[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: Hay'chu'

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Mon Oct 19 08:20:12 PDT 2020

Klingon Word of the Day for Monday, October 19, 2020

Klingon word: Hay'chu'
Part of speech: verb
Definition: duel to the death

Hay'chu' chaH 
They duel to the death. KGT

They duel one another to the death. KGT

Hay'chu' luneHqu' vaj pe'vIl joqqu' cha' tlhIngan tIqDu' 
Both Klingon hearts beat, at their strongest, in lust for blood. PB

(KGT 67-69):  Dueling — that is, challenging someone to a fight, usually to the death, over a matter of honor — is a longstanding Klingon practice. The verb meaning duel is {Hay'}, and it may be properly used in such constructions as {Hay' chaH} (They duel), {Hay'chuq} (They duel one another), or even {'avwI' Hay' yaS} (The officer duels the guard). To duel to the death is {Hay'chu'} (literally, "duel perfectly"), and it may be used in the same contexts: {Hay'chu' chaH} (They duel to the death); {Hay'chuqchu'} (They duel one another to the death). 
     A duel is preceded by one party issuing a challenge to the other. This is expressed by using the phrase {qabDaj 'ang} (literally, "He/she shows his/her face", referring to the Klingon tenet that a warrior always shows his or her face in battle). To challenge someone to a duel, one will give the command {qablIj HI'ang} (Show me your face!), though this is often shortened to simply {HI'ang} (Show me!). When one does this, he or she is said to demand or require ({poQ}), a short way to say {qab legh 'e' poQ} (He/she demands to see a face). There is some nonlinguistic behavior that may occur along with or instead of the traditional phrases. To challenge one to a duel to the death, one hits one's adversary with the back of the hand ({chap}). If one is hitting someone for some other reason, such as simple enjoyment, one uses the fist ({ro'}). 
     The challenged party may agree to the duel by answering {vISo'be'} (I don't hide it) or the lengthier {qabwIj vISo'be'} (I don't hide my face). This person is said to {'angchu'} (show clearly), the usual shorthand way of saying {qabDaj 'angchu'} (He/she shows his/her face clearly). One accepts a challenge ({qab 'ang} [literally, "shows face]") in order to prove one's honor ({quv tob} [literally, "test honor conclusively"]). Though any perceived attack on one's honor may prompt one to issue a challenge, in one traditional form of duel, the goal is specifically for a man to win the favor of a women ({vuv be' 'e' baj} [literally, "earn that a woman respect him"]) by competing with another man. 
     There are a number of weapons typically used for duels, the most common being the bat'leth. When the parties are ready, a third party, sort of a referee, says {moq}, the signal to begin. The verb {moq} literally means "beat" and it is a clipped form of, perhaps, {vImoq} (I beat it) or even {vImoqpu'} (I have beaten it). In times past, one would hit something (such as a drum) with a stick to indicated the start of the duel; today, one simply says the word beat. 
     A duel ends, normally, with death. It is often the case, however, that one of the combatants will have been outmaneuvered and will find himself in a position from which he clearly cannot recover. Should this occur, he will probably shout out {baq}, a clipped form of {yIbaq} (Terminate it!). It is not normal in this context for him to shout out something like {HIHoH} (Kill me!), even though this is what he means.

  "The Klingon Empire has maintained a dueling tradition; they think they can beat us with swords." (Kirk, TOS "Day of the Dove")

  Being called a liar can only be met by killing the accuser in personal combat. However an honorable death in personal combat requires no vengeance. (DS9 "House of Quark")

  "I'm party to an actual human duel!" (Trelane, TOS "The Squire of Gothos")

Hay'  		duel (v)
vItHay' 		truthtest (n) KCD

HoH 		kill (v)
qaD 		challenge (v)
nalqaD 		mate challenge (n)

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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