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HolQeD article of vol. 7 issue 2, June 1998, page 8-9

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


Explaing how to use the verb SIv, and intrduce new words for fork and spoon.


The internet is an astounding place. Not only does it permit rapid communication across the face of the Earth, but apparently through time as well. How else to account for the two inclusions below? These explanations from Marc Okrand have appeared in various electronic mailing lists and bulletin boards. We reprint them here with Okrand's kind permission. (Lawrence M. Schoen)

All four words asked about (tul hope, Qub think, Sov know, and SIv wonder) can be used in the construction S 'e' V, where S is a sentence, 'e' is the pronoun that which refers to a previous topic (in this case S), and V is one of the verbs listed above (as well as some others).

If the sentence (S) is tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh you speak Klingon (tlhIngan Hol Klingon language, Dajatlh you speak it), it's OK to say:

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh 'e' vItul
I hope that you speak Klingon
(vItul I hope it)

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh 'e' vIQub
I think that you speak Klingon
(vIQub I think it)

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh 'e' vISov
I know that you speak Klingon
(vISov I know it)

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh 'e' vISIv
I wonder if you speak Klingon
(vISIv I wonder it)

The fourth example is weird from an English translation point of view, but it falls right in line in Klingon. If the English translation matched the pattern of the other three sentences, it would be "I wonder that you speak Klingon." In English, this means something like "I'm surprised that you speak Klingon" or "I don't understand how it can be that you speak Klingon," but this is not what the Klingon sentence means. The Klingon sentence means something more like "I am curious about whether you speak Klingon." The clumsiness here is the English, not the Klingon.

One other verb that can be used in the V slot in such sentences is Hon doubt:

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh 'e' vIHon
I doubt that you speak Klingon
(vIHon I doubt it)
I'll return on another occasion to the question of whether the sentence preceding the 'e' in such sentences can be a question. This is a more general issue than whether you can do it with SIv "wonder" and I need some clear guidance from Maltz.

[the following information was first published in the newsgroup message of May 5th, 1998].

The Klingon word for "fork" is puq chonnaQ.

As is well known, Klingons prefer to get food into their mouths without the aid of implements (except for such things as the bowl containing soup or the goblet containing bloodwine). Nevertheless, they have become acquainted with the eating habits of other cultures and have become aware of such things as forks. On occasion, they'll even use the implements, most commonly when partaking of a non-Klingon meal (whether on a Klingon planet or elsewhere) but sometimes when eating Klingon food, as if to add an exotic touch to the meal experience. (Not all Klingons are skilled in using forks, however, and some simply refuse to deal with them. Those who do not use them seem to be not at all troubled by eating "foreign" food using Klingon means — that is, hands.)

The term puq chonnaQ is, at least in origin, somewhat derisive. It literally means "child's hunting spear," suggesting that the eating implement is small and not very effective (though the actual child's spear, as opposed to the "fork," is useful for training in the art of hunting).

The Klingon word for "spoon" is baghneQ. Even though spoons were never typically used when eating, the word appears to have been in the language for a long time, suggesting that it may once have meant something else. One theory is that it comes from nagh beQ "flat stone, flat rock" and that the initial sounds of the two words, n and b, were, for some reason, transposed. This is, however, just speculation.

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