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HolQeD Contests

One comes to the study of a language in different ways. Some are drawn by a fascination for the different, the other. Some are attracted by the intracies of a new system of rules, a new kind of grammar. But there have always been those who just enjoyed playing with words. For this last sort especially the KLI has sponsored a series of contests involving Klingon wordplay, issuing the challenge of each competition in the pages of its quarterly journal HolQeD, and proudly displaying the winners of each. Now, for your enjoyment and appreciation, we present the winners of all our contests to date:

The Great Affix Contest

Our first contest was a simple one: Simply compose the longest, meaningful three word sentence possible(1). This may sound confusing at first, but keep in mind that in Klingon nouns and verbs are not the simple things they are in English. Instead, each root word is colored and elaborated upon by a speaker drawing on a wide collection of affixes.

Our winner was David Barron with his submission of:

nobwI''a'pu'qoqvam'e' nuHegh'eghrupqa'moHlaHbe'law'lI'neS SeH'eghtaHghach'a'na'chajmo'
"The so-called great benefactors are seemingly unable to cause us to prepare to resume honorable suicide (in progress) due to their definite self control."

An honorable mention also went out to Will Martin's submission of:

be'HomDu'na'wIjtIq'a'Du'na'vaD ghureghqangqa'moHlaHqu'be'taH'a' Somraw'a'meyna'wIj'e'
"Is it not that my many, large, scattered muscles are quite capable of swelling for the benefit of the hearts of many scattered little women?"

The Great Limmerick Contest

The call for limmericks started in 1999, the winning result by Carleton Copeland was printed in HolQeD 8:4(2).

ja' be': qIvonlIj vaQqu' vImuSHa'
'ach bIr 'oH. ja' bangDaj: yIbuSHa'!
bIrchugh qIvon tuj 'Iw
'ach Dutojlaw'pu' lIw.
DaH 'oy'naQ vIchu'chugh bIQuch'a'?

The Great Knock-Knock-Joke Contest

At the qep'a' SochDIch, it had become a fun part to translate famous jokes into klingon, so this contest was started. The contest winner was Roger Cheesbro with the following lines(3):
wa': (knock-knock) naDev jIH
cha': SaH 'Iv?
wa': ghol.
cha': ghol 'Iv?
wa': gholob, pagh SuHegh!

The Great Economical Contest

The mission was to find a three word phrase as brief as possible, while its english translation may convey a very long content. Alan Anderson was the winner for this phrase: (4)
cha'Hu' jIlevchoHpa' jI'epta'
The day before yesterday, before I began to move a bat'leth from vertical to horizontal orientation, I had soup.

The Great Palindrome Contest

That first contest merely whetted the membership's appetite for wordplay and they eagerly embraced this next chance to show their skill. A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sentence that is spelled the same backwards or forwards. The one unusual stipulation was that the palindrome should reflect Klingon sound patterns and not the more arbitrary rendering of these sounds in the roman alphabet. Thus individual phonemes in Klingon which are written with multiple letters in the accepted romanization (e.g., tlh) were treated as single letters for our purposes.

Many members took up this challenge and we printed the best of the entries in our journal including Norvin Richards':

jIl moH ghajjaj jaghHomlIj
"May your little enemy have an ugly neighbor."

and Captain Krankor's:

vIt'e' naD lalDan 'e' tIv
"He enjoys religion praising Truth."

But the winner clearly was Russ Perry, Jr. with an entry that was pithy, wry, and right on target:

tlhab 'oS 'Iw HoHwI' So' batlh
"Blood represents freedom; honor hides the killer."

Later additions

These following lines were not part of the contest, but are just added here for fun:

'Iw rep per'a' rep perwI'?
"Does the hour labeler label the hour of blood?"

SoS'a' rep perwI' 'Iw rep per'a' SoS?
"Does the mother label the hour of blood of the big mother's hour labeler?"

batlh 'Iw muvmeH Hem vumwI' tlhab.
"The free worker is proud to join the blood of honor."

ghob 'ul jab 'e' SIv Hat, He nIv vIneHtaHvIS 'e' bajlu'bogh
"The temperature wonders if it serves the electricity of ethics, while I want the superior course, which one deserves"

(all of the above by Lieven L. Litaer)

'IrneH Hen rI'
"They hail the experienced uncles." (Andrew Miller, Apr 15, 2020 on Facebook)

ghom'a' Hat HoHtaH'a' mogh
"Is Mogh killing the illegal crowd?" (Jeremy Silver, Apr 16, 2020 on Facebook)

'Iw ghe'naQ HoH Qan'eghwI'
"The self protector kills the blood opera." (Jeremy Silver, Apr 16, 2020 on Facebook)

'Iw 'ar tlhutlh ra'wI'
"How much blood does the commander drink?" (Jeremy Silver, Apr 16, 2020 on Facebook)

The Great Holorime Contest

This contest was suggested by Andrew Strader, who would go on to be one of the two translators on the KLI's edition of Hamlet. A holorime refers to two or more phrases or sentences pronounced exactly alike, spelled with the same letters, but with entirely different meanings.

Honorable mentions included Peter Graham of New Zealand with:

Doch DIS jaw
Year's lord is rude.
Lord confesses to thing.
Be rude, cave lord.
Chatting cave is rude.

and Mark Shoulson's submission of:

Hu'moHQo' noSvagh
The deodorant refuses to make him get up.

Hu' moHQo' noSvagh
Days ago, the deodorant refused to be ugly.

Hu'moH Qo'noS vagh
Kronos 5 made him/it get up.

Hu' moH Qo'noS vagh
Days ago, Kronos 5 was ugly.

But even amidst such fierce competition "Duffy" Dobelbower's entry stood out, working on a surprising number of different levels:

juplI'Daq 'e' ghoSta'
He purposely followed that (previous topic) to your friend.

juplI' Daq'e' ghoSta'
He purposely approached the location of your friend.

juplI'Daq 'e' ghoS ta'
The emperor goes away from that (previous topic) to your friend.

juplI' Daq'e' ghoS ta'
The emperor goes to the location of your friend.

jup lI' Daq'e' ghoS ta'
The emperor goes to the location of the useless friend.

jup, lI' Daq 'e' ghoSta'
Friend, he went away from the site which is transmitting.

jup, lI' Daq 'e' ghoS ta'
Friend, the emperor goes away from the site which is transmitting.

The Great Insult Contest

Far and away the most popular of our contests, KLI members excelled at generating colorful metaphors from a Klingon perspective. Honorable mention went to Laura Thurston for:

romuluSngan Hol yIjatlh. He'So' QIchlIj.
Speak Romulan! Your accent stinks.

The winner however was Neal Schermerhorn with his thoughtful submission:

vavlI' quv Say'moHmeH nuj bIQ vIlo'chugh, nuj bIQ vIlammoH
If I use spit (mouth water) to clean your father's honor, I only dirty the spit.

Note: We have later learned the noun for "mouth water" (i.e. saliva) tlhepQe' and the verb for "spit" tuy', so that phrase would be much different today.

The Great Spoonerism Contest

It seems unlikely that the Reverend Spooner ever visited the Klingon Empire, but even so the verbal juxtaposition which has come to bear his name made for an enjoyable contest. In particular, Christian Matzke dazzled the contest judges with entries such as:

nov nay qoj neH
nav noy nej qoH
The cliff merely marries the alien.
The fool searches for famous paper.


rut lo' chav meb
lot ru' mev chab
Somtimes a guest achieves a use.
The dumpling stops a minor catastrophe.

However, the clear winner was his submission featuring intelligent dirt:

pu'chaj buSlaH ngotlhwI'
cha'puj ngoSlaH butlhwI'
The fanatic can think only about his phaser.
The dirt under my fingernails can melt dilithium.

The Great Zeugma Contest

Zeugma is a particularly strange idea to work with, referring to a word (usually a verb) being used two or more ways in a single sentence. Ironically, we were even treated to a bit of zeugma in an early TNG episode, "Angel One." Riker says, "You are free to execute your laws, and your citizens, as you see fit."

Of course managing a zeugma in another language is a bit tricky. Still Agnieszka Solska did it rather nicely with:

mo'Dajvo' pa'wIjDaq je narghpu' He'So'bogh SajlIj
Your stinking pet has escaped from its cage and appeared in my quarters.

The Great Pangram Contest

Agnieszka Solska's submission made use of the complete alphabet with a forty-three letter sentence, only repeating two consonants(5). majQa'!

qajunpaQHeylIjmo' batlh DuSuvqang charghwI' 'It
Because of your apparent audacity the depressed conqueror is willing to fight you.


1 : HolQeD 1:1 p. 20, March 1992 The Great Affix Contest

2 : HolQeD 8:4 p. 17, December 1999 The Great Limmerick Contest

3 : HolQeD 10:1 p. 16, March 2001 The Great Knock-Knock-Joke Contest

4 : HolQeD 8:1 p. 6, March 1999 The Great Economical Contest

5 : HolQeD 10:4

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