Word: feeling, emotion



There are several words for specific feelings (Quch, 'IQ, muS, pIl, Sey, ghal, etc.), but no word to generally refer to human emotions. If this word is provided, could it also be clarified what verb is used for "having/feeling" feelings/emotions?

Comment below with feedback and suggestions.


    1. “Mental status” is certainly not the same thing as emotions. There are a lot of things happening in a person’s mind, emotions being only one part of a larger system. Memories, thoughts, senses, among other things, are a part of the “mental status”. This word request is more specific.

      1. Certainly emotions are a subset of {yab Dotlh}. There is also the verb {tIw} “react/behave emotionally”:

        {tIwmoHbogh yab Dotlh}
        “a mental state resulting in emotional behavior”

        1. You are right, but that feels zigzagging around the concept. Not all emotions result in emotional behavior. If I read {tIwmoHbogh yab Dotlh}, my first thought would be a mental illness that increases emotional responses or another more thorough mental state. It would be odd to me to refer singular emotions as {yab Dotlh}.

          1. A mental illness or condition is specifically a {yab HarqIn}.

            You’re right, it *does* feel like zigzagging around the concept. It *should* feel that way. We should maintain certain lacunae, as we Earthlings perceive them, in Klingon vocabulary. It gives Klingon its own unique character, and forces speakers to really think laterally about what they are trying to say. We don’t have verbs meaning “be fast”, “be slow”, “be loud”, “be willing”, “be afraid”, and we don’t have nouns for “will” and “fear” because these concepts are all expressed differently. To make things easier like that would be to cheapen the experience of learning to think in the language.

            {chay’ yab Dotlh SIgh vIqraqvam?}
            What emotion does this artwork evoke?
            [literally, “How does this artifact influence the state of mind?”]

            {lut nuvDaj yab Dotlhmey lIlnIS DawI’}
            An actor must simulate the emotions of his character.
            [literally, “An actor must simulate the mental states of his story-person.”

        2. “fast”, “slow”, “loud”, “willing” and “afraid” are all concepts that have a word or a suffix in Klingon. It is easy to express those ideas in Klingon even though some of them have a different part of speech than in English. “feeling/emotion” is not a word that has a word or a suffix in Klingon. I would be more than happy if Okrand gave us a phrase, a verb or something else that can be used to describe the concept of feelings.

          You know that “mental state” is a bad word for “feeling”, but you have become accustomed to the idea that there is no such word and accepting the obviously misleading term {yab Dotlh}. I know that you often support suggested words on this website. For example, you supported the word “politician” (rubyo’ now). However, one can imagine a lot of zigzagging phrases to describe politicians like {qum SIghwI’}. If you really wanted to preserve Klingon by not making things easier, you should be against every suggestion on this list. Instead, you arbitrarily oppose one suggestion and defend another. Perhaps you have yourself missed the word “feeling” a lot and accepted that there is no such word and this idea has been cemented to your mind. However, “feeling” is not any different than “politician”.

          1. You and I have had discussions before, and you know that I have other criteria besides preserving a unique Klingon character. These include limited resources (we only get 100 or so words per year and so we have to be very selective) and the existing ability to express what we want *in context*. The context part is what is missing from your analysis more broadly. Different aspects of the concept of “emotion” in English are expressible with existing vocabulary in Klingon; it all depends on what you want to focus on.

            Okay, challenge accepted. Let’s look at the word *politician* and its semantic space. This January I wrote:
            “””This seems like a good suggestion. We have words for related concepts, like {woQ} ‘political power’, {qum} ‘government/to govern’. I’ve seen government employees referred to as {qum beq}, but what’s absent in our semantic space seems to be the notion of a political career(ist).
            Someone who exerts undue influence, according to KGT, is a {moHwI’}.””

            So my focus when supporting the word that became {rubyo’} was the absence of a word for “career(ist)”. If we had gotten a word for “career” instead, I probably would have argued *against* ‘politician’, because we could say {woQ [career] qum beq} “political-power [career] government crewperson”, which is as accurate a definiton of a politician as I can think of. A {qum SIghwI’} “government influencer” can work outside of government, by contrast.

            There’s another good reason for using {yab Dotlh} – it’s analogous to {muD Dotlh}, a term used for the weather at a given moment. A {yab Dotlh} by analogy is how a person is feeling mentally at a given moment, which encompasses emotion and also probably states such as hunger and thirst. But context supplies the missing information – a work of art isn’t likely to make somebody hungry or thirsty!

            So I’m very confident that this isn’t a word we need at this time. Minds are very integrated systems anyway, and according to Wikipedia there isn’t a scientific consensus on a definition of ’emotion’. To me that’s very telling.

        3. “A {qum SIghwI’} “government influencer” can work outside of government, by contrast.” Isn’t this the same argument as “{yab Dotlh} encompasses more things than just emotions”. They are both inaccurate words.

          Another thing that bugs me is that, as you said, {yab Dotlh} seems to refer to the current mental state (like {muD Dotlh} refers to the current weather). It doesn’t allow us to speak about individual emotions over time, not just the current ones. For example, let’s say I wanted to say “People here have a lot of emotions, but they don’t express them”. For the second clause, I should probably use {tIwbe’} as people aren’t acting emotionally. But how to say that they have a lot of hidden emotions? They all have a {yab Dotlh} even if they didn’t have emotions, an emotionless mental state is still a mental state. I don’t think we have proper words to describe the kind of {yab Dotlh} these people have.

          1. No, because all emotions are {yab Dotlh}. All politicians are not {qum SIghwI’}; in fact many politicians have no personal influence at all, but are entirely functionaries “in the pocket” of non-governmental parties, so to speak. {qum SIghwI’} is *much* more inaccurate than {yab Dotlh}.

            We can talk about {muD Dotlh Deq} “former mental states”, {muD Dotlh vorgh} “previous mental states”, and {pa’logh/tuch muD Dotlh} “past/future mental states”. Just like we can say {wa’leS muD Dotlh} “yesterday’s weather”.

            {Sar ‘ej law’ naDev nuv nongqu’ghach, ‘ach bIH ‘angbe’ chaH}
            The strong passions of people here are various and numerous, but they do not reveal them.

            I’m not sure an emotionless mental state is even possible. Klingons would probably discuss Vulcan ideology as {vulqan nongbe’chu’bogh qangtlhIn} “Vulcan Totally-Passionless Ideology”.

        4. What I mean is that {yab Dotlh} does not describe an individual emotion through all time, it describes all emotions in a single point of time. If you think that time is on the Y axis and emotions are on the X axis, then {yab Dotlh} is a horizonal line, whereas a single emotion would be a vertical line. Using the whether analogy, {muD Dotlh} is not used to refer to individual phenomena (like “cloud”, “storm”, “sunshine”), but to an individual point in time (like a day) and all the phenomena occurring during that time. I would use {muD wanI’} to describe the phenomena. Based on that analogy, {yab wanI’} would be a lot better zigzag word than {yab Dotlh}, but I consider it to be too inaccurate as well, as not all “mind phenomena” are emotions.

          Emotionless persons are often discussed in Star Trek, Commander Data being the most prominent example along with the Vulcans and the Borg. Regardless of whether or not emotions are a well-defined thing in the real world, in the fictive world of Star Trek people consider them to be something a person can lack. I’m sure Klingons can talk about these things too. For example, Worf has been present in TNG episodes where Data’s emotions have been discussed.

          Passion is just one emotion among others. To describe an emotionless being, mentioning only one emotion is not enough. Klingon has a lot of emotion verbs and indeed one could use all of them to form a sentence like {le’ Data yab: not ‘IQ, not Quch, not nong, not muS, not ghal, not Sey’, not muSHa’, latlh, latlh, latlh.} I think that is an unsatisfying solution.