undo-suffix -Ha'

The suffix -Ha' is a rover verb suffix. It is usually translated as "undo", but very often, the translation is a new English word. This suffix reverts the meaning of a verb, but it does not always create the opposite meaning. It can sometimes be translated as "do VERB incorrectly", like jatlhHa' "say something wrong". It always comes directly after the verb, before any other suffixes, so it can appear only once in a verb. This suffix can also be attached to adverbs, but not all of them.

known Verbs with -Ha'

Verbs of quality

None of the following "be-verbs" (or adjectives) are defined as "be wrongly [whatever]". Every single one is just the opposite quality.

baw'Ha' be uncomfortable, be worried, be hesitant qep'a' 2017
belHa' be displeased
churHa' be comfortable (physically) qep'a' 2017
DochHa' be polite, civil, courteous Netflix subtitles
ghanHa' be peaceful, calm qep'a' 2017
jaQHa' be shallow
jejHa' be dull, be blunt (of blades)
jotHa' be uneasy
matlhHa' be disloyal
mobHa' be even (used in math)
pIlHa' be unmotivated [not defined, but used to translate "apathy" for KCC]
pIQHa' be indirect, be roundabout, be devious
quvHa' be dishonored
QeyHa' be loose
rIjHa' be adrift qep'a' 2018
ru'Ha' be permanent KGT
varHa' be generous qep'a' 2018
vey'Ha' be uncomfortable, be meager qep'a' 2017
yepHa' be careless TKD
yItlhHa' be lenient, indulgent The Little Prince
yuDHa' be honest TKD
'umHa' be unqualified paq'batlh

In the following cases, we're specifically told that the state is a reversal. Possibly this reversal applies to some of the verbs in the first list, but we can't tell unless we're told. But in any case, DochHa' means "be polite" and not, say, "wrongly rude", and so on.

Do'Ha' be unfortunate (suggests turn of luck from good to bad) TKD
ghungHa' be satiated (no longer hungry)
tlhorghHa' be bland (referring to food) (someone caused it to cease being pungent) KGT
QuchHa' be unhappy (suggests change from being happy to not being happy) TKD
'eyHa' be undelicious (someone caused it to cease being delicious)
'ojHa' be quenched (no longer thirsty)

Action verbs which are opposites or reversals of other actions

Again, none of the following are defined as "do [whatever] wrongly". These are all opposite meanings.
baghHa' crack a code qepHom 2014
boqHa' subtract (used in math) HolQeD 9:3
buSHa' ignore TKW, KGT
chenHa' untake form, destroy TKD
chu'Ha' disengage, deactivate (a device) TKD
ghomHa' scatter, disperse TKD
jonHa' release ST5
jotlhHa' put back up mailing list 1997
lay'Ha' break one's word TKW, KGT
lInHa' go offline mailing list 2018
lItHa' get off (of) PK, KGT
lobHa' disobey TKD
molHa' dig up qep'a' 2018
muSHa' love paq'batlh
naDHa' discommend, disapprove TKD
nobHa' give back, return TKW, KGT
parHa' like TKD
polHa' discard KGT
qeHHa' forgive, unresent paq'batlh
qImHa' disregard TKD
SaHHa' be unconcerned (about) mailing list, AKCC
SorHa' speak metaphorically mailing list
So'Ha' unhide, decloak; decrypt ST3; qepHom 2014
tungHa' encourage TKD
vIbHa' move through time toward the past qep'a' 2016
voqHa' distrust TKD
wuqHa' commute (a judicial sentence) ENT
'otHa' disclose, divulge qepHom 2017
'uchHa' let go of HolQeD 12:2

Action verbs which are erroneous actions

bachHa' err, make a mistake (literally: to misfire), Slang KGT
jatlhHa' misspeak, speak wrongly TKD
pabHa' misfollow [the rules], follow [the rules] wrongly KGT
qawHa' misremember, remember incorrectly KGT
yajHa' misinterpret TKD

None of these are defined as "undo [whatever]". jatlhHa', for example, is not "take back one's words", and yajHa' is not "no longer understand". qawHa' is slightly subtle in that one might think it means "forget", but the opposite or reversal of bringing a memory to mind is not to fail to bring it to mind in the first place (for which we have lIj).


Written by David Yonge-Mallo
I think one way to think about this is that if a verb is at 1 on the number line, then verb + -be' is at 0, and verb + -Ha'*is at -1. For each verb, verb + *-Ha' is the most opposite state or action of that verb, and that depends on the verb (or the class of verb). For states or qualities, it's the opposite. For actions, it's the opposite or reversed action in cases where such a thing exists, and an erroneous action otherwise.

If you think about it, while -Ha' can mean both "undo" and "do wrongly", it doesn't really make sense for it to be possible to have both meanings on the same verb. If it did, then how would I know if you meant "be unmotivated" or "be wrongly motivated" (be motivated but in a bad way, or for the wrong reason)? How would I say that the judge has commuted (wuqHa') my sentence, rather than that he had wrongly decided upon my sentence (a rather important legal distinction)? Of course, language *can* be ambiguous, but in this case, I think the dozens of examples from canon strongly suggests a pattern. I think this is one of those cases where TKD offers a bare sketch, but we actually have a lot of canon examples to justifiably derive something which is almost a rule.

See also

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 29 Apr 2019, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 29 Apr 2019 by KlingonTeacher
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