic

In English, "magic" can also be used to refer to what an illusionist does during a magic show -- pretend to violate the laws of physics through misdirection, sleight of hand, etc. rather than through supernatural powers.

To do so is to mIn yuq "outwit the eyes"; a stage magician or illusionist can thus be called a mIn yuqwI'.

Another word for a stage magician is 'IDnar lIlwI', literally a "magic simulator" -- to lIl is to simulate something or impersonate someone (but without attempt to defraud). 'IDnar lIl (literally, to simulate magic) is another verb for what a stage magician does.


A final, humorous note: when Marc Okrand passed on the information about these magic-related words from his Klingon informant, Maltz, he added a post-script saying that My favorite sentence at the moment is "They are (continuously and with some sort of goal in mind) impersonating you (plural)."

Or in other words: lIlIllI'.

School updated 2018-10-25 ^

Miscellaneous vocabulary related to school, school subjects, teachers, and academia.

Melee Weapons updated 2018-10-25 ^

Miscellaneous vocabulary related to Klingon melee weapons -- ones used in hand-to-hand combat.

Nominalization updated 2019-12-16 ^

As you become more and more experienced in speaking Klingon, you may discover that your Klingon sentences tend to contain a larger concentration of verbs than your English sentences.

For example:

English: The patient's illness was brought on by sleeplessness. (1 verb, 3 nouns)

Klingon: QonglaHbe'mo' SID ropchoH. (2 verbs, 1 noun)

Back-translated: "Because the patient couldn't sleep, she/he became sick."

However, every now and then, it is useful to be able to describe an action or a state using a noun rather than a verb. For example, what if you wish to say "his so-called sleeplessness", or "the illness that was caused by her sleeplessness"?

This is where the useful - but rarely heard - nominalization suffix -ghach comes in. This suffix takes a verb which has at least one other verb suffix and turns it into a noun that describes the action or state corresponding to that verb. For example:

Verb English Noun English
laDtaH is ongoing reading laDtaHghach (the act of) ongoing reading
'IQtaH is continuously sad 'IQtaHghach continuous sadness
QalvIp is afraid to swim QalvIpghach fear of swimming
QonglaHbe' can't sleep QonglaHbe'ghach sleeplessness, insomnia
lujchu' fail utterly lujchu'ghach utter failure

Further reading

You can read more about the -ghach suffix in The Klingon Dictionary, in section 4.2.9. of the addendum.

Advanced students may also be interested in this HolQeD article, which explores the tricky subject of using -ghach on a naked verb stem (i.e. nobghach) or on a verb with a pronominal prefix (i.e. jInobghach). This, however, is beyond the scope of this course.

Culture updated 2021-01-14 ^

This skill teaches vocabulary related to culture and the arts. There is no new grammar taught in this Skill, but a few of the words may be worth exploring in greater detail.


It's been suggested that there is no single word in Klingon that corresponds to the English word "art". ...but then again, that is perhaps to be expected, seeing as it can be difficult enough to find two English-speakers who agree entirely on what exactly "art" is. Are video games art? Is twerking art? Are these Skill Tips art? I'm not sure the answer is any clearer in Klingon than in English.

The Klingon word meHghem has been variously translated as "art", "the arts" and "culture", and encompasses a broad range of creative expression, including the visual arts (such as sculpture and painting) as well as music, drama, poetry, theatre and more.

In discussing Earth culture, the phrase meHghem Qat is sometimes used to refer to "pop culture".


Although most people will agree that painting is a form of art, many will also argue that not every painting is a work of art. Indeed, no visit to a modern art exhibit would be complete without somebody exclaiming "You call this art? My five-year-old could have made this!"

The word vIqraq has been variously translated as "work of art", "artwork", "artifact", "gizmo", "gadget" and more, but a more general translation would be "something that is manufactured/made".

As such, it could describe a quilt, a machine, a necklace, a flower arrangement, a piece of furniture and much more. It also encompasses any sculpture or painting ... as well as any drawing made by the above mentioned five-year-old.

nagh beQ

The phrase nagh beQ is commonly translated as "picture" or "painting". However, broken down, it literally means "flat stone". This phrase originally referred to stone panels with engraved pictures on them, but this usage has since been expanded to encompass a much larger range of flat images.

Note that this phrase consists of a noun (nagh) modified by a state-of-being verb (beQ). As such, noun suffixes of Types 1-4 are added to the first word, while the Type-5 noun suffixes (-Daq, -vo', -vaD, -mo' and -'e') are added to the second. For example:

naghmey beQ - the paintings

nagh beQmo' - because of the painting

vIqraqmey bIHba' moHbogh naghmeyvam beQ'e'. - These ugly paintings are obviously vIqraqmey.

Earth Life updated 2018-10-25 ^

Congratulations on reaching the last unit of this course! (for now)

You will find here miscellaneous vocabulary for plants and animals more familiar to us on Earth than to Klingons, as well as names of some countries and continents on Earth.

If your country isn't among the list, please rest assured that this is not a deliberate slight -- we don't know the official Klingon names for all countries yet, and we don't have unlimited space in this lesson, either.

62 skills with tips and notes