[tlhIngan Hol] can we apply {ngagh} to humans ?

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Wed Dec 18 06:42:47 PST 2019

Here’s what I have in my notes (omitting several years’ worth of speculation):

ngagh    mate with (v)

targhlIj yIngagh! yIruch!
Go mate with your *targ*! (PK)

AFAIK {ngagh} is not used in the paq’batlh.

(st.expertforum 7/1998):  Seems to me that the phrase that best fills in the blank (“I cannot be insulted by (a) [tribble f----r]”) is the one suggested a while back by both SuStel and Qermaq: {yIH ngaghwI'} (I'd leave the "a" in the English: “I cannot be insulted by a {yIH ngaghwI'}.”)  If this is translated as “one who mates with a tribble,” perhaps it sounds too formal or clinical (in English, not in Klingon) to function as a curse or insult. If it's translated “tribble mater-wither” or something like that, it has a somewhat better tone, but it's questionable English and therefore lacks punch.  But English isn't the issue here; Klingon is, and, unless I'm missing the point, {yIH ngaghwI'} should work.  I trust that, in the story, the Federation officer who utters the phrase is prepared for what the Klingon may do next.

(Holtej, [date?]):  In TKH [“The Klingon Hamlet”], the line “Get thee to a nunnery” was translated as *{ngaghQo'wI' nawlogh yImuv}.  Guido's endnotes translate it as “squadron of the celibate,” and further expound: “the closest Klingon equivalent of a monastic order, these were bands of warriors--of either gender--who dedicated their lives to fighting, to the point of refusing to mate."

nga'chuq             sex (i.e. perform sex, always subject) (v)

nItebHa' yIntaHmeH
   Sanchaj luqaD
   nItebHa' SuvlI'
ghIq QavwI'chaj DuQchu'
   qeylIS betleH
   chaHDaq SIStaHvIS negh 'Iw
Fighting side by side
   Against the odds
   For survival together.
Then Kahless’s bat'leth
   Pierced the last of them,
   Showered with the soldiers’ blood.
They mated,
   They mated,
   They mated.  [i.e. Kahless and Lukara, PB p.137]

(De'vID, 1/14/2014):  I also have a small tidbit of info regarding (our lack of) sex terminology in Klingon. Marc told me that the reason Maltz might seem like a prude is because he's trying to fit in with the culture he's found himself in. (We had a discussion on the grammar of {nga'chuq} because of the Stonewall campaign.) That is, in-universe, Klingons in general have no problems talking about sex and other bodily functions, unlike Humans, but Maltz is reluctant to talk about sex for reasons specific to himself. My out-of-universe interpretation of this is that Marc is constrained in what he can say about sexual terminology because he's required, or perhaps feels he is required, to keep the Klingon language "family friendly" -- at least to the degree that swear words "defy explanation", violence is kept at a Trek-appropriate almost cartoonish level, and "mating" is referred to only in the context of an institution which is somewhat like marriage ("She was my mate!") or in quasi-comical insults ("Go mate with your targ!"). I guess he also has to leave open the possibility that the Star Trek writers may later contradict whatever he reveals about this issue, since they have operated thus far under the same set of "family friendly" constraints.

(De’vID, 3/14/2016):   I had a chat with MO about {nga'chuq}. Informal chat, off the record, so not officially canon, but he confirmed that all participants are in the subject, which must be plural, and that the sex or gender of the participants don't matter. (That is, it differs from the English sex verbs in which the subject is the [active] giver and the object is the [passive] recipient. Apparently, everyone involved in a Klingon sex act are presumed to be equally active participants.)

(De’vID, 3/22/2019):  A discussion about {nga'chuq} came up on Facebook. Okrand confirmed this interpretation to me (that the subject of this verb must be plural, and are engaged in sexual intercourse with each other) in July 2013 when we had a brief chat about the Stonewall campaign.

lInchuq                share each other (v) (qepHom 2016)

(Lieven, 11/07/2016):  There is an idiomatic expression: {lInchuq} “share each other”. This is not a euphemism, but Maltz admitted it's a little risqué.  {lInchuq} (“they share each other”) means that they (whoever is being talked about) have a physical relationship of some sort. The phrase is general — it doesn't imply anything about exactly what they do physically. It also doesn't necessarily mean that they are doing something right now (at the time of speaking). The relationship could be relatively light (a little nibbling) or heavier (really biting) or beyond (Maltz thought that Terrans might find that part a bit risqué). As with other verbs with {-chuq}, the prefix has to indicate a plural subject and no object: {malInchuq}, {SulInchuq}.

Since Klingons aren’t as prudish as Humans, I seriously doubt they use euphemisms.  Worf certainly didn’t when he discovered that his anthropologist brother had married and impregnated an alien female:

“How could you mate with a Boraalan?!” (Worf to Nikolai Rozhenko, TNG “Homeward”)

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

From: tlhIngan-Hol <tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org> On Behalf Of mayqel qunen'oS

In klingon, does the verb {ngagh} apply only to animals ?

Can a man {ngagh} with a woman ? Or is it, that for sex between humans, only the verb {nga'chuq} can be used ?
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