The nominalizer suffix -ghach

The type 9 verb suffix -ghach is described to be attached to verbs with suffixes used to create a noun (1). On the other hand, the rule does NOT say that you are NOT allowed to attach to bare verb stems. That's why words like tulghach have lead to discussions, which usually end with the explanation that this word sounds like "hope-ation" instead of the intended noun "hope".


TKD explains as follows:
It is not known if all verbs can be used as nouns, but it
is known that verbs ending in suffixes (such as -Ha' undo in
lobHa' disobey) can never be nouns. The Type 9 suffix
-ghach, however, can be attached to such verbs in order to
form nouns.

TKD gives examples using the two verbs lo' and naD:

lo' use, make use of MOVED TO... lo' use
lo'laH be valuable MOVED TO... lo'laHghach value
lo'laHbe' be worthless MOVED TO... lo'laHbe'ghach worthlessness

naD commend MOVED TO... naD commendation
naDHa' discommend MOVED TO... naDHa'ghach discommendation
naDqa' commend again MOVED TO... naDqa'ghach re-commendation


In a message to the mailing list of 13 February 2017, experienced Klingonist David Trimboli made a good point explaining the suffix -ghach:
bubble   This is an OPINION PAGE. It may contain different points of view about different parts of Klingon. You may add useful thoughts, but please remember this is not a forum.

The reason people suggest avoiding -ghach is to avoid adding a suffix (usually the type 7 verb suffix -taH) just because you're supposed to, but not really meaning that suffix.

vuttaHghach doesn't mean "cooking", it means an ongoing act of cooking, or continuous cooking. That's not what you mean when you want to say "I like to cook". What you'd want to say is vutghach vIparHa', but you can't say that.

Make no mistake: adding -ghach to a bare verb is wrong, even though Okrand simply called it "marked." Okrand tells us in HolQeD 3:3 that saying belghach is like saying "pleasureness". We all understand it, but you don't say it. Klingons might not take it as badly as we would take pleasureness, but it's still not right.

The idea behind -ghach is this: Imagine you've got a verb like bel to please, and you've got a magic nominalizer button that, when pressed, turns the verb bel into the noun bel. Imagine this button works on any verb, but for the moment forget about verbs that don't have known noun counterparts (like tlhutlh drink ). Stick a suffix on the verb, and press the button. When we put, say, -taH onto bel to get beltaH be continuously pleased and then press the button, nothing happens. The presence of the suffix blocks our nominalization button. So Okrand comes along and gives us a magic suffix, -ghach, which when stuck on the end counteracts the presence of the blocking suffix and lets the nominalizer button work again. We add the suffix and push the button and ZAP! we get beltaHghach ongoing pleasure.

The point of -ghach is to hide the verb's other suffixes from the nominalization process, so you can turn the suffixed verb into a noun again.

Now, the funny thing is, this process works to counteract suffixes and nominalize verbs that don't actually have noun counterparts! So while I can't use tlhutlh to mean "a drink", I CAN say tlhutlhtaHghach for ongoing drinking.

So people find themselves wanting to use -ghach on verbs that don't have noun counterparts, but they're not actually interested in counteracting suffixes; they just want a noun form of the verb. But, the rules say, you can't really use -ghach without a suffix. So they go and pick the one that least changes the meaning of the verb (usually -taH) just so they can get access to -ghach, even though they're not using it for its real purpose.

Whenever you feel an urge to use -ghach on a verb, don't use -ghach at all. Find some other way to say what you want to say, like sentences-as-objects.

And no, don't put prefixes on verbs with -ghach. We don't think you're supposed to do that.

See also

  • Were you looking for Gagh, a Klingon dish?


1 : Addendum of The Klingon Dictionary, p. 176

Category: Grammar    Latest edit: 14 Feb 2017, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 14 Feb 2017 by KlingonTeacher

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