Newsgroup message of September 1st, 1997

Subject: Re: Casual?


A comment on the way Klingons greet each other, and on how to use the word nuqneH.


Newsgroup: Microsoft Network expert forum
Date: Monday, September 01, 1997 03:15 PM


Neal Schermerhorn wrote: > (1) Klingons do not make smalltalk. Therefore there is no word for Hello.
> If a Klingon approaches you and does not immediately state his business,
> you would greet him with nuqneH - that means What do you want? (Some use
> this as an all-purpose greeting - but I personally don't think it's meant
> to be that.) Sometimes Qapla' (Success!) is used as a salutation or as a
> greeting on rare occasion. But these are all really utilitarian language -
> if a Klingon did not really wish success on the other party, he most
> assuredly would not say Qapla'.

There's a bit more about all of this in the new book "Klingon For the Galactic Traveler" (pages 184-185), but I (and what it says in the book) agree with what Neal wrote.

It is not infrequent to hear nonnative speakers of Klingon use nuqneH "what do you want?" as if it meant "hello" or the like in exchanges such as:

Speaker #1: nuqneH

Speaker #2: nuqneH

No one steeped in Klingon culture would do this, however (except in some sort of a joking context, perhaps). To begin a conversation, just start! Or approach someone and wait for him/her to say nuqneH to you. If that person doesn't say anything, you probably don't want to talk to him/her anyway.

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