Word: a unit of measurement for "everyday" speeds



That is, a unit of measurement on the scale of mph or km/h, perhaps kellicams per hour or 'ujes per second, along with examples of how to use it in a sentence such as "The wind has a speed of 10 <whatevers>."

Comment below with feedback and suggestions.


  1. The GoFlight app expresses speed measurements like this:
    qaStaHvIS wa' rep, vaghvatlh javmaH loS qelI'qam lenglaH: wab Do wa' vI' pagh jav. In one hour, he travelled 564 kellicams (1128 kilometers): Mach 1.06.

    This phrasing is not only rather wordy, but also implies that the flight actually lasted one hour and actually went 1128 kilometers, which as far as I can tell it didn't. Something more concise and more precise would be useful.

    1. I have realized that the -laH in lenglaH was probably intended as a sort of irrealis "could", e.g. that he could have travelled 564 kellicams in one hour. But in the context of discussing an event that actually occured, my first interpretation of the -laH was something like "was able to".

    1. Perhaps, but even if something like qelI'qam rep SubmaH is the usual expression, there are still things I'd like to know:
      1) What's the usual way Klingons actually use it in a sentence to talk about speed?
      2) Do Klingons order their ratios the same way Terrans do, e.g. is qelI'qam rep SubmaH kellicams/hour or hours/kellicam? The usual expression for fractions has the denominator coming earlier: wej loch cha' = 2/3, not 3/2. Would this order carry over to an expression with SubmaH?
      3) Do Klingons have named units of speed measurement, even if there are other ways to express speed? From a worldbuilding perspective, it's useful to know more about Klingon culture. After all, we have 'uj'a' even though we could just say Hut 'uj.

  2. If the components of a calculation of speed are distance and time, and we can talk about distance and time, then we can talk about speed, probably using more than one method.

    If you're given a whole number as a value for qelI'qam rep SubmaH or rep qelI'qam SubmaH, that means that the ratio in question is almost surely kellicams to hours rather than hours to kellicams. In practical terms most vehicles carrying humanoid passengers do not travel slow enough for hours per kellicam to be a convenient measurement.

    There's nothing mysterious going on with word-order in loch expressions. The denominator comes first in a loch expression because the denominator is the object of the verb lochwej loch cha' means two make up a fraction of three.

    1. Well, not all things you would want to express with these "everyday" speeds would necessarily be for vehicles for humanoids. Even if it's obvious from context that someone who said A/B really meant B/A, that doesn't mean A/B would be the proper way to say it. I like the idea of using an expression with SubmaH, if we don't learn any other terminology. But I would want to ask Maltz how ratios are typically phrased. (I assume I'll have to make another entry to ask Maltz directly, though. I don't think he'll see this one.)

      I don't think the phrasing of loch is mysterious. But there's also no particular reason why the numerator has to go first when talking about a ratio, except that's how it's usually done on Earth and in English. The two Klingon expressions we have related to division both put the denominator earlier in the sentence: as the object in wej loch cha', and as an adverbial in wejlogh boqHa"egh cha'. A Klingon wanting to express a ratio in the form A B SubmaH may find it more natural to put the denominator first, since that's the word order they'd already be used to. Or maybe they do it numerator first and Klingon mathematicians just have to invert the word order in their head. Only one man knows!