[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: mu'mey ghoQ

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Tue Jun 4 08:22:54 PDT 2019

Klingon word: mu'mey ghoQ
Part of speech: noun
Definition: slang, fresh words (mostly used by younger Klingons)

(KGT 35):  The primary difference between the speech of older and younger Klingons, however, lies in the choice of vocabulary. Younger Klingons describe some of the vocabulary used by their elders as {mu'mey Doy'} (tired words), preferring to use what they call {mu'mey ghoQ} (fresh words) or even {Hol ghoQ} (fresh language)... Perhaps "slang" is a good translation of {mu'mey ghoQ}. Some older Klingons incorporate some of the {mu'mey ghoQ} into their own speech, though some claim to not understand the {mu'mey ghoQ} at all (nor are they quite sure what the term itself means). Any visitor to a Klingon planet will undoubtedly encounter {mu'mey ghoQ} and should learn as many slang words as possible ahead of time in order to fit in easily and to avoid having to ask for explanations. New words are constantly coming into use, however, so some asking is inescapable. On the other hand, a visitor should be keenly aware that some Klingons use more slang than others, and some try to ignore the phenomenon entirely. To avert potential unpleasantness, the best tactic is to avoid using slang in conversation until someone else has first.

(KGT 142-43):  Except in formal situations, the speech of younger Klingons is apt to contain a fair amount of slang, or {mu'mey ghoQ} (literally, fresh words). Though the term slang can be defined in a number of ways, here it is used to refer to words used in colloquial speech in the place of or in addition to standard words. Choosing to express a concept by means of slang rather than a standard word or phrase is a way to show social identity. That is, using a common set of special terms marks the users as members of the same subgroup within the society. Such a subgroup could be occupational (such as artists or warriors) or geographic, but in the case of Klingon {mu'mey ghoQ}, the innovative vocabulary is used primarily, though hardly exclusively, by the younger generation. As with other aspects of the speech of the younger Klingons, many older Klingons, particularly those most resistant to any change in Klingon society, avoid using slang and deride its use. There are some older Klingons, on the other hand, who use slang quite comfortably, especially when communicating with younger Klingons. The disagreement about the status of slang is reflected in the terms used for "standard" or "proper" Klingon words. As noted earlier, those who tend to favor the use of slang often call standard words {mu'mey Doy'} (tired words). Those who dislike the use of slang, on the other hand, refer to standard words as {mu'mey qar} (accurate words).

(KGT 176):  Sometimes words or phrases are coined for a specific occasion, intentionally violating grammatical rules in order to have an impact. Usually these are never heard again, though some gain currency and might as well be classified as slang. Klingon grammarians call such forms {mu'mey ru'} (temporary words). Sometimes, {mu'mey ru'} fill a void--that is, give voice to an idea for which there is no standard (or even slang) expression; sometimes, like slang, they are just more emphatic ways of expressing an idea. A common way to create these constructions is to bend the grammatical rules somewhat, violating the norm in a way that is so obvious that there is no question that it is being done intentionally. To do this is expressed in Klingon as {pabHa'} ("misfollow [the rules], follow [the rules] wrongly").

  Examples of {mu'mey ghoQ} are given in the KGT chapter on "Language Change and Staying Current", under "Vocabulary: Slang," pages 142-167.

Hol Sar 		dialect (n)

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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