[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: tera' yav 'atlhqam

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Tue Nov 2 08:39:41 PDT 2021

Klingon word:	 tera' yav 'atlhqam
Part of speech: 	noun
Definition: 	mushroom
Source: 	EuroTalk Talk Now Klingon

(KGT 92):  One way to bring fermentation about is to mix the food with a fungus (known as {'atlhqam}) usually scraped off the bottom of certain animals' feet, though it also grows on trees.
(Lieven < MO, qepHom 2017):  Technically, {'atlhqam} refers to a specific type of fungus, not fungi in general. But apparently it's a really common type of fungus (at least one commonly used in food) because it's the word the Klingons used when they encountered Earth mushrooms. As you know, the Klingon way to say mushroom (referring to a particular kind of fungus they found on Earth, not a Klingon thing) is {tera' yav 'atlhqam}. This suggests that although the typical {'atlhqam} is found on the feet of some sort of Klingon animal or on Klingon trees, there's another kind of {'atlhqam} that grows in or on the ground (this would be a {yav 'atlhqam}). And the {yav 'atlhqam} must have some similarities to the mushroom found on Earth (but not be exactly alike) so that they call the Earth thing by the name of the Klingon thing closest to it and we get {tera' yav 'atlhqam}. Apparently {tera' yav 'atlhqam} refers to any kind of Earth mushroom, and there are zillions. For all I know there are a zillion kinds of Klingon {yav 'atlhqammey} also. Anyway, if there are at least several different kinds of Klingon {yav 'atlhqam}, that word – well, noun compound – may well refer to different kinds of Klingon fungi. 
     Furthermore, since whatever grows on the animals' feet probably doesn't look at all like an Earth mushroom (though, of course, I could be wrong about this), I suspect the foot-bottom {'atlhqam} also doesn't look much like the Klingon {yav 'atlhqam} either. But they must have something in common; otherwise Klingons wouldn't consider the {yav 'atlhqam} to be a kind of {'atlhqam}. So {'atlhqam} (without the {yav}) seems to refer to lots of different kinds of Klingon fungi.
     The point of all this is that there are a number of different Klingon things and Earth things are all called {'atlhqam}. So even though, technically, {'atlhqam} is not a general term corresponding to English fungus or mycelium or anything like that, it seems to cover a lot of different fungus-like things. So, in non-scientific, everyday speech, it seems to function as a general term for fungus.

ngat ‘atlhqam 		a type of mold ("soft fungus") (n) (qep'a' 2018)
'atlhqam SIr'o'  		mycelial plane/network (n) (DISCOVERY)

SIr'o'  			network, web, mesh, lattice, nexus (n) (qepHom 2017 < DSC)

San'emDer  		plant (n) (qep’a’ 2019)
  - (qep’a’ 2019):  refers to an individual plant, typically with stems, leaves, etc. It is not used for fungi or algae.

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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