[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: yItlhHa'

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Tue Mar 26 07:24:26 PDT 2019

(TKD 174):  This is an infrequently used, but nonetheless very interesting, noun suffix. <...> The suffix usually follows a noun referring to a relative (mother, father, etc.), but it could also follow a noun for an animal, especially a pet, and means that the speaker is particularly fond of whatever the noun refers to. It is strongly suggested that non-native speakers of Klingon avoid this suffix unless they know what they are getting into.

(KGT 198f):  Within the family, a child usually addresses his or her mother as {SoS} (Mother) and father as {vav} (Father), though it is not uncommon for younger children to use the words {SoSoy} (Mommy) and {vavoy} (Daddy). These are the regular words for mother and father followed by the suffix {-oy}, which indicates endearment. Most older children drop the {-oy} around the time of their Age of Ascension, though some continue to use it even after that, especially when addressing the parent of the opposite sex. By the same token, a parent may address a son as {puqloDoy} and a daughter as {puqbe'oy}. As with the terms for parents, the {-oy} form is seldom used past the child's Age of Ascension. Though almost always heard as terms of direct address (as in {Sosoy jIghung} ["Mommy, I'm hungry"]), kinship terms with the suffix {-oy} are occasionally used as subjects or objects of sentences, particularly in the speech of younger children. For example, a proud child may say, {SuvwI' ghaH vavoy'e'} ("My daddy is a warrior"). The word for husband is {loDnal} and that for wife is {be'nal}. Though there are occasional exceptions, for the most part, neither of these words... typically takes the suffix of endearment {-oy} (as in {be'naloy} ["wifey"]).

(KGT 201):  A bang pong is formed by attaching {-oy}, the suffix indicating endearment, to an everyday noun. Most of the resulting terms make very little sense to anyone not in the particular relationship, and none translates well. Some pet terms are based on words for kinds of food, such as {chatlhoy} and {'awje'oy}. Perhaps these words could be rendered in Federation Standard as "soupy" and "poppy" (from soda pop), though neither translation conveys the intimacy and intensity of the Klingon. Other terms consist of words for weapons plus {-oy}:  for example: {yanoy, HIchoy, tajoy, jorwI'oy}.  A third type involves body parts, Klingon or otherwise, as in {'uSoy, 'aDoy, pIpoy, pachoy}.  Another term based on a body part, {Ho'oy}, is one of the few that makes sense to a non-Klingon if it is remembered that {Ho'} is a slang term for hero, idol.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel Dadap

As for {bang pongmey}, I’ve often wondered how these are formed. We know they exist since there’s a word for them, but AFAIK we don’t know much about how to make or use them, apart from maybe using {-oy} or the additional type 8 you’ve referenced.

Are there conventions for deriving nicknames from full names? Simple shortenings like “Alex”, “Chris”, “Kate”, or “Pat”, suffixes with possible shortenings like “Andy”, “Davey”, “Jenny”, or “Missy”, rhymes and/or letter replacements with possible shortenings like “Bill”, “Bob”, “Dick”, or “Peg”? I’d especially be interested if there are some commonly known, not formulaically derivable nicknames like the Spanish language “Chuy” for “Jesús” or “Pepe” for “José”.

Or if {bang pongmey} aren’t based on names, what kind of imagery do Klingons favor for names of endearment? In English we seem to like sweet things: “honey”, “cupcake”, “sweety”, etc., it sometimes flora and fauna like “buttercup”, “bunny”, etc. Do Klingons endearingly call each other names of animals? Weapons? Foodstuffs? Furniture?

I suppose we’ll likely not get answers, but if anything like HQ or KGT ever gets started up again it would be an interesting topic to explore.

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