wejmaH ben

It’s been thirty years since I bought my first copy of The Klingon Dictionary.

How can I describe what it was like back then? For a start, Doctor Who had yet to have the final year of its classic season. The Power Rangers, Babylon 5, Netflix and the internet did not exist. There was only one series of Captain Scarlet - Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Like Thunderbirds, the only version was hte one with the puppets.

And there was only one Starship USS Enterprise. Star Trek III had just run the year before, Spock was back, the movie with the whales hadn't been made and the registry was NCC-1701. No bloody A, B, C or D (or E ... J either).

Ah, yes - and Star Trek III the year before had featured some Klingons and their language.

Sol III ‘85 had been and gone - it had taken place at the Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, and this convention during the August Bank Holiday was in what used to be the St George’s Hotel in the St John’s Precinct. Don’t ask - it’s a Liverpool thing. We do not discuss this with outsiders. It’s now owned by a different hotel chain anyway.

This was the final day of the convention, and while everybody was packing up to go home there was one last round of merch dealing in the dealers’ room before the formal closing ceremony. And it was during this final day that somebody mentioned that there had been this new book, just recently released, that allowed one to learn to speak Klingon.

At first, I thought someone was pulling my leg; but then, I went to the dealer room, and there it was. Last copy in the house. I just had to buy it, sight unseen; if I had not, I would not have seen the book again for another year, during the Galileo convention during the August Bank Holiday of 1986, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

This first copy of The Klingon Dictionary remained on my bookshelf for a while, to tell the truth; several months, as a matter of fact. But then there was a convention coming up, and I was asked if I could turn up and compete in a contest. I chose tlhIngan Hol as my specialised subject. I came second from the bottom, but my limited knowledge of Klingon at that time must have impressed whoever was attending, because I became known as a Klingon language expert from that time forward.

It has been thirty years and a long journey from having just one (now threadbare) Klingon Dictionary, to owning several copies, plus Klingon for the Galactic Traveller and The Klingon Way and maintaining two Klingon language blogs, as well as being a proud owner of boQwI’ on my Android tablet.

And during that thirty years, I’ve been invited to places I never thought I’d see from the inside, from TV and radio studios to lecture halls, from muddy fields outside Cardiff to five star hotels. I’ve been feted by the best, people have attempted ridicule (only to fall foul of my Emma Frostian snark) and along the way, I have acquired converts and students alike. Not to mention the occasional lover along the way.

I have been a Klingonist, now, for more than half my life, and I could say that I will be a Klingonist for the rest of my days. Sanvam vIlajqangchu’neS.

And as long as I can type I’ll keep on presenting this blog, to try and encourage a new generation of younger people to pick up copies of The Klingon Dictionary and keep Marc Okrand’s, and my, flame alive.



Censorious ISP

My ISP has been giving me grief today, blocking access to websites containing "content unsuitable for 18 year olds."

I'm the bill payer, I am an adult, and I'm the only resident. No kids or vulnerable adults here.

ISPs are being told to crack down on content that is dangerous to this government, in the guise of censoring pornography. It doesn't take any effort at all to tick off violence, gambling, crime, blogging, protests and legitimate activities to promote democracy and weaken corrupt tyrannies from taking over the government as "extremism" and "pornography" and block access to them.

In the long term, it means that my blog might suddenly stop because I won't be able to access the thing at all - not, at least, through my ISP, which is TalkTalk. I doubt any of the others are going to be any different. I can't access half of these sites from public terminals these days because it's the same in town.

So if I seem to vanish, and my posts dry up, you know why. And if I do go dark and quiet, I do apologise in advance. You'll be able to email me to correspond with me directly - at least, until the day they cut me off from there, too.

Crossposting to everywhere else.



I've got a task to complete, and I would like to finish it.

I am taking a hiatus.


Musical Styles

To round off the musical posts, KGT has a section on musical styles.

Among other activities at the annual Kot'baval Festival, for example, the battle between Kahless and Molor is reenacted. While dueling with their bat'leths, the performers portraying Kahless, Molor, and other warriors sing traditional songs with words and grammatical forms that are archaic indeed, some not in everyday use for well over 1,000 years.

The opera The Story of Kahless and Lukara is about the romance between Kahless and the Lady Lukara in the Battle of Qam-Chee, when Molor sent five hundred warriors to besiege the city and only Kahless and Lukara remained to defeat their many foes.

The opera qul tuq commemorates the honour of the House of Sepich. The opening lines are memorable -

'o meQ qul!Oh, the fire burns!
'o meQ chal!Oh, fire streaks the heavens!

Another classic of Klingon opera is the magnificent Aktuh and Melota, one aria of which was sung by Worf and the alien Amarie (listen to it here).

Before setting off on any mission, it is always important to remember Aktuh and Melota. That way if you die honourably in battle, you need never have to worry about listening to it again, which perhaps is one good incentive for you to die honourably in battle.

There are more styles of music beyond Klingon opera. Klingon youths enjoy a solid, romping beat as much as humans do, and while the words baS metal (n) and nagh rock (n) mean little to Klingons, nonetheless a certain stylistic similarity exists which both species consider admirable.

Klingons enjoy a variety of different kinds of songs, such as drinking songs (HIvje' bommey), hunting songs (chon bommey) and even lullabies (najmoHwI'mey) for children.

A very famous drinking song comes from Kahless and Molor, and describes the day the River Skral ran blood-red and blood rose up to ankle height on that day above all days when Kahless slew the evil Molor dead.

'ej HumtaH 'ej DechtaH 'Iw
'ej Doq SoDtaH ghoSpa' Sqral bIQtIq
'e' pa' jaj law' mo' jaj puS
jaj qeylIS molar mIgh HoHchu'qu'

Klingon music continues to surprise students of the language. As KGT points out,

it is not uncommon for Klingon children to think some of these songs are nonsense songs (Dap bommey), filled with silly words, and then be surprised to find out that they are ancient hunting songs or battle songs.

Such words are likely to have been written down as no' Hol, the ancient language of the ancestors.

It is the ambition of every Klingon to die in honourable circumstances such that people who witness their acts of heroism will compose great songs in their honour, to be passed down from generation to generation by the Klingons' families. The ambition to be honoured in song drives Klingons to acts of great courage in battle.

As they say,

ta'mey Dun, bommey DunGreat deeds, great songs

Great deeds are "deeds worthy of song," as the Klingon leader Gowron once put it, and part of the appeal of engaging in battle is the prospect that, if the battle is a really good one, it will be fought over and over again in song.


nItlhDu' yaDDu' je - Fingers And Toes

There are two Klingon terms for finger and toe, respectively. These are


There is, however, more to it than this.

The verb


means to use a finger in a musical instrument, for instance to strum or pluck a string or to cover a hole in a wind instrument.

Each digit - finger, thumb and toe - has a specific verb associated with it.

First the fingers:-

SIquse the index (first) finger
qayuse the middle (second) finger
qewuse the ring (third) finger
qanuse the pinky finger

Then the thumb, and there are two distinct terms:-

rIluse the thumb
Senuse the thumb

rIl is primarily, almost exclusively, used to describe using a child's thumb, whereas Sen commonly means use an adult thumb

The following terms identify use of individual toes (big toe, second toe etc):-

maruse the big (first) toe
Homuse the second toe
roSuse the third toe
nanuse the fourth toe
Qay'use the little (fifth) toe

The actual digits themselves are identified by placing the verb suffix -wI' thing which does to each verb:-

SIqwI'index finger, first finger
qaywI'middle finger, second finger
qewwI'ring finger, third finger
qanwI'pinky, little finger

The same suffix can be applied to the thumb:-

rIlwI'child's thumb
SenwI'adult thumb

Finally, the suffix can be used with the verbs identifying use of individual toes.

marwI'big toe, first toe
HomwI'second toe
roSwI'third toe
nanwI'fourth toe
Qay'wI'little toe, fifth toe


Music: Klingon Musical Instruments

The following are the most commonly-encountered Klingon musical instruments. As with humans, Klingons can make music in a variety of ways - by striking objects (percussion instruments), strumming stringed instruments or blowing into instruments made of wood, bone or metal.

baS 'Inbell (percussion instrument made of metal)
chuS'ughtype of musical instrument
DIr 'Indrum (percussion instrument with a stretched animal skin)
Dov'aghflute, fife
ghebhorn (musical instrument)
HurDaghstringed instrument (general term)
janmusical instrument
leSpaltype of stringed instrument
may'ronaccordion, concertina
meSchuSlarge wind instrument
QoQ janmusical instrument
Sor Hap 'Inpercussion instrument made of wood
Supghewtype of stringed instrument
SuSDeqwindbag, bellows
tIngDaghtype of stringed instrument
'Inpercussion instrument (drum, bell)

Some other terminology exists for parts of Klingon musical instruments:-

joQstrip of material in a SuSDeq
mupwI'Hommallet (for striking a musical instrument)
naQHomstick (used to strike percussion instrument)
ngujlepmouthpiece (of a wind instrument)
qunghole, perforation that cannot be filled

Here are verbs associated with the production of music.

chu'play (a musical instrument)
chu'wI'player (of an instrument)
muchperform (music)
pangpluck (a stringed instrument)
qebsqueeze (windbag instrument)
reysqueeze and stretch out (windbag instrument)
rIlplay (a horn instrument)
SuSblow (into wind instrument)
tlhaw'hit (percussion instrument) with fist
weqhit (percussion instrument) with palm
yachstrum (a stringed instrument)


DaHjaj Heghpu' vulqangan noy law' Hoch noy puS

DaHjaj Heghpu' <<Leonard Nimoy,>> vulqangan <<Spock>> DawI'.

<<Twitter>>Daq mu'meyDaj Qav
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"
jatlh rIntaH.


Music Post: Composition

Klingon for the Galactic Traveler has this to say about music.

The word used for compose is qon. This verb also means record and is used whether the recording is by hand (that is, written or even etched in stone), in a medium suitable for a computer, or any other form. From the Klingon point of view, a song is not the product of an individual's mind. It has somehow always existed and is waiting for someone (the songwriter or, more accurately, song recorder, qonwI') to transcribe it (qon) and then present it (much) to others.

Here is a basic musical vocabulary.

qoncompose, record (v)
qonwI'songwriter, composer (n)
QoQmusic (n)
QoQ janmusical instrument
chu'play (musical instrument) (i)
QoQ chu'play music (v)
chu'wI'musician (player of musical instrument) (n)
bomsong, chant (n)
bomsing, chant (v)
bom mu'libretto, song lyrics (n)


Skill And Competence

In music, as in art, fighting, cooking, writing and so many cultural pursuits, skill is something to be recognised. The more skilful a practitioner, the more honour he deserves.

Here are a number of terms describing skill, ability and competence.

po'skilled, be skilled, competent (v)
Dungreat, be great, wonderful (v)
lI'useful, be useful (v)
qaqpreferable, be preferable (v)
lo'laHvaluable, be valuable (v)
lo'laHbe'worthless, be worthless (v)
tlhIbincompetent, be incompetent (v)
QaQgood, be good (v)

If one is using a skill, one is beholden to improve in that skill.

Dubimprove (v)
qeqdrill, practice, train, prepare (v)

jIDubmeH vIqeqnIStaHI must keep practicing in order to improve

This post ties in with the post in The Daily Klingon here.


Music Tie-In - The Daily Klingon

The theme of Klingon music will be continued over at my tumblr Klingon blog, The Daily Klingon. I'll be posting a slew of Klingon vocabulary terms and phrases to that blog, coming out on a more or less daily basis.

The Daily Klingon on tumblr

Music 2: The Sound Of Music

Last week marked the beginning of the theme of Klingon music. Time to start with some basic vocabulary.

QoQmusic (n)
bomsing, chant (v)
bomsong, chant (n)
bom mu'lyrics
bomwI'singer, chanter

Some Klingon phrases referencing singing:-

ta'mey Dun, bommey DunGreat deeds, great songs
bomDI' 'IwwIj qaqawThe memory of you sings in my blood

Music is sung, chanted or played with musical instruments. The voice of the singer is considered another musical instruments, and like many devices used by Klingons all musical instruments are wielded like weapons. Klingon music, like many other Klingon phenomena, is wild, aggressive and powerful, with tonalities which humans might hear as clashing noises and cacophonous disharmonies - even though to a Klingon ear the music is totally harmonious.

Music Appreciation

Klingons do prefer their music, like their food, live - though if live music is not available, such as on the Bridge of a Klingon battlecruiser, recorded music will suffice.

While Klingons can be said to use the verb tIv enjoy (v) their music, that is really not the point. Klingons appreciate music which does something to them - and this is reflected in the verbs they use.

Klingon music can be said to ...

jaqmoHembolden (v)
pIlmoHstimulate, inspire (v)
SeymoHexcite (v)
tungHa'encourage (v)
DuQmove (v) (literally, "stab")


mutungHa'It (the song) encouraged me (v)
DuDuQpu''a' bomvetlhDid that song move you? (v)

Next: Worthy Of Song.


Music 1: Inspirational Media

Beginning these articles on Klingon music with some inspirational media.

Below, you will see the video with subtitles.

Klingon musical forms extend back into the mists of time. As for Terrans, so too for Klingons; music inspires the Klingon spirit, stirs emotions and even brings Klingons together in common purpose, setting aside their rivalries to celebrate something greater than themselves.

Klingon musical forms are often tied up with the Klingon language form known as no' Hol, the older form of Klingon known as ancestors' language. Klingon for the Galactic Traveler has this to say about music and no' Hol.

Heard far more frequently than non-Klingon languages are various archaic forms of Klingon, dating from different time periods and originating in different regions, collectively known as no' Hol ancestors' language. The ancient forms are heard primarily, though not exclusively, in ceremonies, songs, and classical tories.

While the conventional phrases used in some rituals are uttered in modern Klingon (such as those used in the Rite of Ascension, a ceremony symbolizing a young Klingon's attainment of a certain spiritual level), those used in a great many others are in a form of
no' Hol (such as those associated with the bIreqtal [brek'tal], the ceremony in which the killer of the leader of a Klingon house marries the widow and thereby becomes the head of the house himself). In these cases, the phrases must be studied and memorized by the participants, then repeated back accurately. Improvising or paraphrasing is entirely inappropriate. Depending on when the phrases for the ritual originated, the words and grammatical constructions may be somewhat like or very different from those of modern Klingon. If the words have survived into modern Klingon but some of the grammatical features have not, it may sound as if the celebrant is speaking improper, ungrammatical Klingon. This is not the case, though the same phrase uttered away from the ritualistic context would be taken as such.

Older language forms are also often found in the lyrics of Klingon songs, particularly songs associated with rituals. Among other activities at the annual Kot'baval Festival, for example, the battle between Kahless and Molor is reenacted. While dueling with their bat'leths, the performers portraying Kahless, Molor, and other warriors sing traditional songs with words and grammatical forms that are archaic indeed, some not in everyday use for well over 1,000 years. In addition, virtually all of Klingon opera is written in
no' Hol. In order to follow an opera even superficially, one should prepare before attending a performance by studying the story. For a deeper appreciation, however, it is essential to study also the linguistic structures used in the opera's libretto. As a result, aficionados of this musical form tend to be from the upper levels of society and rather well educated, though this is not invariably the case. Finally, there are some old but still popular songs that retain old words and old grammatical forms that are not interpretable in modern Klingon. In fact, it is not uncommon for Klingon children to think some of these songs are nonsense songs, filled with silly words, and then be surprised to find out that they are ancient hunting songs or battle songs.

Finally, Klingon myths were originally told and retold, then later written down, in
no' Hol. In modern times, some are read or told in the original form, though most are familiar only in their modern translations. Even in the most up-to-date versions, however, certain lines are so famous in their original form that they are seldom altered. An example of this is found in the story of Kahless and Lukara. Following the successful defense of the Great Hall at Qam-Chee, Kahless and Lukara engage in a brief conversation that marks the start of their epic romance. Students have been memorizing these lines and repeating them for so long, they have become part of the knowledge shared by all Klingons. One need only say the first line -mova' 'aqI' ruStaq, a no' Hol way to say today was a good day to die - and everyone will know what is to follow. Interestingly, in the case of this particular conversation, the lines have been incorporated into a mating ritual that persists to this day, with the man and the woman taking the roles and repeating the no' Hol lines of Kahless and Lukara, respectively, as the prelude to a romantic encounter.

The following series of articles will look at various aspects of Klingon music, from the types of instruments played and the songs favoured by Klingons to the structure and syntax of Klingon music itself.


bom - Music Posts

I have been busy on Project A these last few weeks. You can catch up on The Daily Klingon on Tumblr for my regular posts, if you have been missing the posts here.

Starting next week, the theme of the posts in this blog will be "Music."

Also beginning next week, this whole blog will be undergoing a refit and some new features added - such as an index page of posts.


Project Work

I am working on a major writing project, Project A. I have been working on it for the last three months, and I want to finish it this month.

This last few days, there has been a breakthrough, and I have advanced more in the last three nights than I have done in the last three weeks.

Until I am finished with Project A, I won't be posting to Klingon Teachings or The Daily Klingon as often as I'd like. This project takes priority.


The Daily Klingon - A Useful Resource

I run a tumblr blog, The Daily Klingon.

It does what it says on the tin.

Every evening, 9pm, something pops up on this blog.

Usually it's just a word or phrase or something.

This week (2014-12-22 - 2014-12-28) there will be something different.

This week coming, beginning tomorrow night, I am posting The Klingon Christmas Lectures.

The theme is Clauses.

The Daily Klingon



2014 12 07: Star Trek The Motion Picture - 35 Years On

Thirty - five years ago today, December 7 1979, Star Trek The Motion Picture received its first theatrical release.

The most important aspect of this movie, as far as this blog is concerned, was this scene right at the start of the movie:-

This was the first time anybody spoke Klingon anywhere. Now here's some history for you:- the speaker, the Captain of the Imperial Klingon Cruiser Amar, was played by the late Mark Lenard - better known to Star Trek fans as Sarek, Vulcan Ambassador and father of Spock.

Furthermore, the Klingon words themselves were invented by James Doohan, most famous for playing Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek. That is, the NCC-1701. No bloody A, B, C or D.

Earlier this year, on June 1, this blog marked the thirtieth anniversary of the first time Okrandian Klingon was spoken. Today, this blog marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of the first spoken words in Klingon, anywhere.


Clipped Klingon, part 4 - Pet Commands

Klingons keep and breed pets, like many species across the galaxy. Here are some typical terms relating to pets and pet care.

Sajpet (n)
Sepbreed (v)
SepwI'breeder (n)
qeqtrain, drill, practice, prepare (n)
qeqwI'trainer (n)
ghojmoHteach (v)
ghojmoHwI'teacher (n)
je'feed (v)
Qorghcare for (v)
QorghwI'handler, carer (n)

Clipped Klingon is used in giving pet commands. Before giving a command, the Klingon announces his intention to the pet that he is about to give a command. The word one gives is SuH ready (exclamation). The following are the traditional Klingon pet commands.

SuHReady (This signifies that the master is about to issue a command)
ba'!Sit! (normally, yIba'!)
Qam!Stand! (normally, yIQam!)
naDev ghoS!Come here! (normally, naDev yIghoS!)
Sop!Eat! (normally, yISop!)
Sop 'e' mev!Stop eating! (normally, bISop 'e' yImev!)
HIv!Attack! (normally, yIHIv!)
'uSDaj chop chev!Bite his/her/its leg off! (normally, 'uSDaj yIchop yIchev!
DeSvetlh yIv!Chew that arm! (normally, DeSvetlh yIyIv!)
mev!Do not do that! (normally, yImev!)
jol SeHlaw lItHa'!Get off the transport control panel! (normally, jol SeHlaw yIlItHa'!)
naDev Dochvetlh qem!Bring that here! (normally, naDev Dochvetlh yIqem!)
naDev Dochvetlh qemqu'!I really mean it, this time; BRING THAT HERE! (normally, naDev Dochvetlh yIqemqu'!)
qab, Ha'DIbaH qab.Bad! Bad animal!

Other useful commands are:-

Suv!Fight! (normally, yISuv!)
Suv 'e' mev!Cease fighting! (normally, bISuv 'e' yImev!)
loS!Wait! (normally, yIloS!)
jaH!Go! (normally, yIjaH!)
Sup!Jump! (normally, yISup!)
qIm!Attention! (normally, yIqIm!)
Hub!Defend! (normally, yIHub!)
jer!Lunge! (normally, yIjer!)
ron!Roll! (normally, yIron!)
Qot!Lie down! (normally, yIQot!)
lItHa'!Get off! (normally, yIlItHa'!)
DoH!Back off! (normally, yIDoH!)
tlha'!Chase it! (normally, yItlha'!)
largh!Smell it! (normally, yIlargh!)
ghoch!Track it! (normally, yIghoch!)
maj.Good. Well done.
majQa'!Very good! Good animal!


Clipped Klingon, part 3 - Stressed

Klingons use Clipped Klingon in a number of places - mostly delivering commands, and responding to those commands with delivery of status reports in the same battle language.

wIy cha'!Show the tactical display!

yajchu', qaHUnderstood, Sir
chu'ta'(device) Activated
chu'Ha'ta'(device) Deactivated
Sevlu'(enemy) Contained
ghoch(target) Tracking
Qeq(target) Locked

Clipped Klingon also occurs during moments of great stress. What constitutes stress to a Klingon would seem odd to a Terran; due to their natural predilection for hostility and tendency to enjoy flying off the handle at the slightest apparent provocation, Clipped Klingon would appear fairly frequently in common usage.


'el!Get in!
bup!Quit it!
DoH!Back off!
Sop!Eat it!
mevyap!Enough! (Stop!)
SuD jay'!Take a damned risk!

The Adverbial jay'

jay' is a special adverbial. Its meaning is:-

jay'intensifier (adv)

jay' carries the meanings intensely and invective. jay' occupies a special position in a sentence, in that it comes directly after the rest of the sentence. jay' intensifies the passion of the sentence to the point where it becomes an invective.

qaStaH nuq jay'?What the hell is happening?
mIch 'elpu' jay'They've entered the damned sector!
ghaytanHa' jay'!Not bloody likely!
DaH lupwI' tIj jay'!Get the hell on that jitney, NOW!
DoH jay'!Back the hell off!
wa' pIq jay', 'aj!One damned minute, Admiral!
verengan SoH'e' jay!You ARE a damned Ferengi!


New Klingon Words from the 2014 qepHom

On 2014 11 15, Felix Malmenbeck provided this email from the 2014 German qepHom, with an initial list of possible new tlhIngan Hol words provided by Maltz, Marc Okrand's Klingon friend.

Here is the body of the email. Please note: these are currently unofficial. When they are finalised, you will get them here.

Going by previous years, I think it's safe to assume that the qepHom folks are teasing us a bit now, and will be releasing Okrand's exact words within a few days.

Personally, I find this rather enjoyable (giving the info in bits and pieces gives us something to look forward to), but I agree that there's a point to making everything accessible, so let's see if we can summarize what's been learned:

== Card games ==

Maltz has been learning about the card game "poker". He is under the impression that this game's name literally means "that which pokes", and therefore calls it {'urghwI'}.
Here he makes use of a new word, {'urgh}, meaning "poke" or "jab".

Since this is a Terran game, there aren't necessarily Klingon words for the different aspects of the games, but Maltz seems to be able to relate to the game through Klingon analogues.
He refers to the diamonds as {meyrI'mey} ("squares"), the hearts as {pormey} ("leaves"), and the clubs {Sormey} ("trees").
Note that none of these are new words; they're just being used in a new way.

He couldn't think of a good word for the spades, so he simply "calls a spade {'eSpeD}".
{'eSpeD} is a new word, but it seems to just be a phonetic approximation that Maltz made up for "a spade", so most Klingons probably wouldn't recognize this word.

== Geometry ==

Earlier this year, we received a lot of new terminology relating to geometry (something which several people have been requesting for a long time):

Now, it seems Maltz has given us some further information, particularly relating to angles.

First some information on regular (or "perfect") polygons:

We previously knew that a perfect/regular triangle was called {ra'Duch tIQ} ("ancient triangle"), but the word {tIQ} is not used when describing most other shapes.

If a polygon is equilateral and equiangular (that is, all of its sides have the same length and all of its corners have the same angle), it is said to be {HoS} ("strong"). (At least that's how I'm reading the message. Another interpretation could be that HoS is a noun meaning "regular polygon", but the info about {puj} below makes me find that less likely.)
Not sure if this would apply to stars, or only to convex polygons.

We previously had informaiton about referring to perfect and isosceles triangles. If a triangle is neither perfect nor isosceles, it is said to be {puj} ("weak").
(Does this also refer to other polygons? Does {mey' puj} mean "irregular polygon"?)

Regarding angles:

Klingons measure angles in a unit called {lawrI'}, which is equal to a degree.
However, this is a new unit (perhaps adopted to better understand Federation technology?); in the days of old, Klingons used a different angle unit called a {law}, which is equal to 40/27 degrees (or about 1.481°).
A full circle (360 degrees) has 243 {law}.
243 = 3*3*3*3*3, so it's easy to divide by 3, 9, 27 and 81.

A right angle has 90 {lawrI'}, or 60.75 {law}. A right angle is apparently called {tajvaj leD}, where {leD} is a new verb which appears to mean "be right-angled" or "be perpendicular".
It can apparently also be used when referring to surfaces. Maltz used the sentence {leD rav tlhoy' je.}, presumably meaning "The floor and the wall are perpendicular to each other."

It seems that an acute angle (one less than 90 degrees) is called a {tajvajHom}, while an obtuse, straight or reflex angle (that is, one more than 90 degrees) is called a {tajvaj'a'}.

According to the message, both polygons (mey') and stars (DujtlhuQ) have {QIn} ("spearhead(s)"). I'm assuming this is a word for "corner"?
(It's worth noting that stars and star-shaped polygons are also polygons. Of course, whether or not they are mey' is another issue.)

We also got a new word, {yergh}, which apparently means "solid (3D) shape" or, possibly, "polyhedron".

So, as far as I can tell, the new vocabulary so far is (with speculative glosses):

{'urgh} - "jab, poke"
*'eSpeD* - "a spade" (phonetic approximation made up by Maltz?)

{HoS} – used to describe regular polygons
{puj} – used to describe non-isosceles triangles
{lawrI'} – new angular unit, equal to one degree
{law} – old angular unit, equal to 40/27 degrees
{leD} – "be perpendicular, be at a right angle" (?)

{tajvajHom} – acute angle ?
{tajvaj'a'} – angle greater than 90 degrees ?
{QIn} – corner ?

{yergh} – solid shape (polyhedron?)


Clipped Klingon, Part 2 - Talking Back

Previously, we looked at Clipped Klingon and its use in giving commands. Essentially, the use of Clipped Klingon is similar to how orders are given in a battle in a human armed force. During a briefing or debriefing, a unit is instructed in proper Klingon:

Hoch Dopmeyvo' jagh ghom wIHIvnISWe need to attack the enemy unit from all sides
DaHjaj DoS wej pagh wej wIcharghnISWe need to secure Target 303 today
ngaq 'oH Qu'maj'e'Our mission is support
qach SochDaq nov ghom yISevContain the alien unit within Building Seven
wImaghlu'We are betrayed

However, in the heat of battle the commands are more terse:-

Hoch Dop jagh ghom HIvnISEnemy unit - all sides - attack
DoS wej pagh wej charghSecure Target 303
ngaq Qu'majOur mission is support
qach Soch nov ghom SevContain alien unit - Building Seven
maghlu'We are betrayed

Clipped Klingon is also used in the context of delivering responses and status reports, often in reply to the Clipped Klingon command


(Proper Klingon: yIja'! Report!)

In Clipped Klingon, once again, the prefixes tend to be dropped, leaving the bare verb.

yajchu', qaHUnderstood, Sir
chu'ta'(device) Activated
chu'Ha'ta'(device) Deactivated
Sevlu'(enemy) Contained
ghoch(target) Tracking
Qeq(target) Locked

Proper Klingon

jIyajchu', qaHI understand, Sir
jen vIchu'ta'I have activated the device
jen vIchu'Ha'ta'I have deactivated the device
jagh Sevlu'The enemy is contained
DoS vIghochtaHTracking target
DoS vIQeqtaHTarget locked


Clipped Klingon, Part 1

This week's topic is Clipped Klingon.

Clipped Klingon is sometimes called "Battle Language," but it is used extensively outside of military context. Clipped Klingon often ignores some of the rules of "proper" Klingon grammar, and is often used under circumstances where quick, rather than eloquent, communication is necessary.

Dropping the Prefix

When giving a command in Clipped Klingon, leave off the imperative prefix. Just start with the verb. This is the most basic form of Clipped Klingon.

Formal Klingon:-

HIHIv!Attack me!
peqIm!Pay attention!
gholob!Obey us!
tIHoH!Kill them!
yIba!Sit down!
yIDoH!Back off!
yISop!Eat it!

Clipped Klingon:-

DoH!Back off!

In each instance, it should be clear who the subject and object of each command is. tIHoH, for example, would be given to a unit about to engage in lethal combat with a group of enemies. If there was a single target, the proper Klingon would be yIHoH - but even then, in Clipped Klingon the target should be clear to the person being commanded.

Clipped Klingon commands can also be given with a specific object:-

Formal Klingon:-

wIy yIcha'!Show the tactical display!
pa' yI'el!Enter the room!
He chu' yIghoS!Follow a new course!
So'wI' yIchu'!Activate the cloaking device!
cha yIbaH!Fire the torpedoes!
Dujvetlh yItlha'!Follow that ship!
Duj HeDaj yIghoch!Track the ship's course!
tera'ngan yIyaH!Take the Terran away!
jaghvetlh yIHoH!Kill that enemy!
jen yIchu'!Activate the device!

Clipped Klingon:-

wIy cha'!Show the tactical display!
pa' 'el!Enter the room!
He chu' ghoS!Follow a new course!
So'wI' chu'!Activate the cloaking device!
cha baH!Fire the torpedoes!
Dujvetlh tlha'!Follow that ship!
Duj HeDaj ghoch!Track the ship's course!
tera'ngan yaH!Take the Terran away!
jaghvetlh HoH!Kill that enemy!
jen chu'!Activate the device!

This would be, for instance, if it had to be made clear that it was the torpedoes which needed to be fired, rather than the phasers; or that it was the Terran, as compared to the Ferengi, which had to be taken away.

Critical Noun

If the noun is critical, and what needs to be done with it is obvious, the verb could be dropped leaving just the noun.

Formal Klingon:-

wIy yIcha'!Show the tactical display!
So'wI' yIchu'!Activate the cloaking device!
cha yIbaH!Fire the torpedoes!
chuyDaH yIlaQ!Fire the thrusters!

Clipped Klingon:-

wIy!Tactical display!
So'wI'!Cloaking device!

This is particularly common in a ropyaH sickbay or ropyaH qach hospital environment:-

petqaD HInob!Give me the bone knitter!
Haqtaj HInob!Give me the scalpel!
'uD Haqtaj HInob!Give me the laser scalpel!
tuj muvwI' HInob!Give me the thermo-suture!

petqaD!Bone knitter!
'uD Haqtaj!Laser scalpel!
tuj muvwI'!Thermo-suture!

In this instance, it is clear that the instruction is to give the surgeon the device or tool in question, rather than attempt to use it oneself.

Next: Clipped Klingon and Talking Back


War and The Klingon Mindset

The Klingons are pretty much genetically predisposed towards hostility. A highly carnivorous species, they are never content unless they are occupying the local apex predator niche in any biosphere they inhabit, colonise or conquer.

When the local sentient apex predators, or even the local humans, object to this, there is usually only one way that things tend to get settled where Klingons are involved.


War is healthy for Klingons. Any excuse for a scrap. However, they don't just fight indiscriminately. Klingon society has evolved a military force - tlhIngan Hubbeq the Klingon Defence Force - with strict military ranks and protocols. The structure of the Hubbeq allows for the strategies of the tlhIngan ra'ghomquv Klingon High Command to be carried out.

tlhIngan ra'ghomquvKlingon High Command
tlhIngan HubbeqKlingon Defence Force

The units of the KDF are fleets and squadrons. A fleet can be made of one or many squadrons - a single large squadron could also comprise an entire fleet. And some squadrons are independent of any fleet.


Individual Klingon warriors belonging to the KDF either belong to the officer class or crew. The term "crew," as pertains to the crew of a ship, is wey:-

QaStroops (non-officers)
weyship's crew, ship's compliment

There are three major terms for warrior in Klingon. Each is used in a specific way.

vajwarriow (philosophical concept)
mangsoldier, warrior fighting as part of a military unit
neghsoldiers, unit

Ranks and Titles

The Klingon word for rank is patlh. The head of the KDF is the la'quv, often translated Supreme Commander. Below the la'quv are nine separate officer ranks:-

la'quvSupreme Commander
'ajAdmiral, Fleet Admiral

The ranks do not exactly map to standard Terran military leadership rankings. The English titles are the closest equivalent in name only.

Within the QaS there are only two ranks.


The rank title always follows the proper noun:-

Qel 'ajFleet Admiral Krell
tlha'a HoDCaptain Klaa
cheng Sa'General Chang

The rank title can also be used as a noun in itself:-

ra'DI' HoD yIlobWhen the Captain commands, you obey
ra'DI' 'aj lobnIS HochWhen the Admiral commands, everybody obeys


2014 10 20 - Translation Document Online In Full

The task consumed me last week; but now the BBC have posted the article I translated into tlhIngan Hol in its entirety.

Digital Human Episode 6 - Klingon Script

Digital Human

Today, 2014 10 20, at 16:30 BST, BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a programme segment of the series Digital Human concentrating on languages. Specifically, constructed languages. Highly educational. Sapir-Whorf will be referenced.

The showrunner asked me if I would like to transcribe the episode into tlhIngan Hol, and I obliged him. My translation should appear on the Digital Human tumblr blog round about the time the show goes live.

Here are links.

Digital Human official BBC Radio 4 website

Digital Human tumblr blog


Qu' potlhqu' 'ej pavqu'

I have been given an important and urgent mission. I have a transcript of a BBC radio program to translate, and less than a week to get it done. The deadline is this Friday, at the latest. The show comes out on 2014 10 20.

No posts tonight or next Sunday. Next post, 2014 10 26.


The Art of War - Fighting Verbs

tlhIngan Hol has a huge vocabulary focused on combat, battle, warfare and fighting. This short series will look at these terms each in turn. Starting with the verbs for combat moves.

Combat Manoeuvres - betleH

joplunge betleH towards opponent
way'deflect (parry) a blow
chaQthrust either end of the betleH upwards
ngolchange orientation of betleH from horizontal to vertical
levchange orientation of betleH from vertical to horizontal
DIjslide the blade along the blade of the opponent's weapon
jIrmoHto twirl, rotate a betleH
baQtoss betleH from one hand to the other

This is what Klingon for the Galactic Traveler has to say on betleH usage.

When teaching someone to use the bat'leth, the tutor will shout out movements--for example, yIjop! yIway'! ("Lunge! Defend!"). Generally in such a situation, however, the tutor will use the shortened form of the language known as Clipped Klingon and skip the imperative prefix yI-, leaving only the bare verb: jop! way'! It is important to note that the tutor is giving the student direct commands ("Lunge! Defend!"), not shouting out the names of movements.

Combat Manoeuvres - Other Weapons

yansword (n) (long bladed weapon)
yanwield a sword (v)
'etlhsword (n) (another name for a sword)
Qachwield or swing an 'obmaQ axe or 'aqleH

More to follow.


The Language Of War

Klingons, being a warrior race, are no strangers to combat, organised and disorganised. tlhIngan Hol reflects this with a variety of terms descriptive of violence, or of those who are particularly skilled at inflicting violence.

As part of an ongoing arc, this blog will be crossing over with The Daily Klingon on tumblr.

Tonight's edition of tlhIngan paQDI'norgh will look at the verbs used to describe the various cuts and thrusts of bladed combat. Meanwhile, The Daily Klingon will focus on military terminology - such as military ranks, the nouns for entities such as fleets, squadrons and armies and so on.


betleH - The Warrior's Best Friend

From Memory Alpha:-

Resembling a crescent-shaped, two-ended scimitar, the bat'leth is wielded using three handholds along the outside edge of the blade. A traditional bat'leth is typically approximately 116 centimeters long, with blades of composite baakonite, weighs about five-point-three kilograms, and has an exterior hand grip diameter of five centimeters.

Kahless and The First betleH

The first betleH was said to have been forged by qeylIS Kahless in the fires of the Kristak volcano. He cut off a lock of his hair and dipped it into the molten lava flowing from the summit. Plunging the burning lock into the waters of Lake Lusor, he twisted the burning hair into a blade, which he used to kill the evil tyrant Molor, after which he named it.

Presumably, the name betleH derives from batlh 'etlh or blade of honour.

This story was only revealed to the public by the clone of Kahless as part of a ploy by the priests of the monastery of Boreth.

The sword itself was lost during the invasion of the Hur'Iq, the only species ever to have actually conquered the Klingons.

betleH Contests

Klingons hold betleH competitions on Forcas III. Maimings and injuries are common.

Order Of The betleH

The Order of the Bat'leth is one of the highest honours given to serving Klingon warriors, next only to the Order of Kahless in prestige. The Order of the Bat'leth is given only to a select few.

Every year, the Klingon Chancellor holds an induction ceremony on Ty'Gokor, in the Hall of Warriors. The day before the ceremoney there is a traditional drunken celebration, with much good bloodwine being consumed. This is considered an endurance test.


veS tIgh The Way of War

Time to start a new theme. After the delights of all that Klingon food, you'll want something to work up an appetite; and what better than to go out and fight something.

reH Suvrup tlhIngan SuvwI'A Klingon warrior is always prepared to fight
reH Heghrup tlhIngan SuvwI'A Klingon warrior is always prepared to die
bImejDI' reH betleHlIj yItlhapNever leave without your bat'telh

From today, we will be looking at Klingon weapons of all sorts - from personal melee weapons to small arms, through to the big shipboard weapons.

nuHmey Weapons

Klingons prefer fighting with bladed weapons. Some of the weapons are well-known even outside the Empire.


betleH Bat'leth

Resembling a crescent-shaped, two-ended scimitar, the bat'leth was wielded using three handholds along the outside edge of the blade. (TNG: "Reunion", et al.) A traditional bat'leth was typically approximately 116 centimeters long, with blades of composite baakonite, weighed about five-point-three kilograms, and had an exterior hand grip diameter of five centimeters.

According to Klingon mythology, the first bat'leth was forged by Kahless the Unforgettable in the 9th century. Kahless cut a lock of his hair and dropped it into the lava of the Kri'stak volcano, then plunged the burning lock into the Lake of Lusor and twisted it into a blade. After forging the weapon, he used it to fight the tyrant Molor, and then gave it its name. This story was not recorded in public texts, but was passed down verbally by the Klingon clerics as a test of Kahless' return.

meqleH Mek'leth

A mek'leth is approximately half as long as a bat'leth, typically used to slash the throat or disembowel. Good for killing Borg drones. Favoured by Worf and Jadzia Dax. First appearance: Star Trek: First Contact.

Daqtagh D'k'tahg

First seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, this is a traditional warrior's blade. The Daqtagh has a single primary blade, with two secondary blades which can either be fixed or hinged. The Klingon's family crest is usually mounted on the pommel.

There will be a closer examination of Klingon weapons and combat in further posts in this series.


Unworthy Qualities

The following attributes are negative qualities. No Klingon would aspire to possess these characteristics.

The list is far from exhaustive.

Dalboring, be boring (v)
DIvguilty, be guilty (v)
Doghfoolish, be foolish, silly (v)
Doy'tired, be tired (v)
ghaljealous, be jealous (of), envy (v)
ghIHmessy, be messy, sloppy (v)
Hojcautious, be cautious (v)
HoQhonoured falsely, be honoured falsely [deception is implied] (v)
Hujstrange, be strange (v)
jIvignorant, be ignorant (v)
jumodd, be odd (v)
le'be'non-specific, be non-specific, unexceptional (v)
lo'laHbe'worthless, be worthless (v)
maw'crazy, be crazy (v)
mIghevil, be evil (v)
mISmixed up, be mixed up, be confused (v)
motlhbe'unusual, be unusual (v)
nonrotten, be rotten (v)
notlhobsolete, be obsolete (v)
nubsuspect, be suspect (v)
ngebcounterfeit, be counterfeit (v)
ngImputrid, be putrid (v)
pIHsuspicious, be suspicious (v)
pujweak, be weak (v)
puQfed up, be fed up (v)
qalcorrupt, be corrupt (v)
qanold, be old (not young) (v)
qetlhdull, be dull, uninteresting (v)
qurgreedy, be greedy (v)
QeHmad, be mad (v)
QIpstupid, be stupid (v)
QIvinferior, be inferior (v)
QoSsorry, be sorry (v)
Qutvulgar, be vulgar (v)
ramtrivial, be trivial, trifling, unimportant (v)
rIghlame, be lame (v)
ropsick, be sick, ill (v)
Soy'clumsy, be clumsy (v)
tamquiet, be quiet (v)
tuHashamed, be ashamed (v)
tunsoft, be soft (v)
tlhIbincompetent, be incompetent (v)
tlhIvinsubordinate, be insubordinate (v)
webdisgraced, be disgraced (v)
wununprotected, be unprotected, be vulnerable (v)
yuDdishonest, be dishonest (v)
'IQsad, be sad (v)

As for how and where to use them, see my tumblr post The Daily Klingon.


vIttlhegh qaD

This week's post will be run in conjunction with my Daily Klingon tumblr qaDHom.

Here is the post.

Today's challenge is a challenge indeed. Today, I throw you in at the deep end.

You are familiar with how Klingon is littered with proverbs; there are aphorisms, saying, idioms and figures of speech covering a host of situations.

Today's challenge is this: come up with a new proverb.

This will be an entirely unofficial vIttlhegh, one which most likely will not be seen outside of tumblr or tlhIngan paQDI'norgh, but your candidate proverb must follow the following rules.

Originality: ghomer Surprise us. Example: Qapchugh Dup chu' Ho' Hoch; QapHa'chugh Dup chu' lIj pagh If it succeeds, everyone admires a new strategy; if it fails, noone forgets.

Spirit: tlhIngan qa' yIjon Capture the Klingon spirit

Your proverb must embrace some aspect of the Klingon heart. You could even submit a joke.


Qo'noSDaq paw tera'ngan. tlhIngan qIH. tlhob, "chay' vaS'a'Daq jIjaH?" jatlh tlhIngan, "yISuvchu' 'ej qagh Hegh yISopQo'."

And that's it.

There will be other qaDHommey on tumblr during this month - but this will be the main qaDHom for September. Final date for entries will be 2014 09 30. Submit through the submit box. Somebody tell me I've enabled the submit box.

Entries will be posted throughout the month. No prizes - you are doing this purely for the honour.

DachDI' latlh meqmey, quvvaD neH Hoch wIta'.



Replacement Proverbs

Qagh Hoch Everybody makes mistakes. Whether you are experienced or a novice, sooner or later everybody errs, and honour is lost.

When you commit an error, you have one chance to correct that mistake - assuming you realise that you have erred. Errors can creep in a number of ways: you can misread a situation, fail to understand a spoken word, mispronounce a word or impose Terran values to a Klingon situation, such as attempting to protect a superior officer who has come under attack from an inferior who perceives the superior officer as weak somehow, or asking a Klingon at the dinner table to pass the salt.

It is easy to see when an error has been committed: your Klingon hosts will stop what they are doing, conversation will fall silent abruptly and every eye will turn on you.

Some errors are irredeemable, and can lead to one being branded a tourist and shuffled off on the next available shuttle. However. some errors can be redeemed somewhat by means of a replacement proverb. The Klingon language resource Power Klingon recommended learning at least one of these proverbs off by heart; any proverb will do.

The Klingon term qa'meH vIttlhegh replacement proverb is acknowledged as being a shortened form of the original quvqa'meH vIttlhegh proverb for the restoration of honour that has been lost. This is the purpose of these proverbs: to restore the failed honour of the speaker.

If the use of the qa'meH vIttlhegh succeeds, the interrupted conversation will resume without a pause, and nothing more will be said by anyone. Take that as a sign that your words have been deemed acceptable and your honour has been restored. If you keep receiving stares and silence from your hosts, forget about trying to impress them any further: you have just been branded a Terran pujwI' and you might as well grab your coat and leave now.

Here are the main qa'meH vIttlheghmey, along with an analysis of what each proverb could mean, given the Klingon mindset and their predisposition towards violence.

HIvqa' veqlargh"The Fek'lhr strikes again."
veqlargh Fek'lhr is a mythical guardian of the Klingon afterlife ghe'tor Grethor where the souls of the dishonoured dead go. Kang said that Klingons do not believe in a devil archetype, so Fek'lhr does not have the same sort of role as the Terran Devil - but it is implied that Fek'lhr does test his victims' honour, and this replacement proverb refers to this myth.

DopDaq qul yIchenmoH QobDI' ghu'"Set fire on the side when there is danger."
The side, here, means the sides of the speaker's cheeks - the flush of embarrassment. The speaker is pointing out that such an error is a minor thing, and that there are more important matters to consider.

jagh DajeymeH nIteb yISuvrup"To defeat the enemy, be ready to fight alone."
The speaker, here, is the warrior - who will be ready to defend his honour if someone presses him on the error.

reH Suvrup SuvwI''a'"A great warrior is always prepared."
The warrior, in this case, being the speaker - who is willing to turn his embarrassing situation into a violent one if anyone dares to humiliate him.

reH latlh qabDaq qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS"The fire is always hotter on someone else's face."
Again, a reference to the hot blood of embarrassment, and the need to focus on what is important.

Hagh qoHpu' neH HeghtaHvIS SuvwI'pu'"Only fools laugh while warriors die."
The "fools," in this case, mean those who are looking on the speaker - who is prepared to back up his warrior credentials ("A demonstration can be arranged!") if pressed.

Recently, another replacement proverb was unearthed thanks to the tireless efforts of Klingon linguistic experts working with the Klingon known as Maltz. This replacement proverb is this:-

jagh yIbuStaHConcentrate on the enemy!
Once again, this new replacement proverb refers to the act of focusing on more important matters than the one insignificant error the speaker has just committed.

Replacement proverbs are important. Learn them. Use them. They could save more than your life - they might save your honour.


Secrecy Proverbs

Klingon is replete with proverbs: proverbs for all occasions. Marc Okrand has this to say about Klingon proverbs.

It has long been known that proverbs play a significant role in Klingon culture. They are cited not only to impart the wisdom of Klingon society, but their correct usage -- at least in the case of so-called "replacement proverbs" -- is sometimes the only way to regain honor following an unfortunate situation.

Given the importance of proverbs, then, it is odd that the Klingon vocabulary associated with them has been little discussed.

The usual term for proverb is vIttlhegh, literally truth rope and formed, no doubt, by analogy with mu'tlhegh sentence or, literally, word rope.

Two types of proverbs have special names. A secrecy proverb -- that is, a proverb about secrecy -- is generally called peghmey vIttlhegh secret's proverb or proverb of secrets. Infrequently the singular pegh secret (rather than the plural peghmey) is heard, shortening the construction to pegh vIttlhegh. Since pegh is also a verb (meaning keep something secret), pegh vIttlhegh can also be interpreted as a sentence meaning something like a proverb keeps things secret, that is, it withholds information rather than being a ready source of answers. To some Klingons, this is a most insightful coincidence.

The Klingon term for a replacement proverb is qa'meH vIttlhegh. This is the only way to say replacement proverb currently, but in the past, the common term was the lengthier quvqa'meH vIttlhegh, literally, proverb for (the purpose of) being honored again. The word qa'meH, clearly a shortened form of quvqa'meH, was originally used only in the construction of qa'meH vIttlhegh, but, though historically two verb suffixes, it has become accepted as a noun in its own right, meaning replacement in the sense of something that takes over for or is used instead of something that is gone or that has been lost. It is not used for a temporary substitute or a stand-in; the word for that is lIw.

Today, we will be examining the secrecy proverb (peghmey vIttlhegh). Kk

The following are the four most common secrecy proverbs.

Hov ghajbe'bogh ram rur pegh ghajbe'bogh jajA day without secrets is like a night without stars
De' lI' Sovlu'DI' chaq Do'Ha'Knowledge of useful information may be unfortunate
not mev peghmeySecrets never cease
jIjatlhpa' jatlh HovmeyThe stars will talk before I will

Recently, a new secrecy proverb has turned up:-

‘Iw HIq yap tu’lu’be’There is not enough bloodwine

My candidate secrecy proverb did not meet their consideration. It was this:-

tajlIj yIjejmoH; jatlIj yIjejmoHQo'Sharpen your knife - not your tongue!

Challenges On Tumblr

I have begun posting semi-regular challenges on my tumblr blog, The Daily Klingon. Tonight's challenge is coming out at about this time. When I post a new challenge, you'll get a link to it here.


Star Trek: Klingon (video)

A bonus post: Star Trek: Klingon, the old 1996 PC Game by Simon & Schuster Interactive.

taHtaHvIS yItIv Enjoy it while it exists. If it gets pulled, as always inform me as soon as possible.


tera'ngan Soj

All this time, this blog has discussed Klingon food. Did you know that there is a list of Klingon terms for common Terran foodstuffs?

In 2011, the TalkNow Klingon CD released a whole new vocabulary of exotic (for Klingons) terms for Terran countries. This included Terran foods.

qo'la' 'awje'cola
ray' tIrrice
tomat naHmeytomatoes
meyIS tIrsweet corn
menggho' naHmango
banan naHbanana
'epIl naHmeyapples
qe'rot 'oQqarcarrot
per naHmeypears
Su'ghar qutmeysugar
nIm tlhaghbutter
nIm wIb ngoghcheese
Sutra'ber naHmeystrawberries
'anyan 'oQqaronion
raSber naHmeyraspberries
ghIrep naHmeygrapes
patat 'oQqarmeypotatoes
gharlIq 'oQqargarlic
pItSa' chabpizza
pIlam naHplum
yuch ngoghchocolate bar


tlhIngan Soj - Table Manners

There is a certain etiquette surrounding eating with Klingons, which must be observed.

There are three arenas - mealtimes; restaurants and bars; and finally eating fast food and buying takeaway foods.


There are four mealtimes: nIQ breakfast (n), megh lunch (n), 'uQ dinner (n) and ghem midnight snack (n) - which is slightly misleading, since the ghem is often a full meal rather than just a snack. A banquet or feast is known as an 'uQ'a' regardless of what time of day it falls on.

There are seats at the table (quS chair (n), raS table (n)); it is acceptable to ask if a chair is occupied (quSDaq ba'lu''a' Is this seat taken?) but unless you're told to sit in a space reserved for guests (meb guest (n)) or the seat obviously looks like the seat of the leader (DevwI' leader (n)) you can sit wherever you like.

You use your hands only to eat. Children use tools - knives, and so on. The Klingon word for fork is chonnaQ puq - literally child's hunting stick. If you are offered a fork to eat your food, decline the request - it is an insult.

Just grab what food you fancy from the 'elpI' platter (n) and pile it on your jengva' plate (n). If you wish for sauce, take it from the bal jug (n) and just pour it over the food on the jengva'. No jengva'? Grab a handful of the food and eat it. If you have jengva' available, they will be left in a pile at one end of the table; you must grab a jengva' from that pile.

When is it acceptable to ask someone to pass the food or a jengva'? Answer: Never. If you want something, reach for it yourself or get up and walk across to a point where the jengva' or the choice morsel is within reach.

Other than sauces, you must eat the food as it comes. You will not find a salt shaker or similar on the table. Trust me; you will never have cause to complain about Klingon food being too bland.

If you have food stuck between your teeth, try not to do the Terran thing of picking it out of your teeth and throwing it away, because it looks as if you are trying to get rid of the taste - a grievous insult to the cook's honour, and a mistake you will not get to repeat.

Instead, I recommend you take the piece of food from your teeth and make a point of chewing it, making it look as if you kept a piece behind as a reminder of the wonderful meal you just had.

Feasting at meal times is likely to be a noisy, boisterous affair, with much loud conversation, singing, cracking of jokes and the occasional friendly mock fight with head butting. If you eat too neatly, or eat without gusto, it will look as if you are not enjoying the food, and your companions at table will encourage you to enjoy the food more by engaging you in a mu'qaD veS or throwing food playfully at you. Sometimes the bones. You are expected to leave as much food on the table, the floor and yourself as inside you; a mess is a sign that you have enjoyed the food with gusto.

It is acceptable to throw food at your companions at the table; jaD throw about, hurl about (v). Do not throw your food away (woD throw away, discard (v)). In particular, if nuts (naHlet nut (n), derived from naH fruit, vegetable (n) and let hard, be hard (v)) or shelled animals of any sort have been served, you can spit out (tlhIS spit out (v)) the fragments of shell (naHlet yub nut shell (n)) at companions seated next to you. It is considered impressive if you can manage to spit out a shell fragment to strike a companion at a far end of the table.

The husk, rind, shell, peel or pith of any fruit or vegetable is called a yub: apart from nut shells, it is considered acceptable to eat the rinds of softer fruits and vegetables. Eggs (QIm egg (n)) generally do not appear as standalone dishes, apart from the occasional delicacy which you can scoop up off the 'elpI' and eat in your hand like nuts. The term for the shell of an egg is pel'aQ.

You can drink while eating; usually some form of HIq ale (n) will be provided - again, fill your own HIvje' cup (n). You can also fill your cup with any sauces they may serve, or just drink straight from the bal.

It is wise to compliment the vutwI' cook (n), though do not press the cook for details of the recipe; each cook has their own style, and it is dangerous to ask such information from a Klingon who is used to dismembering targh with their bare hands.

The range of different kinds of Klingon foods available is impossible to list in this blog. The Klingon author, J'Puq, has the best source of knowledge of Klingon cuisine - J'Puq's cookbook jabmeH in order to serve is considered a definitive resource.

Qe'Daq At The Restaurant

What applies here applies equally to bars (tach bar (n)).

When eating at a restaurant, the protocols are different.

There will be a menu posted. Regulars will already know the prices of food served and will ask for their regular fare or ask about the specials, including the catch of the day, DaHjaj gheD (literally today's prey (n), whatever they managed to catch that day).

Pay promptly when ordered (DaH yIDIl Pay now!). There is never any need to tip.

Sit where you can find a table. Reservations are a thing for weak Terrans.

If you need service, whether you want more food or drink, you attract the server's attention by calling out "jabwI'!"

In small establishments, the jabwI' is also the vutwI'. In a Klingon restaurant, there is no PADD or similar aide; the jabwI' is required to memorise the orders for each patron in their heads. Most are very familiar with the memory palace technique. A note on etiquette reads

nay' qawHa'chugh jabwI' vaj nay' lajQo'laH SuchwI' The patron can reject a dish that the server has misremembered. Sometimes a dispute might arise over whether the server remembered the dish correctly; such disagreements provide an exhilarating entertainment to the other patrons.

In a bar, one might be served by a jabwI' - but the person preparing the drinks is called a chom bartender (n). Apart from that, the same customs generally apply.

In both bars and restaurants, often the patrons will provide their own boisterous and energetic entertainment. Every now and then a may' ngeb mock battle (n) might break out, and once in a while the patrons might get lucky - someone might get tired of trading headbutts, get angry and start a real fight.

If a visitor falls ill from anything, there is a custom of serving them sour tea (n) - Dargh wIb. There is a saying: Hoch vor Dargh wIb Sour tea cures everything.

Do Qe'Daq At The Fast Food Restaurant

Often, when a Klingon is in a hurry - Qu' potlh law' Hoch potlh puS Duty before all - they have no time to stop at a restaurant for a full meal. There is a compromise, in the form of the Do Qe' velocity restaurant (n). There, a busy warrior can buy food which he can eat without lingering. In fact, lingering is actively discouraged at the Do Qe' - go in, get your food, pay for it and leave to eat your food elsewhere.

The sign outside a Do Qe' will typically read moD Soj - literally, the food hurries.

A Do Qe' employs a tebwI' filler (n) rather than a jabwI' top serve the food. The tebwI' just fills the customer's 'elpI' with the food.

Klingon for The Galactic Traveler has this to say about the customs of the Do Qe':-

Customers, even those who have never been in the establishment before, are assumed to be familiar with all details of the fare and procedures. It is not uncommon for a tebwI' to become a bit testy (a subtle change in temperament, to be sure) if a customer hesitates or asks questions while giving an order. Other customers will probably show their annoyance as well. A regular patron of a Do Qe' tends to order the same dishes on each visit.

leng Soj Takeaways

Klingon for The Galactic Traveler has this to say about takeaway food, literally "voyage food":-

At many restaurants, it is possible to order food packaged in boxes to be eaten elsewhere. This sort of food is called leng Soj (voyage food). The term leng (voyage) may be applied to any specific meal--for example, leng megh (voyage lunch).

It is unwise to order a dish that should be eaten live as leng Soj.

I am starving. Would anyone like some yuch chocolate (n)?