tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Apr 30 12:32:31 2002

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Re: Klingon Cursing

"Worf" asks:

>How do you spell the Klingon curse that is pronounced like "koot'vakk"?


Okrand explains in "Conversational Klingon" that:

   "This is something you might hear someone say in moments of extreme
    anger. Be concerned if you hear it."

And in "The Klingon Dictionary (p.178) he tells us:

   "The invective {va} is actually just a shortened form of {Qu'vatlh}."

When Capt. Picard failed to convince Governor Vagh that the Federation 
wasn't supplying weapons to Kriosian rebels on the Klingon colony world, 
Vagh shouted: "You speak the lies of a tah-keck!"  Picard calmly leaned 
forward and replied, "Qu'vatlh guy'cha b'aka!"  Vagh complimented him, 
saying: "You swear well, Picard. You must have Klingon blood in you." (TNG 
"The Mind's Eye")

(N.B. those spellings came from Paramount's closed captions.  Their 
tlhIngan Hol spellings are:  taHqeq, Qu'vatlh, ghuy'cha', baQa'.)

>and also, how is it you say that there is more than one Klingon?

I'm not sure I understand.  Do you want to know the plural form of "Klingon":

   cha' tlhInganpu'  "two Klingons"
   wej tlhInganpu'   "three Klingons"
   tlhInganpu' law'  "many Klingons"

The plural suffix {-pu'} is optional and can be omitted when it's clear 
from context that you're talking about more than one:

   cha' tlhIngan  "two Klingons"
   wej tlhIngan   "three Klingons"
   tlhIngan law'  "many Klingons"

If you're asking how do you call more than one Klingon a {Qu'vatlh}, the 
answer is "You don't."  {Qu'vatlh} is an expletive, not an epithet; it's 
something you say when angry (e.g. "Damn it!"), not a name you call someone 
(e.g. "You bastard!").  In the above scene from "The Mind's Eye", for 
example, {Qu'vatlh, ghuy'cha', baQa'} is a string of three expletives, 
while {taHqeq} is an epithet.

Now, if you're asking how to make an epithet plural, the answer is "We're 
not sure".  Okrand has never given us an example.  For instance, the most 
famous Klingon epithet is {petaQ} - which Paramount spells variously as 
p'tahk, pahtk, pahtak, p'tak, etc.  Most of us assume that the plural form 
is *{petaQpu'}, using the {-pu'} suffix you normally use for 
people.  Again, since the plural suffix is optional, you can usually omit 
it (and thereby avoid the problem) with no loss of clarity.  E.g.:

   petaQ SoH!
   "You're a p'tak! You p'tak!"

   petaQ tlhIH!
   "You're all p'taks! All of you are p'taks!"

>Something like "Klingon Poop?"

We don't know the Klingon word for excrement, if that's what you're asking.

Qapla'!  pe'vIl mu'qaDmey tIbach! (Curse well!)

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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