[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: ngaDmoHwI'

Alan Anderson qunchuy at alcaco.net
Thu Nov 18 13:36:09 PST 2021

On Wed, Nov 17, 2021 at 11:46 PM Ed Bailey <bellerophon.modeler at gmail.com>

> DaH may' bom pIm vIbom. The word ngaD, like jeD, has two glosses that are
> physically distinct: "balanced" meaning the forces and moments acting on a
> system cancel out, and "stable" that the system tends to return to a
> balanced state.

Most people would probably not use the word "balanced" to refer to an
object in an unstable equilibrium, even if the technical meaning applies.
There are sometimes appropriate reasons to be pedantic, but I don't think
this is one of them. When I think of someone balancing an inverted-pendulum
broomstick, the word "balance" is a verb expressing an action. The Klingon
verb {ngaD} is instead expressing a state or quality.

> This always bugged me, but it makes sense if "be balanced" is the basic
> idea of ngaD, and the word is also a short way to express "be stable."

I think of it the other way. My understanding would make "stable" the
fundamental meaning, with "balanced" to clarify that it's not talking about
something like a lack of tendency to decay. It's like a "stable structure",
not a "stable isotope" or "shelf-stable milk".

> If a Klingon scientist or engineer needs to be precise in describing
> stability as opposed to balance, he could say something like ngaD'eghbeHmoH
> "be ready to balance itself" or ngaDmeH Qo "tendency to be balanced." And
> of course a balanced system doesn't have to be stable. nItlhwIjDaq
> ngaDchugh Quj moQ, tugh pum ngaDbeHbe'taHmo'.

It's precisely *because* of that discrepancy between the technical term and
the colloquial one that I discount the technical meaning of "balanced".

-- ghunchu'wI'
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.kli.org/pipermail/tlhingan-hol-kli.org/attachments/20211118/ac2e7d14/attachment-0002.htm>

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list