[tlhIngan Hol] difference between someone somebody and vay'

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Mar 30 10:14:23 PDT 2021

On 3/30/2021 12:27 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> At the core of this apparent difference in English, we simply don’t know almost nothing about formality in Klingon.
> One assumes that Clipped Klingon is not formal. One assumes that the honorific {-neS} is formal. One assumes that labeled slang is informal.
> That’s about all that I personally feel safe to assume about formality in the Klingon language, except where context suggests formality.

I agree with your estimations of Clipped Klingon, honorific, and slang. 
However, I think we know a bit more than that.

According to KGT...

The word *ra'wI'* can be used informally as a title for anyone who gives 
orders, but in formal situations you would use the person's correct title.

Young Klingons who usually speak with slang will still speak formally in 
formal situations.

Always speaking formally does not mark one as out of touch, just very 

The erroneous omission of *lu-* is usually overlooked, except in formal 

Ritualized speech that must be said a certain way and does not change 
with the language are, while they are still grammatical, considered 
highly formal examples of Standard Klingon.

A formal way to give someone's name is to state the given name plus the 
father's name, as in *tI'vIS barot puqloD* /(T'vis, son of Barot)./ It 
is also formal to name someone just as someone's son or daughter, as in 
*mogh puqloD.*

According to a newsgroup post, an even more formal way to state 
someone's name is like this: *qeylor qeylIn puqloD molor tuq*/Kahlor, 
son of Kahlin, House of Molor./

An even more formal way than that is to state *tay' qeylor molor tuq 
je*/Kahlor is from the House of Molor./

According to an email to De'vID, who was asking about plurals, *SuvwI' 
legh HoD SoH je* may occur in informal conversation, while in formal 
writing you'd need to say *SuvwI' bolegh SoH HoD je.* This was an 
example of adding new information while in the middle of speaking, so 
the prefix was wrong, but the speaker just went on. You wouldn't do that 
in formal writing.

According to another email to De'vID (I think), *lojmItjaj*/Saturday/ is 
used for more formal occasions than *ghInjaj*/Saturday,/ though the two 
words are otherwise interchangeable.

That's what I found simply searching my sources for the word /formal./ 
There is undoubtedly more when you consider synonyms.

> In the third movie, after Kruge had disintegrated his first gunner for blowing up a ship he was ordered to target “engines only”, and disobeyed to the point of saying that destroying the ship was just a lucky hit (probably an informal reply),

The reply was *bach Do', qaH!*/A lucky shot, sir!/ Just a noun phrase 
and an attribution, not a complete sentence. Seems informal to me.

>   I’m pretty sure that when he later gave an order to his replacement gunner and asked him if he understood (probably formal), that gunner’s reply, {HIja’ qaH} was probably pretty formal.

Both question and response were informal and mostly Clipped.

Kruge: *baHwI', DoS yIbuS, QuQ neH. yaj'a'?
*Gunner #2: *yajchu', qaH.*

> Also, Kruge’s “You will be remembered honorably” to Valkris was probably formal. Her bow while acknowledging that she understood was also fairly obviously formal.

Might be. I don't automatically assume that something heartfelt has to 
be formal. I don't agree that it's obvious. He does use complete 
sentence, but using a complete sentence is not necessarily done because 
of formality.

> Still, it’s situational more than choice of grammar or vocabulary that usually implies any level of formality, so far as I can tell most of the time. {qaH} is probably used formally, most of the time. There’s a hint there.

Nope. Used in Clipped sentences all over /Star Trek III./

> While some may be bothered by the “crap” about Klingon being an alien language, … well… it’s an alien language. Why are you learning an alien language if you don’t like dealing with crap about an alien language?

It's a constructed language for a fictional alien culture. As such, the 
only valid appeals to cultural issues within the language are those 
which call upon the fiction. And because language is usually tied so 
heavily to culture, one can be frustrated when others call upon cultural 
traits to interpret the language where those cultural traits don't come 
from the fiction that one accepts.


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