Newsgroup message of October 20, 1998

Subject: Re: Just curious...


hospital terms, like surgeon, nurse, assistant etc.


Newsgroup: Klingon Usenet Forum
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 23:26:00 -0400


Though there is no question that medical services are sometimes necessary, Klingons have a feeling of uneasiness when it comes to anything associated with medicine. Furthermore, to a Klingon, finding oneself in need of the care of a doctor is often considered a disgraceful state of affairs.

Nevertheless, Klingon doctors do exist, as do various sorts of aides, but the division of labor in Klingon hospitals, sick bays, and the like is not quite parallel to that in the Federation. As a result, the vocabulary associated with medical practitioners is not quite parallel to its Federation counterpart.

The general word for "doctor" or "physician" is Qel. A doctor who performs surgery is a HaqwI' surgeon. The two terms are not mutually exclusive; that is, the same individual may be referred to as both a Qel and a HaqwI'. It is reasonable to say HaqwI' po' ghaH Qel'e' the doctor is a skilled surgeon (po' be skilled, ghaH he/she, -'e' topic suffix).

There is no single term for "nurse," as distinguished from "physician's assistant." Voragh's suggestions (Qel boQ doctor's aide, HaqwI' boQ surgeon's aide) are fine and both could be used. Qov's suggestion, QelHom, consisting of Qel doctor plus the diminutive suffix -Hom, is also an acceptable form (and is an excellent illustration of the diminutive suffix – the word means "not quite a doctor" or "lesser doctor" or the like).

Another word sometimes applied to the person a Federation patient might refer to as a "nurse" is rachwI'. The verb rach has been translated variously as "invigorate," "fortify," and "strengthen." Thus rachwI' (rach plus the suffix -wI' one who does) is an invigorator, fortifier, strengthener. When used in reference to a person, the verb rach suggests an improvement in health; when used in reference to an inanimate object, say, a mechanical device or the hull of a ship, rach also implies improvement or betterment.

rach is to be distinguished from tI' repair in two ways: (1) tI' is generally not applied to living beings; (2) tI' suggests restoration to a previous state, not necessarily improvement. rach is also to be distinguished from Dub improve, which seems to be used primarily when what is being enhanced is of a more abstract nature (as when one improves or increases one's status, skill, understanding, etc.).

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