[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: lurgh

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Thu Oct 21 08:05:58 PDT 2021

Klingon word: 	lurgh
Part of speech:  noun
Definition: 	direction (spatial)

The three cardinal Klingon directions are {chan} "area eastward/towards the east", {'ev} "area northwestward/towards the northwest" and {tIng} "area southwestward/towards the southwest".  

Imagine a Klingon trefoil {tlhIngan wo' Degh} tipped on its side, like an arrowhead pointing right:


{st.klingon 11/21/1999):  While the four main compass points used in the Federation (north, east, south, west) are distributed evenly (that is, they are 90 degrees apart from each other:  north is 90 degrees away from east, east is 90 degrees away from south, and so on), this is not the case in the Klingon system.  The three directions are not evenly spaced (that is, they are not 120 degrees apart from each other).  Instead, the areas associated with {'ev} and {tIng} are closer to each other than either is to the area associated with {chan}.  (The areas associated with {'ev} and {tIng} are something like 100 degrees apart from each other, and each is 130 degrees away from the area associated with {chan}.) 
    English words like east and southwest are, as noted, just convenient tags for what the Klingon words mean.  Since {chan} actually refers to that part of the landscape in the direction of the sunrise, east is a reasonable English counterpart.  The standard translations of {'ev} and {tIng} follow from the standard translation of {chan}. 
    But Klingon {chan} does not work the same as English east.  From the Klingon point of view, it makes no sense to say that something is in the east.  One can go towards the east, something can be to the east of something else, but nothing can actually be "in" the east.  No matter how far eastward you go, there's something still to your east.  Thus the awkward translations "area eastward, area towards the east" and so forth.  (And, of course, the same can be said for the other directions.) 
    These Klingon direction nouns work in the same manner as other nouns of location (nouns used to express prepositional concepts) such as {Dung} "area above", {bIng} "area below", and {retlh} "area beside, area next to". Thus, just as {nagh Dung}, literally "rock area-above" or "rock's area-above" is used for "above the rock", {veng chan", literally "city area-eastward" or "city's eastward area" is commonly translated "east of the city".  Depending on the sentence in which the phrase is used, the second noun in this construction (in this case chan area eastward) could take the locative suffix {-Daq}, as in:  {veng chanDaq jIwam} "I hunt east of the city".  The city in the east (actually, city toward the east) or eastern city would be "the area-eastward city}: {chan veng}.  Again, if appropriate, the locative suffix {-Daq} follows the second noun:  {chan vengDaq jIwam} "I hunt in the city in the east".

‘ev chan ‘ev  	north (Earth direction) (n)
  - 'amerI'qa' ‘ev chan ‘ev  	North America (GN)
tIng chan tIng  	south (Earth direction) (n)
  - 'amerI'qa' tIng chan tIng 	South America (GN)

chuq 		range, distance (n)
ghoch 		destination (n)
He 		course, route (n)
qIgh 		shortcut (n)

jey  		itinerary (n)
pu'jIn  		map (n)
Daq 		site, place, location (n)
Quv 		coordinates (n)

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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