[tlhIngan Hol] missing words from kli's "new words not in the original lexicon"

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Fri Oct 25 09:03:38 PDT 2019

On 10/25/2019 10:43 AM, Lieven L. Litaer wrote:
> it is true that we are the people who invented the term of canon and
> definied that it's all spoken or written by Okrand. Marc Okrand
> sometimes makes a small mistake while speaking Klingon, and thn
> immediately says "oh no, that's not a word". But if somebody asks "What
> is the word for X?" and he answers with an entire email explaining the
> word, it can definitely be seen as a canon word, such as happened with
> the word {wI'qIy}. Saying that this word should not be in the list
> because it's a borrowed word, would eliminate many others, like the
> country names, food names and several animals.

Voragh has reposted the note. Okrand didn't send an entire email 
explaining the word; he sent a paragraph describing how Klingon doesn't 
have its own word for /wiki,/ but transliterates the word we're familiar 
with. (He's probably playing off the idea that /wiki/ isn't an English 
word either, but a transliteration of a Hawaiian word, but in English it 
has become a word of computer jargon.)

I haven't opined on whether *wI'qIy* or *qabpaq* should be on the new 
words list, but I did point out already that all of our word lists, 
including Okrand's own, are inconsistent in the treatment of proper 
nouns. Excluding *wI'qIy* or *qabpaq* doesn't necessarily force the 
exclusion of, say, *'epIl naH* or *DoyIchlan.*

The problem lies in the question of what the purpose of these lists is. 
Is it to catalog every canonical word? Then all lists are woefully 
inadequate. Where is the name *Qugh* on any of these lists? Why do the 
names *torgh* and *matlh *appear on the KLI list but not *Qugh* or 
*vIqSIS**?* Or is the point of the list to provide a list of actual 
Klingon words? Then none of these names belong.

Neither the KLI nor Okrand has ever been particularly careful about 
defining what should go in a list. This is something dictionary 
compilers have to deal with all the time. Sure, a word is known in the 
general population, but does everyone consider it a lexicalizable word 
or just a transitory one? Is it something formally recognized by 
grammarians or just something that pops up now and then? Language is 
messy and doesn't lend itself to easy categories.

> Talking about {qabpaq}, we may sure argue if that word makes sense
> because this was only a personal message to somebody, but still, MO did
> use the word. In addition, this is not really a new words, it's a
> compound noun that we should use.

There's yer problem right there. "Should use." Okrand did not prescribe 
the use of *wI'qIy**;* he said it's just a Klingon pronunciation of a 
Federation thing that Klingons use from time to time. Okrand is 
describing, not prescribing.

> If Okrand uses a word, and even writes it down, it surely is canon.
> That's what we decided many years agom.

Yes, but "canon" does not mean "should use." He gave us a very specific 
and emphatic warning that *wI'qIy* is /not/ a Klingon word, but a 
Klingon pronunciation of an English word.

Again, I have not opined on whether these words /should/ be included in 
the word list; I am only interested in more clearly defining the issue.


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