Maltz’s Reward: Part III

HolQeD article of vol. 12 issue 4, December 2003, page 8-9

Written by Marc Okrand; Originally published in HolQeD, the quarterly journal of the Klingon Language Institute, Flourtown, PA, ISSN 1061-2327.


Maltz talks about the names of the head's varying bodily functions, and tells us the words for snoring, spitting, vomiting and the like.


One of the requests by a winner of the missing-Frasier-line contest was for the word (or phrase) for "bodily function." The request was accompanied by a rather lengthy list of different body parts along with associated activities and byproducts in order to give Maltz an idea of what the requester was after.

Maltz was familiar with the scientific study of bodily functions, or porghQeD, but he didn't consider himself terribly well versed in the field. The closest he could come to "bodily function" was porgh mIw, literally "body process," but he had a hard time thinking of an everyday sentence containing that phrase. He said that Klingons don't talk all that much about bodily functions as a group, but they certainly do talk about specific bodily functions.

So he decided to take them up piece by piece, or body part by body part (or, perhaps more accurately, body region by body region), rather than tackling them all at once.

He chose to begin with the head (though he meandered a bit).

The head has a number of organs through which substances enter and exit the body, and there is vocabulary for the bodily functions involved in this movement of substances. Air, for example, comes in and out of the nose or mouth. The word for "breath" is tlhuH, and that for "breathe" is also tlhuH. To breathe in, or "inhale," is pur; to breathe out, or "exhale," is rech. To breathe noisily, or "wheeze," is jev. (This is also the verb "storm," though Maltz couldn't decide whether this was meaningful or just a coincidence.) To breathe even more noisily, or "snore," is wuD.

When air (or gas) from the stomach works it's way up and comes out of the mouth (often noisily), one is said to ruq "belch." Maltz said it is acceptable to refer to this gas as SIp, a general word for gas of any kind, but that gas produced within the body is known as Qep'It. When, rather than gas, undigested or partially digested food comes up, one is said to 'em "vomit," and the matter being vomited, that is, "vomit," is called quy'Ip. (Maltz was quite amused whet he realized that Klingon word rech "exhale" sounded like the English word "retch" -- that is, "vomit" -- but he couldn't explain why he thought it was so funny.) The verb for "hiccup" is bur. The verb meaning "gurgle," specifically applied to one's stomach gurgling or talking, is bor.

In addition to air (and gas), various fluids (or near-fluids) may come into or out of the mouth and (at least by natural means) out of the nose. If one were to chuy "sneeze," one would likely eject 'IqnaH "mucus" (or sometimes 'IqnaH QaD "dry mucus"). If one were to tuS "cough," one might produce qo'qaD "phlegm."

If tlhepQe' "saliva" is produced, one is said to tIl "salivate." If the tlhepQe' involuntarily escapes one's lips and dribbles down one's chin, one is said to bol "drool." To intentionally eject the tlhepQe' from one's mouth is to tuy' "spit." Maltz pointed out that a similar verb, tlhIS "spit out," is used to refer to spitting out things other than saliva, such as parts of food that are not swallowed or teeth. If what one spits out is basically liquid, such as a mixture of saliva and mucus, tuy' would be used; for spitting out a mixture of saliva and something that is basically solid, tlhIS would be more appropriate.

Remaining on the head are eyes and ears.

For Klingons, even though there is a word for "cry" (SaQ), there is no word for "tear" or "tears," undoubtedly because Klingons have no tear ducts. [see mIn 'onroS.] The only thing Maltz could think of that eyes do from time to time is "redden" (DoqchoH, literally "become red" or "change to red").

Ears (at least healthy ones) produce no byproducts other than earwax (Serrum), which is said to somehow just vI' "accumulate" in the ear.

Maltz stopped at this point, saying, with a strange grin, that he'd return to below-the-neck bodily functions at another time.

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