[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: ghap

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Mon Apr 30 06:53:56 PDT 2018

Klingon word: ghap
Part of speech: conj
Definition: or, either/or (joining nouns)
Source: TKD

(TKD 55):  The conjunctions joining nouns come after the final noun.

(KGT 139):  When it comes to grammar, the younger generation is innovative as well. One of the more noteworthy characteristics of their speech is the placement of conjunctions joining nouns ({je}, and; {joq}, and/or; {ghap}, either/or). In standard Klingon grammar, the conjunction follows the last noun of the conjoined set; for example, {naQjej 'etlh taj je} ("spear, sword, and knife"; literally, "spear, sword, knife and") or {tlhInganpu' romuluSnganpu' ghap} ("either Klingons or Romulans"; that is, "Klingons Romulans or"). Instead of putting the conjunction after the last noun of the phrase, younger Klingons are often heard putting it before the final noun: {naQjej 'etlh je taj, tlhInganpu' ghap romuluSnganpu'}. This is a common young person's error, and teachers seem to be constantly correcting it, with reasonable success. It is interesting to note that in earlier stages of the language (and the form of language still used in many rituals and in some forms of writing), at least under certain circumstances, the conjunction did indeed precede the final noun, meaning it was not always a mistake to use that phrasing.


DeS 'uS ghap 
either an arm or a leg (but not both) TKD

HIq qIj reghuluS 'Iw HIq ghap jab 
They serve Black Ale or Regulan bloodwine. CK

pung ghap HoS 
Mercy or power. [sic] TKW 

["It is noteworthy that the conjunction in the Klingon phrase is {ghap} (either/or), not {joq} (and/or). This implies that one must choose between mercy and power; they are incompatible." (TKW p.119)]

naQ megh'an 'er'In ghap yI'uch. naQ 'er'In megh'an ghap yI'uch. 
Grasp either end of the stick ("grasp the end or the other end of the stick") (HQ 12.2)

pagh 	or (else), either/or (conj. joining sentences)  [i.e. {ghap} backwards])

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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