[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: Sen

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Mon Oct 8 08:17:53 PDT 2018

Klingon word: Sen
Part of speech: verb
Definition: use the thumb
Source: HQ:v10n2p7

nISwI' HIch Sen 
fire the disruptor pistol 
(HQ 10.2:8):  lit. "use the thumb in the way it's most appropriately used on a disruptor pistol", "use the thumb to activate the disruptor pistol", "thumb the disruptor pistol" 

Cf. also synonym {rIl} "use the thumb", more often used by children. (HQ 10.2)

SenwI'  		thumb (n)
rIlwI'  		thumb (n)

(HQ 10.2:7-8):  the word {nItlh} "finger" means any finger, including the thumb. A hand has {vagh nItlhDu'} (five fingers), not {loS nItlhDu'} (four fingers) and a thumb. There is a specific word referring to each of the five fingers, and these words are nouns derived from verbs by means of the suffix {-wI'} (thing which does); there are two pairs for thumb. The Federation Standard translation of the verbs is a little strained, but they mean something like "use (the specific finger)". The associated 'finger nouns' would be literally, though quite awkwardly, "thing which is used in a thumb-like manner" or perhaps "thing which thumbs" or even "thumber" ... The two sets of words relating to thumb are pretty much interchangeable, though small children usually use {rIl} and {rIlwI'} rather than {Sen} and {SenwI'}. Similarly, adults speaking to or about children tend to use {rIl} and {rIlwI'}. Both words are used together in an idiomatic expression meaning everybody, everyone:  {SenwI'Du' rIlwI'Du' je}, literally "thumbs and thumbs". This expression is often heard without the plural suffixes:  {SenwI' rIlwI' je}.

Lake Seneca, one of the Finger Lakes in New York state.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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