[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: chan

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Tue May 10 11:30:00 PDT 2022

Klingon word: 	chan
Part of speech: 	noun
Definition: 	eastward, area toward the east 
Source: 	SKNG:22NOV1999

veng chanDaq jIwam
I hunt east of the city. (st.k 11/21/99)

chan vengDaq jIwam
I hunt in the city in the east. (st.k 11/21/99)

tIngvo' 'evDaq chanDaq jIlengpu'  [modern]
tIngvo' 'evDaq 'evvo' chanDaq       [archaic]
I've traveled all over the place. (st.k 11/21/99)

'amerI'qa' ‘ev chan ‘ev 
North America (qepHom 2016)

'amerI'qa' tIng chan tIng 
South America (qepHom 2016)

 (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". The city's east, meaning the eastern part of the city, would make use of {yoS} "area, district":  {veng chan yoS} (literally "city area-eastward district" or "city's eastward-area's district"). 
    The directional nouns may also be used with possessive suffixes. For example (switching from the east, for the sake of variety):  {'evwIj} "northwest of me" (literally "my area-northwestward"), {'evmaj} "northwest of us" (literally "our area-northwestward"). These words may also be translated "northwest of here". For example:  {'evmajDaq jIwampu'} "I have hunted northwest of here." 

(st.klingon 11/21/1999):
    There is an idiomatic expression still heard with reasonable frequency which makes use of all three cardinal direction terms:  {tIngvo' 'evDaq chanDaq}.  Literally, this means "from area-southwestward to area-northwestward to area eastward", but the idiom means "all around, all over, all over the place".  It is used in the same place in a sentence that the noun {Dat} "everywhere" might be used, but it is much more emphatic:  {tIngvo' 'evDaq chanDaq jIlengpu'} "I've traveled all over the place".  A more archaic form of the idiom is {tIngvo' 'evDaq 'evvo' chanDaq} (literally, "from area-southwestward to area-northwestward, from area-northwestward to area eastward"), but the three-word version (without the repetition of {'ev}) has all but totally replaced it." 

PUN:  China?  Chan Dynasty?

"USA qellu'DI', tIngseltown (LA) is in the southwest 'everett (Everett, Wash.) is in the northwest and chana (China) is far off to the east." (Qov, 9/01/2011)

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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