[tlhIngan Hol] “What color is it?”

Daniel Dadap daniel at dadap.net
Sun Mar 10 18:32:55 PDT 2019

Sometimes my six-year-old joins me when I’m chatting with other Klingonists on a Discord ghogh qepHom. He doesn’t speak Klingon, but he can produce an amusing imitation of Klingon speech sounds. He also sometimes enjoys hearing people speak it and he enjoys asking questions and having me translate the questions into Klingon and their answers into English. (I think some of the beginners on the ghogh qepHommey also enjoy it when he’s on there, since they can check their understanding against the translations I do of what people are saying for his benefit.) His questions aren’t particularly interesting, usually “Daq DaDabbogh yIngu'”, “puqpu' Daghaj'a'?”, “puH Duj DaSeDbogh yIDel”, etc. Usually when he asks people about their cars, the color of the car is part of the answer, but recently it wasn’t, so he had a follow up question of “what color is it?”

My first instinct on how to ask that question was “chay' nguv?” However, after I asked it that way, I immediately thought to myself that maybe that is asking about the means by which the car is colored (e.g. laSvarghDaq lunguvmoHpu' nguvmoHmeH qoqmey”) rather than its current state of coloration. So I reasked as “Doq'a'? SuD'a'? chIS'a'? qIj'a'?”

I’m not very satisfied with either of those ways of asking what color something is, the first because I think it might actually be asking something else, and the second because asking four yes/no questions isn’t really the same as asking somebody to pick one of four choices (or a choice not covered by any of those four.) Besides, somebody could snarkily answer “HIja'” or “ghobe'” to the second way of asking and move on.

Does anybody have any better ideas?

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