tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jul 22 14:28:57 2002

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Re: Ten Commandments

> >Umm, I don't know anything about the original Hebrew, but doesn't the word
> >"Commandments" kind of imply . . . I don't know . . . "commands"?

>loQ 'IvrIt vISovmo', chaq mu' vIQIjlaH.  'IvrIt lalDan ghItlhDaq, <mu'mey>
>neH luperlu'.  roD "mitzvah" luponglu'.  rapchu'be' "mitzvah" "commandment"
>je.  chaq <potlh> <ngoQ> joq 'oSlaH "mitzvah".  rut "commandment" 'oH, 'ach
>'opvaD motlh chut'a' 'oHbe'.

In Hebrew the Decalogue is known as *'aseret ha-dibbrot* "the ten 
*dibbrot*".  The noun *dibber* (pl. *dibbrot*) means "speech, word, saying" 
and is derived from the pi'el verb *dibber* "to talk, speak" (Klingon 
{jatlh}).  A *mitsvah* OTOH means "command, behest, commandment, precept, 
meritorious (good) deed, religious duty, obligation, etc." and is derived 
from the verb *tsivvah* "to command, order, ordain, appoint, etc." (Klingon 
{ra'}).  Neither of these are "laws" {chutmey} per se, which are called 
*Huqim* in Hebrew.

Klingon {SoQ} "speech, lecture, address" is the closest noun we have 
etymologically to *dibbrah*.  And {SoQ} is used together with the verb {jatlh}:

   SoQ Dajatlh
   you speak an address/lecture, you deliver an address, you make a speech

   qama'pu'vaD SoQ Dajatlh
   you make a speech to the prisoners. [st.klingon 6/97]

Thus, *{wa'maH SoQmey}, although the Klingon implies something a bit 
longer.  E.g. the ten addresses/speeches to the Hebrew people.

The Ten Commandments aren't grammatically speaking "commands" or 
"commandments" at all, but rather "sayings" or, even better, 
"pronouncements".  They are the ten most important pronouncements of 
God.  Note that this is reflected in the term "decalogue".

Keeping all that in mind, I disagree a bit with ghunchu'wI' and feel that 
the noun {potlh} "consequential thing, something important" conceptually 
fits *dibbrah* better - *{wa'maH potlhmey}.

   tlhIngan qorDu' potlh
   Klingon Family Values. S13

I think {ngoQ} "goal, purpose" is a good fit for *mitsvah*, lacking as we 
do a simple noun for "command".

   tlhIngan ngoQmey chavmeH HoH tlhInganpu'
   Klingons kill for their own purposes. TKW

Hmm... another word to consider is {ghob} "ethics, virtue":

   A "virtue" is a particularly valued quality or a form of behavior that
   exemplifies moral correctness, as defined by a society... Indeed, the
   Klingon word {ghob} may be translated as "ethics" or "virtue", linguistic
   evidence that the concept is not unknown or never discussed among the
   Klingons themselves. It is probably significant that the Klingon word
   for "do battle", or "wage war" is likewise {ghob}. Though some, perhaps
   many, of a society's virtues are represented in its legal codes, a virtue
   is not a law. A violation of a virtue need not carry with it any legal
   sanction. A virtue does not even have to be followed all the time to still
   be considered a virtue. What is important is that members of the society
   agree that the virtue represents what should be done, even if it is not
   done. When a virtue is ignored, all recognize the transgression, even if
   there are no immediate consequences. (TKW p. vii)

   qorDu' SaHlu'chugh 'ej matlhlu'chugh vaj wa' tlhIngan ghob potlhqu'
   devotion and loyalty to family is one of the most important Klingon 
virtues. S13

   tlhIngan ghobmey paq
   "The Klingon Book of Virtues" [i.e. original title of TKW]

   pop 'oH ghob'e'
   Virtue is the reward.

"This proverb does not mean Virtue is honor. The use of the word pop 
suggests that virtue is the honor bestowed as a result of acting in a 
manner respectful of society's values, not simply advocating them." (TKW p.47)

   ghob tIvnISbe'lu'
   One need not enjoy virtue. TKW

   batlh ghob yIpab
   Adhere to virtue honorably.

"The Klingon verb in the expression, {pab}, is here translated "adhere", 
but it is also used to mean "follow", in the sense of following rules, 
suggesting perhaps that, though not officially laws, virtues should be 
followed as if they were." (TKW p.47)

And yet another word to throw into the mix is {tIgh} "custom":

   tlhIngan tIgh
   "The Klingon Way" (title) TKW

   tlhIngan tIgh DaHaDrup'a'?
   [Marc Okrand's common inscription on books/photos]

   "You outsiders see only our fierceness, our love of battle. You do not see
    the {tIgh}, the honor, that shapes our every act." [Gowron, in "Star Trek:
    Klingon!" novelization, p.10]

Now that I've delved this deeply into my notes, I'm torn between *{wa'maH 
potlhmey} and *{wa'maH ghobmey} as a translation.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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