[tlhIngan Hol] {qempa'QeH} is a fossilised form

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Fri May 27 04:10:24 PDT 2022

On Fri, 27 May 2022 at 12:18, D qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:

> 'oqranD:
> > The word doesn’t refer to an individual,
> > but to a unique group, the “proudest spirits of Gre’thor”
> If someone was to include {qempa'QeH} in his dictionary (and yes that
> someone is me), should he use "proudest spirits of Gre’thor", or
> "enraged spirits of Gre’thor"?

Within the paq'batlh itself, the translation given in the introduction is
"Qempa'keh" [sic], "the Warriors of the Dead". (Within Klingon text, the
word is spelled {qempa'QeH}, but in English, it's transliterated as
"Qempa'keh" using whatever weird system the Federation uses to
transliterate Klingon names. This convention is kept in the 2nd edition.)

They are described as the "proudest spirits of Gre'thor" and "the enraged
ancestral spirits populating Gre'thor" in their first appearance.

{qempa'QeHlI' tIghommoH / ghe'torDaq qa'pu'vam Hem law' Hoch Hem puS}
"Assemble your Qempa'keh / The proudest spirits of Gre'thor!"

A footnote on this sentence reads: "The Qempa’keh ({qempa’QeH}) are the
enraged ({QeH}) ancestral spirits ({qempa’}) populating Gre’thor."

So I would put the definition as "Qempa'keh, the Warriors of the Dead" and
explain in a note that they are described as "the proudest spirits of
Gre'thor" and "the enraged ancestral spirits populating Gre'thor".

> 'oqranD:
> > where the {qempa’QeH} of one universe encounter the {qempa’QeH}
> > of the other, so there would be two {qeppa’QeH}s. In that case, I’d go
> with {-pu’}
> Ok, hold on there. If the plural of {qorDu'} is {qorDu'mey}, then why
> is the plural of {qempa'QeH} {qempa'QeHpu'} instead of {qempa'QeHmey}?

{qorDu'} is normally singular (the plural suffix, of course, is optional in
Klingon). To explicitly make it plural, it would be {qorDu'mey}.

The way {qempa'QeH} is used in the paq'batlh, it's normally plural (without
an explicit plural suffix), because it's always used to refer to a group of

Note that {qempa'QeHlI' tIghommoH} uses the prefix {tI-}, not {yI-}.

There's also {nItlhej qempa’QeHwI’} "My Qempa’keh will be at your side."
Note that it's {nI-} and not {Du-}.

What I pointed out to Dr. Okrand is that, if the word {qempa'QeH} is really
just {qempa' QeH}, wouldn't the plural be the inherently singular
*{no'QeH}? (And, though I didn't explicitly say so, whether the sentences
should be revised to *{no'QeH yIghommoH} and *{Dutlhej no'QeHwI'}, since
{no'} behaves grammatically as a singular.) HIs response was that
{qempa'QeH} was fossilised and one wouldn't put a plural suffix on it,
despite the fact that it's always referring to plural beings.

When he was talking about the suffix {-pu'}, he was just inventing a
scenario in which one might hypothetically slap a plural suffix on the
word, like if you were talking about the Qempa'kehs of two universes, which
might be {cha' 'u'mey qepma'QeHpu'} or something like that. in the English
translation, it says "Kotar and the Qempa'keh" (not "Qempa'kehs"),
mirroring the Klingon. Hypothetically, if two universes met, you might
write "the Kotars and Qempa'kehs fought each other", adding the plural
suffix in both English and Klingon. But this is a scenario that one would
probably never have to be worried about, unless you were writing a story
about exactly tha tscenario.

This kind of reminds me of the way that you pluralise "fish" in (many
dialects of) English. The plural of "fish" is "fish", when referring to
multiple fish of the same species, kind, or grouping (however that's
defined). But if you were talking about two different kinds of fish
together, you would talk about "fishes".

"The Kahless and Aquaman of one universe summoned the Qempa'keh and the
fish, and likewise the Kahless and Aquaman of the Mirror Universe.  The
Qempa'kehs and fishes of the respective universes charged at their
other-universe counterparts..."

See, for example:

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