tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Nov 19 13:04:33 2009

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RE: tlhIngan porgh

Steven Boozer (

>> and  {porghQeD} "the scientific study of bodily functions (anatomy?).

Stephen A. Carter:
>"Physiology" might be a closer fit.

Nice.  That fits Maltz/Okrand's explanation better:

HQ 12.4:8:  Maltz was familiar with the scientific study of bodily functions, or {porghQeD}, but he didn't consider himself terribly well versed in the field. The closest he could come to "bodily function" was {porgh mIw}, literally "body process", but he had a hard time thinking of an everyday sentence containing that phrase. He said that Klingons don't talk all that much about bodily functions as a group, but they certainly do talk about specific bodily functions. 

"Physiology" is also mentioned once in KGT:

KGT 82f.:  The fact that neither {SuD} nor {Doq} includes what is called violet or purple in Federation Standard may be related to Klingon physiology--that is, exactly how the Klingon eye processes different wavelengths of light. 

But if we limit {porghQeD} ("body science") to "physiology", how would we differentiate it from "anatomy"?  Some instances of "anatomy" in the sources:

KGT 88:  More sophisticated Klingon food preparation involves keeping anatomically identifiable parts separate. 

KGT 63:  These words, {DeS} and {ghIt}, when referring to humanoid anatomy, mean "arm" and "open, flat hand" (as opposed to a fist), respectively...

KGT 28f.:  The standard word for this prominent part of Klingon anatomy is {Quch} ["forhead"]

KGT 127:  If any other number is used, such as {cha'maH wa' joQDu'} (twenty-one ribs), the phrase is always interpreted literally--that is, as a statement about anatomy. 

KLS dBase:  {qIvon}:  Klingonese word (pronounced `KEE-von') for an object of anatomy, apparently coming at least in pairs: Kor's left QiVon aches whenever his ship hits Warp-Factor 8. (Blood Oath)

Hmm... I guess it's not such a problem after all.  {[tlhIngan] porgh} "the [Klingon] body" works just fine for most, if not all, of these.

Is {bIraqlul} a feature of physiology or anatomy?  To review: 

The Klingon body incorporates multiple redundancies for nearly all vital bodily functions. This characteristic, known as {bIraqlul} (*brak'lul*), gives Klingon warriors enormous resiliency in battle, since almost every function in their body is duplicated in case any primary organ or system failed. >From various episodes we know that Klingons have two livers (chej), three lungs (tagh), 23 ribs (joQ), a redundant stomach (burgh), an eight-chambered heart (tIq), etc. (TNG "Ethics", VOY "Macrocosm", et al.)

Canon Master of the Klingons

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