[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: ghuQ

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Mon Aug 21 09:12:52 PDT 2017

Klingon Word of the Day for Monday, August 21, 2017

Klingon word: ghuQ
Part of speech: noun
Definition: poem
Source: qepHom 2016

(KGT 71):  "The set of lyrics to a song is termed {bom mu'} (literally, song word or song words)."

 (QeS < MO, 3/05/2017):   "With {bom}, there's always musicality. The music may be provided by voice alone or by voice plus a musical instrument (or other thing acting in that role). (Maltz wasn't sure of the word for instrumental music not associated with lyrics or singing, probably because this is less common than vocal music, accompanied or not. He'll get back to me, he says.) A {bom} could be melodious in the sense we normally think of it, singing perhaps accompanied by one or more musical instruments. Or it could be just rhythmic, perhaps accompanied by a drum of some sort. So, yes, a rap song is a {bom}. Rhythm (as defined by Klingons as only they can) is essential. A cheer at a sporting event or political rally is a {bom} (not just "Go!" or "Run!" or "Hooray!" but things like "Here we go, big team, here we go!" repeated rhythmically... and endlessly). [...]  A {bom}'s lyrics ({bom mu'mey}) need not rhyme, though they can and often do. (The libretto to the opera {'u'} has very little if any rhyming.
    "A {ghuQ}, on the other hand, may be rhythmic or not, and it may rhyme or not. The focus is on the words. It's more complex, of course, because a good poem uses words that are chosen for their affect when they come together. That's "rhythm" of a sort, I suppose, but not the kind of rhythm you can tap your foot to. A {ghuQ} is typically recited with no musical accompaniment. If there is music, the music doesn't necessarily (or even usually) match the {ghuQ} - it may complement it, but it's not the musical version of the {ghuQ}.
    "Sometimes someone will write music for which an already-existing {ghuQ} is the words. Then a {ghuQ} has become a {bom}. Or, more accurately, there is a {bom} version or adaptation of the {ghuQ}. If someone recites the words of a {bom} but does not sing it (someone like Shatner, maybe), that's a recitation of the {bom mu'mey}; it's not a {ghuQ}.
    "Generally speaking, a {bom} is something you sing and/or hear, but other than for scholarly reasons (or when you're learning the words), you're not likely to read a printed version of its lyrics (or music, for that matter). A {ghuQ} may be spoken aloud (and therefore heard), but one might also just read one."

(TKW 17):  "Poetry plays a prominent role in Klingon mating behavior. The female typically roars, throws heavy objects, and claws at her partner. The male reads love poetry and, as Worf put it, 'ducks a lot'." 

*Basai Master* is the name bestowed on Klingon master poets. They are known to be passionate people and their works bring them great respect among their comrades. (DS9 "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places").    G'trok was the author of the epic poem {lu qeng} "The Fall of Kang", required reading at Star Fleet Academy according to Sisko (DS9 "Second Sight").


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