[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: QI

Felix Malmenbeck felixm at kth.se
Wed Jul 28 11:15:38 PDT 2021

> PUN:  "Bridge Over the River Kwai"  (1957 movie)

I know this is the most widely recognized theory, but it's worth noting that the *lack* of a word for a bridge had previously been highlighted on the popular panel show "QI" (short for "Quite Interesting"):

Stephen Fry (2009):

"Do you know anything about Klingon? [...] It was invented by a man called Marc Okorand, or at least devised. It's rather difficult to have normal conversations in it. There are words for things like a transporter ionizing unit, which is a jolvoy', which you presumably knew... [...] Also, for the bridge of a ship, which is meH, but there is no word for a bridge that goes over a river."

Marc Okrand is certainly familiar with at least some of Fry's work. In 2011, the year before the word {QI} was revealed, the two collaborated on a couple of projects:

* Stephen Fry appeared in a Klingon mini-production of Hamlet put on by WSC Avant Bard, where Marc Okrand serves on the board. Scenes were included in Stephen Fry's Planet Word.

* Marc Okrand provided the phrase {peDtaH 'ej chIS qo'} to be recited by Fry in the Kate Bush song "50 words for snow".

I'm not saying the River Kwai explanation is wrong, but I wouldn't be too surprised if QI played a role, too.


From: tlhIngan-Hol <tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org> on behalf of Steven Boozer <sboozer at uchicago.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2021 5:24:00 PM
To: tlhingan-hol at kli.org
Subject: Re: [tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: QI

Klingon word:    QI
Part of speech:  noun
Definition:      bridge (over a river)

(Qov < MO, 8/2012):  The word for bridge (as in over a river) is {QI} (one of those weird vowel-final words). Maltz said that would apply to the kind of rope bridge you described (as well as more substantial bridges).

(HQ 12.2 p.7):  {qa'rI'} is also used for the end of bounded space which is seen as having length even if it is not enclosed space. Thus, it is used for the end of a road, the end of a bridge, the end of a long field. … On the other hand, if a bridge is under construction and lies halfway across a river or gorge or freeway, it may be said to have a {megh'an} (or {'er'In}).

(QeS, 7/29/2013):  … while we were travelling to Fort Mifflin, the topic of the new word {QI} ”bridge" came up in conversation in Lawrence's car, and I took the opportunity to ask Marc an associated question. Since we lack a verb for to go across in the sense of crossing a river, I've wondered for a while now as to whether {vegh} "go through" might be appropriate. When I asked Marc this, he explained that in order to sensibly talk about {vegh}-ing a bridge, the bridge would have to be covered over - that is, some form of {'och}. So basically, it seems that to {vegh} an object, the object must completely encircle the vector of travel. (Marc did also add that it need not be pedantically exact: a meshwork or cage-like object can also be {vegh}-ed, so long as the object is still essentially ring-like or tunnel-like.)

 (Lieven, 6/17/2021):  I'm not sure this ever was a question, but I just talked with Marc Okrand about the verb {vech} "cross, span" and got some useful information. In the definition given at qep'a' 2018, examples were a bridge crossing a river, but also two fingers crossing. In the case of the bridge, the verb {vech} does not really mean that the bridge makes a connection between the two shores of the river, it's more the image of having two lengthy things overlaying each other and touch (visually) in one point. (This means the bridge might even be a mile long and not connect the two edges of the river, but still cross it). | The way to use the verb is to say ‘A crosses B’. In the case of the fingers, they
cross each other, so you say {vechchuq nItlhDu'}. If you only say {vech nItlhDu'} the question comes: ‘what do they {vech}?’

  “Kahless fought off an entire army at Three Turn Bridge and he was only one man.” (Worf, DS9 “Let He Who is Without Sin…”)

PUN:  "Bridge Over the River Kwai"  (1957 movie)

meH              bridge (aboard ship) (n)

bIQtIq           river (n)
chIq             cross, traverse (v)
vech             cross, span (v)
vegh             go through (an existing opening) (v)

Voragh, Ca'Non Master of the Klingons
    Please contribute relevant vocabulary from the last year or two. I’ve fallen
    behind in updating my files and adding cross-references for related words.

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