tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Jun 11 09:55:55 1999

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Re: Genderless Klingons?

qa'ral wrote:

: Do we have any canonic <tlhIngan Hol be' pong> with endings other than
: <-r>, or <-IS>?  I had theorized these were feminine endings, but have since
: found numerous counterexamples among <loD pong>, e.g., <qerla'>, <qImtar>,
: <qorIS>, etc.  pong'e' lo'bogh loD be' je' lutu'lu''a'?

Kerla, K'mtar and Koris have never been rendered into Hol by Okrand.  Of those
with your putative "feminine endings" that have, we know of:

  qeylIS   Kahless
  tI'vIS   T'vis (KGT 182)
  tlha'a   Klaa 

Here are the female names that I know of with official Hol spellings:

  be'etor  B'Etor 
  ghIrIlqa'  Grilka
  HuS  Huss (KGT 197)
  lurSa'  Lursa 
  mara  Mara
  mellota'  Mellota (female?)
  tlhI'yopatra' Cleopatra (KGT 110)
  valQIS  Valkris 
  vIqSIS  Vixis 

Note that feminine names that end in /a/ in their Federation Standard
may actually end with {-a} or {-a'} in tlhIngan Hol.  /'/ is a full consonant
in Klingon, though most Fed Standard speakers probably have trouble

Female Names with no official tlhIngan Hol spelling yet:

  Valeris   Vulcan Starfleet lieutenant (In the ST6 novelization, we learn
    that her diplomat mother T'Paal named her Valeris after one of the
    honored female heroes of the Klingons as a sign of good will.)
  Azetbur  Gorkon's and his daughter 
  Vekma   crew-member aboard the Pagh who flirted with Ryker

In addition to the endings {-a(')}, {-r} and {-IS} (perhaps just {-S}, cf.
{HuS}), many female names begin with /v/.  As you can see, there is no pattern
that positively identifies a personal name as definitely feminine.  Among the
names we've seen - which may not even be a representative sample, skewed as
they are toward the upper, usually warrior, class - we can say is that there
is, at most, a tendency for certain name types to be associated with women. 
However for each type, there are counter examples from the episodes of males
with similar names, like Governor Vagh on Krios.

: tlhIngan Hol seems to be genderless to an extent unusual for Terran (or
: at least Indo-European) languages.

Since Okrand specifically designed Klingon without grammatical gender - as
as separate pronouns for "he" and "she" - this should hardly be surprising.  I
suspect that we will find that certain names are considered male or female by
custom and tradition, not by how they are pronounced.  Isn't that the way it
works in genderless Terran languages, i.e. Chinese?

: females?  Are there other words like <'IH> (beautiful/handsome) and
: <joH> (lord/lady) that do double duty by comparison with English?

All ranks and title are genderless in Klingon, as are gentilics and derived
nouns in {-wI'}.  {tlhIngan SuvwI'} "Klingon warrior" is itself genderless,
referring either to a male or female, as opposed to some Terran languages,
Russian and Hebrew, which do make this distinction.  If you ever have to be
specific, you need to say {tlhIngan loD} "a Klingon male" or {tlhIngan be'} "a
Klingon female".

qa'ral, the fact that this complete lack of grammatical gender surprises you
shows that you've been speaking Russian too long!

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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