tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Dec 12 07:14:50 2014

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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Klingon Word of the Day: mu'mey ru'

Steven Boozer (

> Klingon Word of the Day for Friday, December 12, 2014
> Klingon word: mu'mey ru'
> Part of speech: noun
> Definition: temporary words (ungrammatical expression used for impact)

KGT 176:  Sometimes words or phrases are coined for a specific occasion, intentionally violating grammatical rules in order to have an impact. Usually these are never heard again, though some gain currency and might as well be classified as slang. Klingon grammarians call such forms {mu'mey ru'} ("temporary words"). Sometimes, {mu'mey ru'} fill a void--that is, give voice to an idea for which there is no standard (or even slang) expression; sometimes, like slang, they are just more emphatic ways of expressing an idea. A common way to create these constructions is to bend the grammatical rules somewhat, violating the norm in a way that is so obvious that there is no question that it is being done intentionally. To do this is expressed in Klingon as {pabHa'} ("misfollow [the rules], follow [the rules] wrongly").

KGT 180:  Some speakers of Klingon never use such nonconformist constructions. Some use a few from a stock set. Others seem to be somewhat creative. Among Klingons, there is a fine line between creative use of the language and silliness, however, and Klingons are rather intolerant of the latter. Accordingly, the visitor to a Klingon planet is advised to avoid making such constructions until he or she is very well versed in Klingon culture.

KGT 181:  No one accepts such constructions as grammatical; their inappropriateness, the way they grate on the Klingon ear, is exactly what gives them elocutionary clout. A visitor may hear one of these odd suffixes occasionally, but, as with other intentionally ungrammatical forms, it is best to avoid using them until one is extremely comfortable with the nuances of Klingon style.

HQ 3.3 p.10ff.:  It's a highly marked form. It's a word you are forming for a specific occasion and a specific effect. If you were a poet or philosopher or hard scientist and had to describe something very specifically these kinds of words might be appropriate but it carries the feeling of very technical arcane vocabulary, not normal everyday stuff. So can you say it? Yes, but you are saying more, rather than less or neutral. [...] I suppose you could say that, and people would understand it, but it's weird. An I-seeing-you happened. I can imagine someone saying that in English, and you'd look up and say "huh?" but know exactly what was meant. It's following the rules, but it's following them into a place they don't normally go.

"Well, the first documented example of Klingon slang dates all the way back to the early days of the mailing list. In fact, due to the wonders of archiving, we can determine the precise date: July 19, 1993 ... The first slang word, *{tlhoqo'} was coined. ... It was Will Martin who, after Kloko's involuntary departure, first suggested *{tlhoqo'} - the Klingonization of Kloko's name - as a slang word for misanthrope; the word quickly came to have a somewhat stronger meaning, more along the lines of 'asshole'. It is interesting to note that at the time, I, as Grammarian of the list, felt it necessary to give explicit waiver for this word, proclaiming it as slang for the list, and thus not in violation of the prohibition against making up new words. This is the only time that people actually worried about the ability to use slang."
  [Krankor, "From the Grammarian's Desk" (HQ 12.4:2-3 [December 2003])] 

Holtej [date?]:  Seqram was there, and so [Krankor] used *{HIlel} tongue-in-cheek to indicate the sandwich, in reference to a Jewish custom (Passover?). It was a nonce word, it was funny, and it did the job.


mu'mey ghoQ 	slang ("fresh words")
Hol ghoQ 		slang ("fresh language")

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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