matlh juppu' mu'mey

HolQeD article of vol. 8 issue 3, September 1999, page 2-4

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


new words for: top and bottom, too much, ago/from now, jealousy


At the qep'a' javDIch [1996] Alan Anderson, Will Martin, Mark Shoulson, d'Armond Speers, and Rich Yampell were honored for their continuing service to the mission and goals of the KLI. Each received the title matlh jupna' [➞ Friend of Maltz]. And, as a friend, each was given the opportunity to ask Maltz (via an intermediary) for a single word. Maltz's reply (again, via intermdiary) went beyond providing simply Klingon glosses for the specific English words, and often included additional terms and examples.

1. top and bottom

The word for "top" is yor. This refers to the top side or top face of an object, such as the top of a box or the top of a table or even the top of one's head. It is not the word used for "lid" or "cover" or "cap" (as in "lid of a jar") or removable (and reusable) top of a box. The word for this kind of "top" or "lid" or "cover" is yuvtlhe'.

Similarly, yor is not the word for the inside of the top of something. If one were sitting under a table, the (presumably) flat surface above one is termed the 'aqroS.

There are two special terms for the top of a room, or "ceiling." rav'eq refers to the ceiling of any room (though, more narrowly, it refers to the ceiling of a room that has a room above it, as in a multistory structure); pa' beb refers specifically to the ceiling of a room which is on the top (or only) story of a structure. It is possible to use 'aqroS to refer to a ceiling, though the other two terms are more common.

The word for "bottom," the counterpart of yor, is pIrmuS. This word refers to the underside of something, not the interior bottom (such as the bottom of a well or the bottom of a bowl where a few drops of milk remain after eating cereal). The word for the interior bottom of something is bIS'ub. If an item is located in the bottom of a box, it is located in the box's bIS'ub. If something is found underneath a box, it is found beneath the box's pIrmuS.

2. too much

The adverbial tlhoy means overly, to an excessive degree. It is used in such sentences as:

tlhoy jISop
I eat too much / I eat excessively

tlhoy bIQong
you sleep too much / you sleep excessively

When tlhoy is used, it denotes that the action expressed by the verb (Sop eat, Qong sleep) is what is being overly done or done too much. Thus, the sentence:

tlhoy qagh vISop
I eat too much gagh / I eat gagh excessively / I overeat gagh

expresses the notion that the eating is excessive, not that the amount of gagh is. (Note that although it is possible to say this, it is not something anybody would be likely to ever say). Similarly,

tlhoy yIHmey vIlegh
I see too many tribbles

means I overly see tribbles (perhaps this could be used if one meant something like "I see tribbles far too frequently and in far too many places"). To express the idea of "too much gagh" or "too many tribbles," the verb 'Iq be too many, be too much is used adjectivally. For example:

yIHmey 'Iq vIlegh
I see too many tribbles

qagh 'Iq vISop
I eat too much gagh

Sometimes, the word law'qu' be very many (formed from law' be many plus -qu', the emphatic suffix) is translated "be too many." If the context is clear, this is acceptable, but if it is important to stress the idea of "overly many, overly much, more than there ought to be," tlhoy or 'Iq is usually employed.

3. ago / from now

Klingon has special words to refer to units of time (such as "day" and "year") preceding or following the current time. Words of this type which are already well-known are:

days ago

days from now

years ago

years from now

These words are used with numbers to indicate the number of time units ago (days ago, years ago) or time units from now (days from now, years from now).

Thus wa'Hu' is yesterday (one day before now, one day ago), cha'Hu' is day before yesterday (two days before now, two days ago), wejnem is three years from now, and so on. Another pair of words of this type refers to months:

months ago

months from now

Thus, loSwen is four months ago and wa'waQ is next month (one month from now). As far as is known, there are no other terms associated with specific units of time (in the way Hu' and leS are associated with jaj day).

For other units of time (seconds, minutes, hours weeks), two more general words are used:

time period ago

time period from now

(One might say that these are associated with the word poH period of time.). These words follow the more specific time units. For example, two minutes ago is *cha' tup ret*, literally "two minute time-period-ago." Two minutes from now is cha' tup pIq. (It is also possible, though not necessary, to use the plural suffixes with the time units if there is more than one of them: cha' tupmey ret, cha' tupmey pIq.)

The words ret and pIq could also be used with days, months, and years (e.g., wej jaj ret three days ago, rather than wejHu'), but utterances of this type are not particularly common, sound a bit archaic, and are usually restricted to rather formal settings.

With longer time periods, suchas a century (vatlh DIS poH), millennium (SaD DIS poH), or a period of 10,000 years ("myriad," perhaps) (netlh DIS poH), the words ret or pIq may be used in place of poH, e.g., cha' vatlh DIS poH two centuries, but cha' vatlh DIS ret two centuries ago. The phrase cha' vatlh ben would mean "200 years ago." The choice of construction depends on what is being emphasized: in this case, the total number of centuries (two) or the total number of years (200).

4. jealousy

The verb ghal means be jealous (of), envy. It is used in such sentences as:

I am jealous

you envy me / you are jealous of me

torgh vIghal
I am jealous of Torg

There is also an idiomatic phrase which conveys the idea of jealousy: SuD veqlargh mInDu'. Literally, this means Fek'lhr's eyes are yellow/green, but it is used to express the idea that somebody is jealous. It would be used in an exchange such as:

A: loSmaH romuluSngan SuvwI'pu' HoHta' qeng.
B: SuD veqlargh mInDu'.

A: Kang killed 40 Romulan warriors.
B: Somebody is jealous! (Fek'lhr's eyes are yellow/green.)

Speaker "B" is saying that speaker "A" is jealous of Kang.

5. then

The adverbial ghIq means then in the sense of and then, after that, by then, subsequently and the like. It is used as in the following examples:

Soppu'. ghIq tlhutlhpu'.
He/she ate. Then (after that) he/she drank.

wam chaH. ghIq Soj luvut.
They hunt. Then (after that) they prepare food.

wa'leS maghob. ghIq malop.
Tomorrow we will do battle. Then (after that) we'll celebrate.

It is possible to join the sentences with a conjunction such as 'ej and or 'ach but:

wam chaH 'ej ghIq Soj luvut.
They hunt and then they prepare food.

tlhoy Sop 'ach ghIq Qongchu'.
He/she eats too much, but then he/she sleeps soundly.

A final note: Maltz was honored by the fact that he now has official Friends and endeavored to provide the information that they were looking for. If, however, there was a misinterpretation of any of their requests such that they didn't get quite what they wanted, blame not Maltz or his Friends, but the messenger.

See also

External links

Category: Canon    Latest edit: 30 Sep 2021, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 30 Sep 2021 by KlingonTeacher
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