tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri May 03 23:07:35 2013

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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Stonewall Poster Goes Klingon ...

De'vID (

Fiat Knox:
> I learned of this link to Stonewall's "Some People Are Gay. Get Over It"
> campaign - which has attempted a translation of their slogan into Klingon
> ...
> Feature:
> Poster on Facebook:
> Have fun tearing into their translation effort.

As the origin of the translation, I take responsibility for its faults.

You can see the history of how it came about here:

It was a spur of the moment thing thrown together on Twitter. The
difficulty of expressing "gay" ("be homosexual") engaged most of my
attention, and I didn't provide the best translation for "Get over
it!" As others have already pointed out, {'e' yIlaj!} "Accept it!"
gets the point across much better and in a more Klingon way than
{yIqImHa'!} "Disregard it!" Brent's interpretation of it as being like
"Mind your own business" was what I had in mind.

As for {-Qo'} vs. {-Ha'}: they're not quite the same thing. {-Qo'} is
the imperative counterpart of {-be'}, so {yIqImQo'} would mean "Don't
pay attention to it". {yIqImHa'} is "Disregard it", using the gloss of
{qImHa'} as "disregard". Although, now that I think about it, I can't
think of a canon example of an imperative with {-Ha'}, so maybe that
was a mistake too. (Voragh, do we have any such examples?)

There's been some discussion about this on Facebook already, but I
dislike using Facebook for such discussions since the comments are not
open to the public, so I'll summarise that here. There, in addition to
the above, the choice of {nga'chuq} was also criticised on the grounds
that we don't know if {nga'chuq loDpu'} means "men have sex with each
other", or just "men have sex". (HoD Qanqor himself decloaked in order
to criticise my word choice, and there is no dishonour in having one's
Klingon criticised by the illustrious Grammarian himself!)

As defined, {nga'chuq} means "sex (i.e., perform sex; always subject)"
according to HQ 1.3 p.9. I've always interpreted the "always subject"
annotation to mean that the parties named in the subject are having
sex with each other. That is, like how {ghom} when used without an
object implies that the parties named in the subject are meeting with
each other, {nga'chuq} implies to me that the subjects are engaged in
sex with each other, not that each of them is having sex
independently. "They meet" always means "they meet each other", and
similarly "they screw" can only mean each other, if no object is
specified (and none can be for {nga'chuq}, if I understand correctly).
What else can "always subject" mean? If it was only that the verb
cannot take an object, the annotation would've read "no object". In
that case, how would one specify the participants?

My theory is that MO was initially trying to avoid the "screw (or
f-word) someone" construction when he made up {nga'chuq}, just to make
Klingon unusual and put the participants on an equal footing, although
he later gave us {ngagh} for "mate with" in Power Klingon (whose
script forced his hand). It's interesting that the gloss for
{nga'chuq} is "sex, perform sex", since "sex" is not a verb in English
meaning "perform sex". It seems that the first occurrence of the word
"sex" in the definition should have been "screw", or the f-word, but
these were avoided to be PC. Also, we don't have the definition of
{ngagh} either, we only know that {targhlIj yIngagh yIruch} means "go
mate with your targ". But knowing how family-friendly Star Trek tries
to be, {ngagh} seems to me to effectively be the f-word. So, perhaps
{ngaghchuq} would have been a better (and more explicit) choice, but I
think {nga'chuq} works okay.

As for the question of whether {-chuq} is a true suffix, or whether
the same sound appears in {nga'chuq} just by coincidence (like the
{-laH} in {lo'laH}), it's unclear either way since *{nga'} is
unattested as a verb. But we have {ngagh}, so it's suggestive that
*{nga'} is, or was, an etymologically verb with a related meaning,
which may have fallen out of use on its own. Possibly it's even the
same verb, which was used so often with {-chuq} that {nga['|gh]chuq}
became almost like its own verb, and then one of the pair underwent a
sound shift. I see it as similar to {roSHa'moH} "paralyze", for which
we don't know a verb *{roS} with the meaning something like "be agile,
nimble". Others see {nga'chuq} as a distinct verb which cannot take an
object meaning only to perform sex, and implies nothing about whether
the parties in the subject are doing so with each other.

It was also pointed out that since the number of participants wasn't
specified, the sentence could be interpreted as referring to group
sex. I actually thought about whether it should've been {loDpu'} and
{be'pu'} or {cha' loDpu'} and {cha' be'pu'}. I went with the former
because it was shorter (and therefore made for a better Tweet), but
also because the original didn't specify monoamorous relations either,
so that should be left open to interpretation.


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