tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jun 29 12:49:58 2009

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RE: Klingon cardinal directions

Steven Boozer (

Mark Okrand:
>> While the four main compass points used in the Federation (north, east,
>> south, west) are distributed evenly (that is, they are 90 degrees apart
>> from each other: north is 90 degrees away from east, east is 90 degrees 
>> away from south, and so on), this is not the case in the Klingon system. 
>> The three directions are not evenly spaced (that is, they are not 120 
>> degrees apart from each other). Instead, the areas associated with {'ev} 
>> and {tIng} are closer to each other than either is to the area associated 
>> with {chan}. (The areas associated with {'ev} and {tIng} are something
>> like 100 degrees apart from each other, and each is 130 degrees away from 
>> the area associated with {chan}.)
>>    [....]
>> There is an idiomatic expression still heard with reasonable frequency 
>> which makes use of all three cardinal direction terms:
>> {tIngvo' 'evDaq chanDaq}
>> Literally, this means "from area-southwestward to area-northwestward 
>> to area eastward", but the idiom means "all around, all over, all over
>> the place." It is used in the same place in a sentence that the noun
>> {Dat} "everywhere" might be used, but it is much more emphatic:
>> {tIngvo' 'evDaq chanDaq jIlengpu'} "I've traveled all over the place"
lay'tel SIvten:
> Can {chanvo'} (from the east) be used for "westward" then?

In context, I don't see why not.  E.g.

  chanvo' nughoStaH mangghom

>> But Klingon {chan} does not work the same as English "east." From
>> the Klingon point of view, it makes no sense to say that something
>> is "in the east." One can go towards the east, something can be to
>> the east of something else, but nothing can actually be "in" the
>> east. No matter how far eastward you go, there's something still
>> to your east. Thus the awkward translations "area eastward, area
>> towards the east" and so forth. 

Though keep in mind that since {chan} "area eastward" is a noun - and thus a place - in another context {chanvo'} could refer to something moving from one area eastward to another area even further eastward!

Canon Master of the Klingons

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