[tlhIngan Hol] Words from The Little Prince

Lieven L. Litaer levinius at gmx.de
Fri Aug 31 07:30:48 PDT 2018

For your interest: The translation of the Little Prince into Klingon 
took me 14 years. That was not because it was difficult, but just 
because the Klingon language lacked so many words. Over the years, the 
new words filled in the gaps of the translation, until there was a point 
that it just needed a few more words to complete it.

Marc Okrand was so kind to talk to Maltz who was willing to reveal some 
new words. Note that there are a few that are not really new words, just 
Klingon spellings of Teran words.

 From "ta'puq mach - The Little Prince (klingon translation) ", p. 153-156

bewbeb – Baobab (a Terran tree) This is a very specific tree, so this 
Klingon word is borrowed from English. Maltz never heard of the thing 
and thought it was pretty weird-looking.

Daqrab – well. It's normally a water well, but it could be an oil well, 
assuming Klingons are aware of drilling for oil. If clarity is needed, 
one can say bIQ Daqrab. "Source" is not part of the definition. A Daqrab 
is constructed and/or dug.

DISjaj – anniversary. Maltz said there is a way (actually, several ways) 
to refer to an "anniversary," which he characterized as a specific day 
on which one recognizes or remembers an event that occurred a set amount 
of time ago on that same date. The "set amount of time" could be a year 
(what most people think of when they think of "anniversary"), but it 
could be another unit of time: a month or a week.

DISjaj: anniversary measured in years

jarjaj: anniversary measured in months (the three-month anniversary of 
starting a new job, say)

anniversary measured in weeks (the two-week anniversary of the day 
someone quit smoking, perhaps)

A one-year anniversary would be DISjaj wa' or DISjaj wa'DIch (Maltz had 
no preference). And so on. Maltz says that he's heard expressions like 
tupjaj, which is presumably an anniversary measured in minutes – the 
10-minute "anniversary" of someone not talking, maybe. He said this is a 
form of wordplay, not a "real" word, but people do say things like this.

Do'ol – sand. What you find in the desert or on a beach. Not dirt.

DI'raq – sheep. There's a fluffy, woolly, shaggy Klingon animal called a 
DI'raq, similar to a sheep. To distinguish, one can say tera' DI'raq the 
first time it comes up, but probably shorten it to just DI'raq after 
that. A male sheep, that is, a ram, is called DI'raq loD. It's two 
words. Kin terms (like puqloD and lorloD) are set terms, regular 
vocabulary items. For animals, Klingon doesn't have special words for 
male vs. female.  That is, English has ram (male), ewe (female), sheep 
(both/either), but Klingon has only an equivalent for sheep – no 
separate word for ram or ewe.  If it's necessary to specify sex/gender, 
it's done using the noun-noun construction.

Hovtej – astronomer / HovQeD – astronomy

Hov tut – telescope. Maltz says the most common way to say telescope is 
Hov tut.  He thought that was sort of an everyday or layman's term – 
maybe even slang – and that astronomers called it something else... but 
he didn't remember what that was.

moQbID – dome. This word is literally "sphere half" and is used in the 
story for a bell used to cover something.

pu' – horn. The horn of an animal, same word as the spike on a boot (or 
a spike in general). When clarity is called for, say Ha'DIbaH pu' or 
DI'raq loD pu'. The plural of pu' is either pu'mey or pu'Du', depending 
on the specific meaning of pu'.

qargh – be bulky, thick.

qeSHoS – fox. A Klingon animal that's kind of dog-like. They eat 
vegetation and also small animals and birds. Klingons, of course, might 
eat them, but mostly consider them pests.

quntej – historian / qunQeD – history science

ro'Sa' – rose (a Terran flower). Since there's no Klingon equivalent for 
a rose, and this word is a specific name, this variation of the 
Federation Standard word is used.

SaHa'ra' – Sahara (Earth desert). In Arabic, the sahara desert is called 
aṣ-ṣaḥrāʼ al-kubrá, meaning "the Great Desert." If the Klingon version 
came from Arabic, it would be something along those lines. But Maltz 
says Klingons got the name from Federation Standard, which is why it is 
pronounced SaHa'ra'.

Su'wan ghew – butterfly. This is not a literal translation for such an 
animal, but Maltz suggested this word, because he knows it for a flying 
insect with largish wings.

tom – tilt. Can be used for a head movement. [This verb is 
intranstitive, so if you want to tilt something, say tommoH]

tlhegh jIrmoHwI' – windlass (literally: rope twister/rotator)

yItlhHa' – lenient, indulgent. This is formed from yItlh be strict, 
severe, firm, stern, authoritarian.

yuQtej – geographer. yuQQeD – geography. The meaning of yuQ must have 
changed over the years. Now it means planet, but maybe it originally 
meant something else, something along the lines of place/location where 
we live.

'ughDuq ghargh – caterpillar. Maltz said this is a little squirmy thing 
that somehow turns into a Su'wan ghew. The 'ughDuq ghargh is not used to 
prepare qagh, by the way.


Lieven L. Litaer
aka the "Klingon Teacher from Germany"

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