tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Mar 14 09:09:03 2002

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: god (was: Re: a word is needed?)

> > ><Qun'a'> "great god" (<Qun> plus <-'a'>, the augmentative suffix) may 
> > >may
> > >not be an appropriate translation for a single supernatural being in a
> > >monotheistic system, since the <Qun'a'> would still be one among many.
> >
> > Well, in Arabic, the monotheistic god is called Allah, which means 'the
> > God'.  We get along fine in English without a definite article on the
> > but some languages seem to need it, even though it implies there are 
> > gods.
>Does it?  I don't speak Arabic, but how do you know that "the God" isn't
>meant to contrast with, say, "the washing machine"?  If you're starting 
>a monotheistic culture, the word for the single god may or may not make a
>point about the nonexistence of other gods.

Well, you're right, and I pointed out later in my original post that the 
definite article may not work the way I'm used to in Arabic (I don't speak 
it either).

>I think, though, that Okrand's comment about /Qun'a'/ still being one among
>many has to be considered in the context of the Klingon culture.  The
>Klingons had multiple gods, and the word /Qun/ evolved meaning these.
>/Qun'a'/ is simply the word for a particularly great and powerful /Qun/.
>There is no implication anywhere of exclusivity.  It's only when you apply
>the word to other cultures, those that have monotheistic beliefs, that you
>start trying to compare /Qun'a'/ to "the one and only god," and the Klingon
>word just doesn't mean this.

Arabia before Mohammed had multiple gods.  Mohammed came in and cleaned 
things up.  Now, imagine if the polytheistic Klingons had had a Mohammed, 
and instead of killing their gods, converted to monotheism.  I'm just saying 
that {Qun'a'} would be the most likely choice as their word for their god.  
You're right, it doesn't really mean 'the one and only god', but then, 
neither does 'al-lah' - but over time, it has come to have that connotation 
without having that denotation.  And so (disclaimer: the following is an 
opinion) I see no problem using it to describe the monotheistic god of a 
monotheistic culture.

MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos:

Back to archive top level