[tlhIngan Hol] expressing "bloodline"

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Thu Jul 29 08:40:32 PDT 2021

[Warning: This will wander from the topic somewhat, seeking to dig into Klingon culture and its relationship to its language — a beginning of discussion, not an authoritative pronouncement.]

Likely {tuq} doesn’t feel right for “bloodline” for you because “tribe, house, ancestral unit” is not a common cultural concept in English-speaking or Greek-speaking cultures. In Klingon, it is probably a more common concept than “bloodline”, in that I strongly suspect that for a Klingon, your example of "Gawran’s bloodline" would more likely be expressed as {ghawran tuq} than anything else. It might include people who married into the family or who were honorarily adopted into the tribe, but the tribal line is where the most common boundary tends to be drawn between “us” and “them” in Klingon culture, and it is defined largely along lines of descendants, with exceptions.

The sense is that, while less limited in number, it probably relates more to the seven Cherokee clans, though that system is matrilineal, and given the Klingon use of {tuq}, Klingons are likely either more patrilineal or perhaps they ignore gender and have a merit-lineal system, such that a {tuq} might be associated with women of merit as much as men. Two famous sisters come to mind…

The uncertain part is how Klingons do it beyond two generations. We lack sufficient exposure to know. Maybe a {tuq} is delineated by the most famously successful ancestor, and any new person of great accomplishment takes over as the new name a {tuq} refers to, just as a new emperor takes over as leader of Qo’noS, hence the drive to bring sufficient honor and accomplishment to your {tuq} to not merely live up to the name, but take over the name for your own descendants.

We can only imagine whether this means a new name for the pre-existing {tuq} or a bifurcation, with a new {tuq} for those aligned with the new head of the tribe and a continuation of the old {tuq} for those who are not descended from or adopted by the new leader. In other words, did the number of {tuqmey} freeze at some point in history, or does it continue to evolve, with expansions and extinctions? The latter feels more likely.

In other words, it’s good to win a gold medal at the Olympics for the country you identify with, but if you want your name to be remembered, it’s better to set a new world record. It’s good to bring honor to the name of your {tuq} but it’s better to become the head of a new {tuq} that claims greater accomplishment than the old {tuq}, but since the drive is to be in a most honorable {tuq}, you wouldn’t take over the name unless you were remarkably better than the ancestor your {tuq} was named after.

Bloodline tends to refer more to genetic lineage, which is important to breeders of horses, dogs and other show animals or racing animals, or perhaps labor animals. Among dominant races (like humans and Klingons), excessive focus on bloodlines (like British royalty and literally related European royalty), it tends to be perversely important, leading to inbreeding and related genetic illnesses and weaknesses that likely Klingons would find repulsive.

The focus on “blue blood” royalty in human cultures comes at the expense of Klingon virtues of honor and meritocracy (even if “merit” is determined by battle survival, perhaps excessively). 


charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Jul 29, 2021, at 8:40 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> charghwI':
>> How about {tuq}?
> ghunchu'wI':
>> What “sequence” are you feeling? If I understand the term “bloodline” correctly,
>> I think {nortlham} is the right word. Doesn’t it just refer to direct descendents?
> To be honest, since we don't use in Greek the word "bloodline" I can't
> claim that I understand the English word 100%. One could use in Greek
> this word, and given the right context I guess one could understand
> the desired meaning, but it would sound strange.
> To demonstrate my understanding of the English "bloodline", I'll
> describe how I came to learn this word:
> The first time I heard it, was in the title of "Hellraiser:
> Bloodline"; there, the word is used to describe this situation: in the
> middle ages there's a French toymaker, who creates a cube, and then
> the movie has to do with the direct line/succession of descendants
> starting from that guy.
> So, when I hear "bloodline", I understand "person A parents person B,
> then person B parents person C, then C parents D, and so on..". I
> understand a succession.
> Suppose now I want to say "Gowron's bloodline". If I write {ghawran
> tuq}, then I "feel" that this includes all the non-blood related
> people who married the blood-related descendants of Gowron.
> Now, true, I could write {ghawran nortlhampu'}, and this
> seemingly/apparently would focus only on the blood-related people in
> the gowron lineage. But I "feel" that writing {ghawran nortlhampu'}
> refers to a whole group of descendants being considered at once, while
> "gowron's bloodline" is supposed to make the listener focus on the
> succession of descendancy as in "gowron fathered A, then A fathered B,
> then B fathered C, etc".
> Anyways, perhaps I got this all wrong (since we don't use "bloodline"
> in Greek), so charghwI' and ghunchu'wI' , if you tell me that
> "Gowron's bloodline" is *exactly* the same with {ghawran nortlhampu'},
> then I'll be happy to accept it, since English is your native
> language.
> So, is it? As Americans, when you hear "gowron's bloodline", and then
> {ghawran nortlhampu'}, do you "feel" these two phrases to be *exactly*
> the same?
> ~ Dana'an
> klingon, bingon, no difference at all..
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