tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Dec 03 07:16:31 2013

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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Klingon Word of the Day: ngaj

Steven Boozer (sboozer@uchicago.edu)



> Klingon Word of the Day for Tuesday, December 03, 2013
> 
> Klingon word: ngaj
> Part of speech: verb
> Definition: be short (in duration)
> Source: KGT (222 KE, 256 EK)


KGT 120:  {maj ram}, is an idiomatic expression usually rendered in Federation Standard as "good night", though this translation obscures the real meaning of the sentiment. The Klingon word {maj} is an exclamation expressing satisfaction, generally translated as simply "good", and functioning as a sentence in its own right. The second word, {ram}, is a noun meaning {night}, and it is all that remains of two formerly used longer expressions, {ngaj ram} ("The night is short") and {nI' ram} ("The night is long"). The original full expressions, then, were {maj, ngaj ram} ("Good, the night is short"), suggesting that it would not be long before the next day's activities could begin, or {maj, nI' ram} ("Good, the night is long"), suggesting that there was ample opportunity for rejuvenation and meaningful dreaming. Over time, as result of frequent repetition of the phrases, the original intent of both versions was lost. People said them but did not give much thought to what they meant. They came to be used interchangeably, as if they meant the same thing, namely "Good, it is night". Later, the expressions were shortened by dropping the superfluous (and, by then, meaningless) {ngaj} and {nI'}, leaving the contemporary {maj ram}.

  'uQ'a' luSop [sic?] neghwI' 'e' vIchaw'
  chaHvaD 'Iw HIq vInob
  vaj tlhutlhtaH 'e' luSIQlaHbe'
  ghIq po veb
  may' ngajHa'moH
  SuvwI'wI' ghobrupchu'be'ghach

This is from the paq'batlh, paq'raD, Canto 15, {vaq molor}.  (Molor is telling Kahless that his forces are so pathetic, he's going to enebriate his own just to make sure the battle doesn't end too quickly.  Can anyone supply the actual translation?)

For comparison, some examples with the antonym {nI'} "be long (in duration)":

  nI'be' yInmaj 'ach wovqu' 
  Our lives burn short and bright. (Anthem)

  yIn nI' yISIQ 'ej yIchep 
  Live long and prosper! (RT)

  nI' jajvam
  This day is long. (st.k)

  nI' DaHjaj 
  Today is long. (st.k)

  poH nI' 
  a long time (KGT)

Similar words:

run		be short (in stature) (v)
'eS 		be low (v)

nI' 		be long (in duration) (v)


--
Voragh
Ca'Non Master of the Klingons



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