matlh jup mu'mey

HolQeD article of vol. 9 issue 3, September 2000, page 8-10

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


introducing family terms and mathematical operations


At the qep'a' SochDIch [year 2000] Nick Nicholas was honored for his continuing service to the mission and goals of the KLI. He received the title matlh jupna'. And, as a friend, he was given the opportunity to ask Maltz (via an intermediary) for a single word.

As has happened often in the past, Maltz's reply (again, via the intermediary) went beyond providing simply Klingon glosses for the specific word and included additional terms and examples. Even more surprising, Maltz seemed to feel the need to go off in a second direction , providing even more insight for Klingon language scholars. What follows are the notes provided by the intermediary.

1. Kin

Maltz was asked by a friend for the Klingon word for "cousin." He was happy to oblige, but before he got to "cousin," he said he needed to explain several other kinship terms.

There are four words for "aunt." me' is used to refer to one's mother's sister; 'e'mam is one's father's sister. An aunt by marriage (the wife of one's parent's brother) is either me'nal (mother's brother's wife) or 'e'mamnal (father's brother's wife). Similarly, there are four words for "uncle." One's mother's brother is 'IrneH and one's father's brother is tennuS. The husband of one's mother's sister is 'IrneHnal, and the husband of one's father's sister is tennuSnal.

Now on to "cousin." The child of one's tennuS or one's me' is called a tey', while the child of one's 'IrneH or one's 'e'mam is called a lor. But these words are also used for "nephew" and "niece." A man will use tey' to refer to the child of his brother and lor to refer to the child of his sister, while a woman uses these terms the other way around: tey' is the child of her sister and lor is the child of her brother. To specify gender, loD "male" and be' "female" are added: tey'loD and lorloD mean "nephew, male cousin"; tey'be' and lorbe' mean "niece, female cousin."

If it is necessary to make a distinction between a nephew/niece and a cousin, one simply describes the relationship. For example: loDnI' puqloD "brother's son, nephew" me' puqbe' "mother's sister's daughter, aunt's daughter, cousin." Unless specifically distinguishing between two individuals or explaining exactly how one is related to someone else, however, tey' and lor are much more common.

(Maltz speculated that there may be some connection between the noun tey' "cousin, nephew, niece" and the verb tey' "confide," since, at least according to Maltz, one tends to be closer to, and therefore more likely to confide in, one's tey' than one's lor.)

In addition to the specific terminology referring to cousins and siblings' offspring, there are four words that are more general in scope.

yur is used for a more distant cousin or niece or nephew. This would include second cousins, grandnephews, and the like. yur is not used to refer to a lor or a tey', though the plural yurpu' may be used to refer to a group consisting of a lor or tey' or two along with some other, more distant relatives.

vIn, in its plural form vInpu', is used for a group consisting of at least one lor and at least one tey' and no one who is not a lor or a tey'. Thus vInpu' may be translated "cousins, nieces, nephews." If it's not a mixed group, then, of course, the plural forms of lor and tey' would be used (lorpu', tey'pu'). vInpu' might also be used if the speaker is unsure about the makeup of the group (but sure enough to know that vInpu' is a better choice than yurpu'). The singular form, vIn, is also sometimes used in place of lor or tey' when focusing on the vIn as a member of a group of vInpu' as opposed to his or her specific relationship to the speaker.

'e'nal refers to someone who married into the family, but does not specify the exact relationship.

tuqnIgh is used to refer to any member of a house. Thus, qeng tuqnIgh is "a member of the House of Kang," and tuqnIghwI' is "a member of my house."

While he was at it, Maltz offered several other kinship terms, but he made it clear that his list was not exhaustive (he left off words for "great-grandmother," "great-grandson," "great aunt" and the like). puqnI' is the word for "grandchild." If it is necessary to specify gender, loD or be' is added: punI'loD "grandson," puqnI'be' "granddaughter." Finally, there is a special word for "firstborn": ghubDaQ.

2. Basic math

Maltz also explained how to talk about simple arithmetic functions, specifically addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. There are several ways of talking about such things, but the most common involves using the verbs boq "ally with, form an alliance with" and chen "take form."

Examples should make the usage of these words clear.

(a) Addition

"4 + 3 = 7" would be wej boq loS; chen Soch (literally, "four allies with three; seven forms"). It is also possible to reverse the two numbers being added: loS boq wej; chen Soch.

Note that in these mathematical constructions, the numbers, even those higher than "one," are considered singular from a grammatical point of view. One says wa' boq cha'; chen wej "2 + 1 = 3" (two allies with one, three forms"), not wa' luboq cha'... That is, the prefix lu-, indicating a third person plural subject and third person singular object, is not used. The subject ("two" in the example) is considered singular.

(b) Subtraction

For subtraction, the suffix -Ha' "undo" is attached to boq producing boqHa', literally "dis-ally" or "dissociate from." Thus "4 - 3 = 1" would be loS boqHa' wej; chen wa' (literally, "three dissociates from four, one forms").

When subtracting, the subject and object cannot be reversed without changing the equation. wej boqHa' loS would be "3 - 4" and the answer would be a negative number (a concept Maltz wanted to postpone for another time). [negative numbers were explained at qep'a' 2019.]

(c) Multiplication

In Klingon, multiplication involves a number allying with itself. Thus, the suffix -'egh "oneself" is used: boq'egh "ally with oneself." It is the necessary to specify how many times this alliance occurs.

For example, "2 x 3 = 6" would be cha'logh boq'egh wej; chen jav ("twice, three allies with itself, six forms"). The multiplier and multiplicand may be reversed: wejlogh boq'egh cha' ("3 x 2," "three times, two allies with itself").

(d) Division

Paralleling multiplication, division in Klingon involves a number dissociating from itself a specific number of times. The verb used is boqHa''egh "dis-ally from oneself, dissociate from oneself," containing both -Ha' "undo" and -'egh "oneself."

For example, "6 / 3 = 2" is wejlogh boqHa''egh jav; chen cha' ("three times, six dissociates from itself, two forms"). Reversing the dividend and the divisor changes the equation. javlogh boqHa''egh wej would be "3 / 6" and the answer would be a fraction (another topic Maltz didn't want to get into). [fractions were explained at qep'a' 2019.]

See also

External links

Category: Canon    Latest edit: 05 Oct 2021, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 28 Sep 2021 by KlingonTeacher
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