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Word: fission (nuclear), the act of splitting the atom



"a nuclear reaction or a radioactive decay process in which the nucleus of an atom splits into two or more smaller, lighter nuclei". Can this word (and {boq} "fusion") be used for other processes as well, or just nuclear ones?

Comment below with feedback and suggestions.

3 thoughts on “fission (nuclear), the act of splitting the atom

    • Patrick Masterson says:

      The point of the question isn’t “How could I express this idea to a Klingon speaker if I didn’t know the actual Klingon expression for it?” It’s “What is the actual Klingon expression for it?”

      If we’re working with the conceit that Klingon is an existing natural language that we haven’t fully learned yet, one with a complex linguistic history, native speakers, and complex technical vocabulary, then it seems reasonable to assume that Klingon, like most languages, has words for things. It’s one thing for us to use these work-around phrases when talking with each other, since “in-character” we’re non-native speakers who don’t know the language perfectly. But the point of the chabal tetlh is an opportunity to, “in-character”, ask a native speaker how Klingons actually talk about things. We know from the Bird of Prey poster that there’s a Klingon word for “fusion”, boq. It’s not unreasonable to assume or ask if there’s a specific word for the related process of fission.

      If I were taking a German class, and I said I wanted to ask the teacher what the German word for “nuclear fission” was, it wouldn’t really be helpful for another student to speak up and ask “Why do you need to ask about that word? We’ve already learned the words for ‘middle’ and ‘atom’ and ‘cut’, you can just put them together to get the idea across.”

      • Andrew Miller says:

        If this were a class taught by a native speaker of a natural language where the answers were as accessible as a native speaker’s memory, I would take the same view.

        But it isn’t. The real purpose of the chabal tetlh is allocation of scarce resources. I for one would rather see resources expended on topics that are more difficult or impossible to discuss with current vocabulary.

        If boq ally with is deployed metaphorically to refer to nuclear fusion, it stands to reason that fission can also be described metaphorically.

        The point of the list is to consider and discuss the merits of each suggestion and winnow down the best ones. It’s not enough to want or not want something. You have to convince others why they should also want or not want it. That’s why I describe alternatives, and appreciate when alternatives are described for my suggestions.

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