[tlhIngan Hol] {yInSIp} and {voQSiP} (oxygen and nitrogen)

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Mon Oct 5 07:22:16 PDT 2020

Another lexicalized {SIp} noun is {julSIp} “helium” from qepHom 2015.  Examples of how such nouns have been used:

  nIn: rugh bIQSIp
  Fuel - Anti Hydrogen. (KBoP Poster)

  nIn: bIQSIp 'ugh
  Fuel - Deuterium Isotope. (KBoP Poster)

[Both types of fuel are listed on the poster?  For both the warp and impulse drives?]

  yoq yIn yuQ 'oH Qo'noS'e'.  yInSIp voQSIp je ngaS muDDaj.
  Qo'noS is a class-M planet with an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. (S27)

  cha’ bIQSIp HeySelmey, wa’ yInSIp HeySel je yugh bIQ ’o’rIS.
  The water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen
   atom.  (Lieven, OK'd by MO at qepHom 2015)


From: tlhIngan-Hol <tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org> On Behalf Of SuStel
Sent: Sunday, October 4, 2020 1:55 PM

On 10/4/2020 12:19 PM, SCOTT wrote:

I have learned that {yInSIp} is "oxygen" and {voQSIp} is "nitrogen." Naturally, I looked up {SIp} and found that it means "gas."

It would seem, then, that these words refer to the elements in their gaseous states. Today, though, Duolingo gave me {voQSIp taD} as "frozen nitrogen."

I believe that frozen nitrogen is nitrogen in its solid state. That would make {-SIp} superfluous, and I would expect it to be {voQ taD}.

Do elements that have a gaseous state retain {-SIp} regardless of the element's state? Would it always be something like "frozen oxygen gas" and "frozen nitogen gas"?

When Okrand shoves words together to create new complex nouns, it's a clear sign that the word has been lexicalized this way and is considered a fixed word. We have no information about solid or liquid forms of yInSIp or voQSIp, so we must assume that their English glosses are correct and relatively complete. The glosses of yInSIp and vOQSIp don't say anything about referring only to gasses beyond a guessed etymology, so we have no reason to suppose they only refer to gasses.

We could, if we wanted, invent an etymology that supports any position. I might, for instance, say that Klingons discovered oxygen and nitrogen in their gas forms and named them with SIp, and when they later learned of their other physical states, the names were so entrenched that they just continued to use them.

But I just made that up. We don't really know. Maybe Klingons have separate words for solid oxygen and nitrogen. Maybe they just switch SIp with lep. We don't know.

Anyway, nobody complains if someone says frozen water in English. We say water vapor without blinking. For all we know, yInSIp taD is exactly as acceptable.



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