Revelations of new rules inside paq'batlh

The paq'batlh, translated by Marc Okrand in 2010 for the opera 'u' and released at qepHom Saarbrücken in 2011, contains a handful of new rules and interesting constructions. Thanks to Agnieszka Solska ('ISqu') for collecting this information.

Marc Okrand mentioned that he didn't write some of the footnotes nor did he translate the chapter titles. He was flipping through the book when he stopped at a page and pointed at a footnote and said something along the lines of he hadn't seen that before or didn't remember seeing it before. One of this was the explanation of petaQ on p. 70. He then said that some of the non-Klingon parts of the text were not written by him, or were changed from his draft. The gist of it was that outside of the main body of the text, we can't assume that everything was written by Okrand.

Some of the questionable constructions were corrected and/or explain in the revised edition 2021. Those were removed from this page.

Note: Punctuation has been added for easier reading. There in no punctuation in the Klingon text of paq'batlh.

New words and expressions

For an entire list of new vocabulary released in paq'batlh, see new words released at qep'a' 18.

QBV or qeylIS bov nubwI' before the era of Kahless (p. xiv)

QIch lut narrator style (a type of literary style) (p. xvii) This word is spelled Qich'lut both in the 1st and 2nd editions. It's an ancient word, so the weird spelling with the apostrophe is intentional.

jachwI'na' "true screamer", Master of the Scream, the traditional narrator role in Klingon opera (p. xvii)

may' ghe'naQ battle opera (a type of Klingon opera (p. xix)

QB or qeylIS bov the era of Kahless (p. xxi)

New uses of known words

The use of the word ghal as a noun was an error. Okrand has confirmed it's an error, and It was fixed in the second edition.

De'vID asked Okrand about this at the 10th qepHom'a' in 2011. He said that he didn't remember supplying the Dramatis Personae (so it might have been compiled by someone else after the main text was finished), but he took responsibility for not catching the error during final proofreading. (So if someone is worried that ghal might be canonised as a noun meaning "envoy", you can relax; Okrand has said it's an error.)

'opleS n. one day

qeylIS loDnI' 'opleS chovan.
One day, brother Kahless, You will bow for me.
(pp 58-59)

wa'DIch num. first, used as a time stamp
(pp 103, 149, 182; also revealed by Okrand at qep'a' 17)

wa'DIch Hegh moratlh
First, Morath fell
(pp 148-149)

This makes the controversial fragment in the anthem taHjaj wo' perfectly legitimate:
'ach Heghmaj yIpIHQo' ghaytan wa'DIch jagh'e' wIHeghmoHmo'

bI'reS n. first, used as a time stamp

bI'reS qeylIS vaq molor.
First, Molor taunts Kahless.
(pp 140-141)

je should not be interpreted as meaning "even", as it was translated in this English line. The sentence means literally "you are also not safe in a tower" but "even in a tower" is just a more natural phrasing in English.

chalqachDaq bIQaDbe' je.
Even in a tower you are not safe.
(pp 158-159)

mI' number (of), quantity

tlhInganpu' Hem mI' nIb
an equal number of proud Klingons (p. 119)

unobvious words and phrases

nuH'e' qengbogh mangghomvam
luDel 'e' ra' molor
lujang maS'e' loQ So'be'bogh QIb lurur
Molor asks them
What weapons this army carries,
They reply, shaped as the crescent moon.

SaD law' thousands (pp 170-171)
➞ this was cleared at qepHom 2019: This form is okay. You can not say SaDmey or vatlhmey etc.

quqtaHvIS wanI'vam at the same time (pp 139-140)

bIHeghqu' You will die well (pp 142-143)

ghu' Dachupbogh (your) proposal (pp 144-145)

Verb used as nouns?

puj n. weakness; This is confirmed now. See the entry in the wiki dictionary: puj

nItebHa' molor HI''a' SuvvIpghach puj je HarghmeH yeq chaH
United to do battle together! Against fear and against weakness!
(pp 118-119)

The sections of the book are called paq'yav, paq'raD, and paq'QIH. yav and QIH exist as nouns, but raD is a verb only (AFAIK). But perhaps book or chapter titles do not follow normal grammatical rules. The incorrect use of the apostrophe in those book names show that these are an old klingon spelling.


'Ip pab keep a promise (pp 59-60)
puq qeng carry a child (of a pregnant woman) (pp 184-185)
X San chenmoH decide the fate of somebody/something (pp 166-167)
ghu' chup make a proposal (pp 144-145)

Seemingly illegal structures

1. N-suffix 5 N

The rule spelled out in TKD 3.4. is: "When the noun-noun construction is used, only the second noun can take syntactic suffixes (Type 5)".

In "paq'batlh" there are two fragments that go against this rule:
qamchIyDaq 'uQ'a'
The Feast at Qam-Chee
(pp 126-127)

SaqSubDaq chegh
Return to the Saq'sub
(pp 118-119, 202-203)

Both of these chapter headings are wrong, and the -Daq was removed from both of them in the 2nd edition.

2. Verb-suffix 7 + jaj

The rule spelled out in TKD 3.4. is: "When it (i.e. -jaj) is used, there is never a Type 7 aspect suffix.".

We've seen many examples that go against this rule. paq'batlh contains (at least) two more:

Hochlogh Dat joqtaHjaj
May it beat forever, anywhere.
(pp 102-103)

reH batlh SuvtaHjaj ghaH
Let endless battle and honor await him!
(pp 186-187)

The combination -taHjaj is okay under certain circumstances, as De'vID wrote to the mailing list.

3. vegh in the sense of "traverse"

According to HolQeD 6:3, pp. 5-8, the word only means to go through an opening of some sort, such as an open door or a tunnel, and it explicitly does not mean "to traverse" so, for instance, it cannot be used to translate such sentences as "A woman goes through a forest."

In "paq'batlh" there is a sentence that does not follow this rule, unless we agree that the river flowing through Gre'thor may be perceived as some kind of passageway:

ghe'tor vegh Duj
The barge went through Gre'thor
(pp 190-191)

The usage of vegh is actually fine in ghe'tor vegh Duj, for poetic reasons. At the beginning of the chapter "Kortar Creates Sto-vo-kor" Suto'vo'qor chenmoH qortar, Kahless reunites with his father and brother, and the three set sail over the River of Blood to Gre'thor, "or so Kahless thought". Then it talks about the creation of Sto-vo-kor, and how the Barge of the Dead traveled there. Finally, it says "The barge went through Gre'thor / Into the gates of Sto-vo-kor" ghe'tor vegh Duj / Suto'vo'qor lojmItmey 'el Duj. What the passage describes is the Barge of the Dead sailing on the River of Blood, seemingly to Gre'thor, but actually arriving at Sto-vo-kor. vegh doesn't mean "traverse" in the sense of going through a forest or the like, and ghe'tor vegh Duj doesn't mean that the Barge sailed from one end of Gre'thor to the other, which is not what it does in the passage. What ghe'tor vegh Duj means is exactly that: the Barge went through Gre'thor as if it were a gate or opening only, and arrived at Sto-vo-kor.

Comparing adverbs

There is a line in the book possibly indicating how to compare adverbs:

nom leng Hun nom lengqu' lut
Stories travel faster than a khrun
(pp 130-131)

The English translation is not a literal one, and only expresses the same idea.


batlh naDev SuDab - Welcome to this place (pp 104-105)

Perhaps depending on the context the English expression "Welcome" could be translated as batlh naDev bIpaw, batlh naDev SuSuch, etc.

So should you

(...) vaj choDanIS (I've done something) and so should you.

I have kept my word of honor, And so should you, jIlay'ta' 'ej batlh jIpabta' vaj choDanIS (pp 150-151, 186-187)

I wonder if we can use Da to express the English "So do you/So does he/etc." constructions:

I eat meat and so does he. ??Ha'DIbaH vISop vaj/(?'ej) muDa.

Speak to someone about something

How do you make of the following line?

quv HIja'chuqQo'
Don't speak to me of honor
(pp 156-157)

➞ This sentence was an error and will be changed in the 2nd edition.

See also

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