[tlhIngan Hol] mu' chu' chabal tetlh!

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Mar 21 10:11:24 PDT 2017

On 3/21/2017 12:45 PM, Rhona Fenwick wrote:
> ghItlhpu' SuStel, jatlh:
> > A kiss is not a bite. People saying *chop* as an equivalent to 
> /kiss/ drive me crazy.
> Though it's of course not a one-to-one equivalent, Marc was the one 
> who first used it.
> *HIchop, bang.*
> "Give us a kiss, love." (/Radio Times/)
> Clearly it's a rendition of the cultural meaning rather than the 
> physical action, but it does show that Klingons probably don't kiss as 
> a sign of romantic affection.

It doesn't show that at all. I acknowledge that Okrand used *chop* in 
place of /kiss,/ but he provided no context. Are we meant to take this 
as a completely literal translation, and *chop* means /kiss/ as well as 
/bite/? Are we supposed to understand that Klingons don't kiss for 
affection, but they do bite? Are we supposed to take this as a 
tongue-in-cheek translation? Are we supposed to conclude that Klingons 
bite instead of kiss someone beloved, but others might be kissed instead 
of bitten? To whom is this said? We don't know.

> taH:
> > I don't like hearing fan over-generalizations of what they've seen 
> on screen to
> > every aspect of a Klingon's life.
> Please don't assume my motivations.

I didn't say /you/ were over-generalizing. I was explaining the 
background of my dislike of using *chop* for a romantic or sexual kiss, 
and that background includes hearing people interpolating the tiny 
amount of culture information we get on-screen into an entire culture.

That said, I think you/are/ over-generalizing. You've got a concept of 
what Klingons would or would not do, and you're using that concept to 
justify the lack of a word. You might be right or you might not, but 
either way you're taking the very scanty cultural information we've got 
and generalizing it to an entire culture.

This is actually a problem with most alien races in /Star Trek:/ they 
tend to be painted, even by the writers, with very broad strokes. All 
Klingons are warriors (until they're not). All Ferengi are after profit 
above all else (until they're not). All Vulcans are intellectual (until 
they're not). This is the classic Planet of Hats problem. On the Planet 
of Hats, there's no room for a Klingon tenderly looking at his baby 
(until a writer wants to make a point, which just proves the rule).

> taH:
> > There was a great cover of /HolQeD,/ my favorite cover, showing a 
> Klingon man
> > holding a Klingon baby very close and looking down at it tenderly. 
> Go ahead and
> > tell me that no Klingon would ever do that, or that no Klingon doing 
> that would
> > ever press their lips to the baby.
> > Or is everyone thoughtlessly equating kissing with a sexual or 
> romantic act?
> Firstly, yes, a Klingon might well press their lips to a baby - but I 
> don't think a Klingon would press their lips to a baby *in a regular 
> and culturally constituted way that would justify developing a 
> specific and dedicated verb for pressing their lips to 
> something*. That's the distinction.

But what on-screen scene led you to that conclusion? What piece of 
Okrandian canon tells you this? Nothing at all: you're generalizing from 
the Klingon Hat.

> The closest I'd get to agreeing with you here is that a Klingon would 
> certainly nuzzle some part of their head to the baby's. And if 
> anything, in this context I think a Klingon would probably press their 
> *forehead* to the baby. We do know from canon that the forehead is a 
> potent symbol of heritage and of family for Klingons (KGT 28-29, and 
> the curse *Hab SoSlI' Quch* "your mother has a smooth forehead" from 
> PK), and that festive occasions are times that bring warriors to butt 
> foreheads to show camaraderie (KGT 157-158).

And those things have absolutely zilch to do with fathers showing 
affection to their children. You might as well claim that Klingons rub 
ice cream cones on their foreheads to demonstrate how delicious they are.

> And have you ever seen the Inuit /kunik/ or Māori /hongi/, methods of 
> greeting and showing affection that are performed by pressing noses 
> together rather than lips? The assumption that the lips are a unique 
> and universal site of expressing even non-sexual physical affection is 
> not just a human-centric, but an ethnocentric one and one that, in the 
> absence of any evidence, I don't believe we can fairly make about 
> Klingons either.

No, we can't! This is absolutely correct. So... how can you make the 
claim that Klingons DON'T kiss their children OR that they rub 
foreheads? You have no data.

> But the /Radio Times/ translation indicates that even if they do, they 
> probably don't care for doing it in *parmaq*.

Unless Okrand clarifies, one can be a *bang* without being a 
*parmaqqay.* *bang* is not necessarily romantic; *parmaqqay* is. And 
again, we don't know the context of the Radio Times quote. /Give us a 
kiss, love/ is something that an English person might say to a lover or 
a child or even a complete stranger. It does not automatically mean 
romance. We have no context.


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