Newsgroup message of February 3rd, 1999

Subject: Okrand Speaks: Measurement


how measurements work


Newsgroup: Klingon Usenet Forum
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 12:36:23 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)


Based on the HolQeD interview, where Okrand mentioned that most units of measure had alternate forms with -'a' added to mean "9 times", so that one 'uj'a' = 9 'ujmey, William Martin (charghwI') wondered if -Hom would mean a ninth of that measurement. This is his response.

No. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

An 'uj is a unit of linear measurement, roughly 35 centimeters; an 'uj'a', or "big uj" ('uj plus the augmentative suffix -'a' "big") is nine times as long, or nine ujes, somewhat over three meters.

The Klingon measurement system is more like the British and American system in that the names of the units, for the most part, have nothing to do with each other (inch, foot, yard, mile, and so on). This differs from the metric system, where the names are basic units modified by a set of prefixes (meter, millimeter, centimeter, kilometer, etc.).

Thus the existence of a unit known as a "big uj" ('uj'a') does not mean there's a mathematically related diminutive counterpart (a "little uj," or 'ujHom)

Maltz did say, however, that he'd heard the term 'ujHom used in a story about a merchant lacking honor, something about the merchant not filling the order properly.

(also published to the mailing lilst:

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