tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jun 03 15:11:49 2002

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RE: cha'DIch KLBC rI'

> > I have a question about nuqneh.  You say that it does not mean hello ,
> > that I understand but in TKD and on the tape they use it as a form of
> > greeting . 
> nuqneH is labeled as a greeting.  You very likely could here it spoken when 
> people meet.  But it is not "hello".

Just to fill in on the evolution of human greetings, "hello" was not something 
you said to someone when you walked up to them until AFTER the telephone was 
invented. The technology changed the way we used the word.

Before the telephone, "hello" was something you yelled at someone across the 
field in order to get their attention: "Helloooooooooo!" With the telephone, 
people used the word because they knew they were talking to someone a long way 

Eventually, the telephone dissolved the difference between people greeting 
across a substantial distance and people simply greeting.

Meanwhile, it has now become so obligatory that good Klingon behavior is taken 
by many humans as rude, simply because the humans make stupid presumptions 
about Klingon intent.

Humans have a saying: "Actions speak louder than words." Meanwhile, they don't 
live by it. If a person you've been talking to gets up and walks away, that 
action clearly speaks loudly. The person is done with the conversation and they 
are ready to go somewhere else now. Is that enough for a human?


The human expects you to SAY something first. You have to politely wish them 
well (whether you actually care about them or not) and announce the end of the 
conversation with a "Good bye" or maybe even a hand-shake (terribly unclean 
habit - a great vector for disease, if you ask me) before you get permission to 
leave without offending the stupid human.

Similarly, you can't just walk up to a human (your actions indicating that you 
want to talk to them) and just talk. You have to politely check out whether or 
not the other person welcomes you into conversation. You wouldn't want to 
INTERRUPT their precious revery. They might be thinking of something important 
and if you distract them at the wrong time, they might never find their way 
back to that precious, fragile thought.

So, at a polite distance, you say, "Hello?" Note that an interrogative tone is 
favored, even though this is a greeting and not a question. That's another 
stupid human convention.

So, then you wait for them to say the same word back to you. It's less like 
actual communication than like the protocol negotiations between two modems 
when they are connecting. The two "hello"s don't actually convey any 
information except that they announce the first person's interest in speaking 
and the second person's willingness to join the first person in conversation.

Humans similarly prefer to begin conversation indirectly, commenting on 
standard, useless drivel about the weather, wishes for the well-being of the 
other person or whatever in order to set the mood of comradery before actually 
getting around to casually bringing up the original topic that brought the 
first person to approach the second person.

Klingons kill for less than this. A Klingon will assume that if you don't have 
something to say and you are engaging them, you must be distracting them while 
someone else sneaks up from behind to kill that Klingon. It then becomes 
justifiable self-defense to kill the decoy in order to clear your attention to 
scan around, looking for the assassin in wait.

Often, when this happens between Klingons and humans, the Klingon is surprised 
to discover that there is no second person in wait. At such times, it is often 
appropriate for the Klingon to utter the human word, "Oops" followed by the 
phrase, "My mistake." If there are other Klingons around, {HIvqa' veqlargh!} 
will do (usually followed by laughter all around).
> Many humans label it a greeting.  Really it is just straightforwardness.
> Don't get me wrong; we can converse, we can chat.  Just start talking; 
> without starting with "hello".
> Look up the origins of "hello".  
> To get someone's attention:  "Hello, anybody in there?"
> So if you say "Hello" to my face I take it as an insult; "Hello, is anybody 
> in there?"

Well put. Actually, it is often interpreted as, "Hello, look over here, not at 
the guy with a weapon sneaking from behind that tree to behind that bush." Just 
look at human movies. Humans do that sort of thing all the time and consider 
themselves clever for it. You just can't trust them.
> On the tape (I'm guessing PK) the human customer enters a store.  The 
> says /nuqneH/.  This can be viewed as a 'greeting'; but really the merchant 
> is simply asking "What do you want", because after all, there is a variety of 
> merchandise available in his store.  He doesn't know which item you what, so 
> he's asking.

bIQIj'eghbe'chugh vaj bIHegh!
> DloraH, BG


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