[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: tlham

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Mon Nov 1 11:23:05 PDT 2021

Klingon Word of the Day for Saturday, October 30, 2021

Klingon word: 	tlham
Part of speech: 	noun
Definition: 	order, structure (societal) (slang)

(KGT 165):  The word {tlham}, literally meaning gravity, is used to mean order or structure in the sense of an ordered or well-structured society. In the same way that gravity holds one to a planet (or, in the case of artificial gravity, to the floor of a space vessel), the structure of a society holds its members in, preventing them from going off in all directions. In other words, it ensures that a society function properly by keeping it from coming apart. The word is used in phrases such as {tlham ghaj} (have gravity--that is, have structure, order) or {tlham Hutlh} (lack gravity or lack structure, order). A very well ordered society may be said to have {tlham'a'} (big gravity) or {tlham HoS} (strong gravity), while a society that is judged to be falling apart may have {tlhamHom} (little gravity) or {tlham puj} (weak gravity).

(KGT 110-111):  This phrase [i.e. {qutluch patlh} *kut'luch* rank] means "hierarchical structure". ... To determine one's place in Klingon society or to understand who has authority over whom, one must be aware of the {qutluch patlh} of the military, the government, the house with which one is associated, and so on.

 (KGT 38):  The Klingon military, of course, has a hierarchical structure of its own, with ranks and areas of authority spelled out explicitly. Various fleets and squadrons are loyal to various houses, though, as might be expected, the details of these alliances are subject to change.

(MO > Lieven Litaer, 10/24/2011):  … [Maltz] said he did know a word {Qur} that might be related, though it was difficult to translate. The best he could come up with was "structure" or "organization". He was quick to point out that this did not mean structure like a building is a structure, nor did it mean organization like an organization of people or even an organization of states. It means the way things fit together or the arrangement of the parts of something bigger.

tlham  		gravity (n)
tlham chach 	backup gravity (n)
tlham rI’gheS 	parachute (n)
tlhamchem  	gravitational field (n)

nugh 		society (n)
tayqeq 		civilization (n)
tIgh 		custom (n)

ngup  		authority, power, one in authority/charge, the power structure (slang)
  - (KGT 157):  Literally meaning "cape", this slang term is an example of metonymy, whereby one word (or phrase) stands for another with which it is associated. In this case, the leader of the Klingon High Council typically wears a ceremonial cape. The slang sense of {ngup} does not refer only to this position on the High Council, however, but to anyone in power or even to "the power structure." Someone unsatisfied with the status quo, a rebel, might be said to want to {ngup qaD} (challenge those in charge; literally, "challenge the cape"). Nonslang equivalents of {ngup} are {woQ} (authority, political power) and {qum} (government).

ngup'a'  	(the) Dominion (GN)

Voragh, Ca'Non Master of the Klingons
    Please contribute relevant vocabulary or notes from the last 
    year or two. I’ve fallen woefully behind in updating my files.

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