[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: ben

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Thu Dec 3 07:29:44 PST 2020

Klingon Word of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2020

Klingon word: 	ben
Part of speech: noun
Definition: 	years ago, years old

cha'vatlh ben HIq vItlhutlh 
I will drink Two Century Old Ale. (PK)

loSmaH ben jIboghpu' 
I am 40 years old.
I was born 40 years ago. (st.k 12/12/1996)

vagh SanID ben buDbe' wamwI'pu'. 
5,000 years ago, hunters were not lazy. (st.k 11/1999)

cha' vatlh ben 
200 years ago (HQ 8.3:3)

nen rav:  chorgh ben 
AGES 8 to Adult  (MKE)

'op ben pa' Dab ngan 'ej chep 
It was alive and prosperous once. (PB)

wa’maH ben loDnI’wI’ 
My 10-year-old brother (Lieven < MO, qepHom’a’ 2016)

(st.klingon, 12/12/1996):  The word {ben} can be used to mean "years old", but in Klingon, one doesn't say "I am X years old".  The phrase {loSmaH ben jIH}, if anything, would mean "40-year-old me" or the like. It would parallel {cha'vatlh ben HIq} "Two Century Old Wine".  "I am 40 years old" would be expressed as: {loSmaH ben jIboghpu'}.  This is "I was born 40 years ago".  As is normal in Klingon sentences, the time element (in this case, {loSmaH ben} "40 years ago") comes first.

(IMO, HQ 8.3:3):  With longer time periods, such as a century ({vatlh DIS poH}), millennium ({SaD DIS poH}), or a period of 10,000 years (myriad, perhaps) ({netlh DIS poH}), the words {ret} or {pIq} may be used in place of {poH}, e.g., {cha' vatlh DIS poH} "two centuries", but {cha' vatlh DIS ret} "two centuries ago".  The phrase {cha' vatlh ben} would mean "200 years ago".  The choice of construction depends on what is being emphasized: in this case, the total number of centuries (two) or the total number of years (200).

Hebrew *ben* "son, child" as in *Ani ben X* "I am X [years] old" (males), *Hu ben X* "He is  X [years] old"? (Igor/Aryeh 2/2006)

N.B. Phrases like *{ben law'} "many years ago, long ago", *{ben law'qu'} "long, long ago", and *{ben puS} "not long ago" are sometimes seen on the Mailing List.

nem 		years from now (n)
ret 		period of time ago (n)
pIq  		period of time from now (n)

DIS 		year (n)
bogh  		be born (v)

[Feel free to mention any relevant vocabulary or usage notes from
 the last year or so. I’ve fallen woefully behind in updating my notes.]
Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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