tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Aug 21 09:34:27 1996

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Re: 'I'


>Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 23:02:28 -0700
>From: "Donald E. Vick" <>

>> Wow!  That's the second-most interesting method of citing canon, next to
>> {'I'}.
>> Nothing will beat {'I'}, I'm sure.
>lutvam yIja'neS. qep'a'Daq vIghoSlaHbe'pu'.

And you joined the list JUST too late to see it unfold.  OK, it's in part
my story, I'll tell you the Tale of 'I'.

A few weeks before the qep'a', peHruS, here on the list, happened to
mention in passing that the word "'I'" was canon for "armpit".  This
surprised the hell out of me; I couldn't remember ever seeing that in any
canon!  He couldn't supply a source, only said "but I know it's canon.
Really."  I, at least, was pretty vocal in my opposition, saying I knew
nothing about it, had never heard of it before, until it's verified I won't
accept it, etc etc.  (This is funny, as you'll see).  Other people were
saying "Wait, that *sounds* familiar... I can't place it..."

Finally, ghunchu'wI' ran a search on the archives of the mailing list and
found the source.  Turns out, I, none other than myself, had used it in a
post once as an example of why you shouldn't make up non-canon words.  I
was saying "Imagine you're a newcomer to Klingon, trying to translate a
post to this list, all fired-up with your TKD in hand... and you come
across a word that you simply can't find in any source.  You flip and you
flip, you go to all recognized official sources, but how are you supposed
to know that "'I'" suddenly means "armpit"?"  It was trying to show that if
people make up their own words, newcomers will be left behind (at least
with canon there's a *single* source: Marc Okrand).  Well, that must have
gotten into peHruS' mind somehow and managed to get divorced from its
original meaning, as a paradigmatic NON-canon word, and got associated as a
*canon* word.  That would also explain why it looked familiar to people.

This was amusing enough.  Then, at the qep'a', there was a game of "pegh
mu'" going (Password).  Contestants had to say single-word (Klingon) clues
to get their partners to say the secret word.  At one point, the word was
"noSvagh", and the audience groaned, whispering "'I'!" to one another.  It
was the perfect clue, but illegal, since it wasn't a Klingon word.

When Marc Okrand arrived, we told him the tale.  He said "Well, you know
what the Klingon word for "armpit" really *is*?  'I'!"  And that, children,
is how Klingons got their 'I'Du'.  (He later used it in the Hokey Pokey
during the Cabaret.)



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