tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Jan 07 14:25:47 2015

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

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

Re: [Tlhingan-hol] mathematics terminology

Felix Malmenbeck (

An alternative way to describe real numbers might be «mI' motlh» ("normal number"), reflecting the fact that they're the ones most people are familiar with. Might be confused with "commonly used number" (like pi or tau or whatever they use), but I'm guessing the risk for confusion will be minimal, and it's somwthing real mathematicians are used to, anyway ("We measure thi using the Minkowski metric, which of course is not a metric.")

A complex number might be described as «mI' Qatlh», because most people would regard them as complicated.
You might also call them «mI' le'», referring to the fact that they're mostly used for highly specific purposes. It'd be a bit contradictory, since the complex numbers are actually more general than real numbers. Still, that's language for you.
You might even imagine them being called «tej mI'» or «QeD mI'», due to their prominence in the sciences. Or even «'ul mI'» or «*chem* mI'», assuming Klingons have found them useful for dealing with electricity and electromagnetic fields, as we do.

I also kind of like the idea of referring to complex numbers as «DIngwI'  mI'» or something like that, in reference to the fact that multiplication with a complex number causes a rotation in the complex plane. Real numbers might be called "flippers", because they can only point in two possibly directions.

That being said, we might also wonder if Klingons would regard complex numbers as numbers at all, or if they would regard them as couples of numbers.
From: Brad Wilson []
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2015 22:20
Subject: Re: [Tlhingan-hol] mathematics terminology

>>> I used the terms {toghmeH mI'} and {juvmeH mI'}

These make perfect sense to me and would be understood by anyone with basic Klingon knowledge. Perhaps early Klingons only included whole (ie. counting) numbers in the set of {toghmeH mI'}, but as their knowledge grew, they added the negative versions. Personally, I don't have a problem with {toghmeH mI'} referring to any integer, positive or negative. As to "negative", I like {yoy}, but also consider {DoH} in that a negative number could be thought to be "backed away" from zero. Another concept might be that of "mirroring" the positive number.

As for {juvmeH mI'}, things are rarely "measured" in integers, so using this for real numbers seems logical. Rational vs irrational numbers would be subsets of the real numbers. I like your idea of using "precision of measurement" to differentiate these. I could see {mI' pup} used for rational numbers, ie. those that can be measured with precision.

If Klingon scientists recognize "imaginary" numbers as we do, ie. as multiples of the square root of -1, then perhaps a term like {mI' DuHbe'} or {mI' qItbe'} could be applied, since these numbers would clearly seem impossible in light of precision of measurement.

I really hope that Maltz, as a science officer, can shed some light on these technicalities. I haven't even begun to consider terms in my field - chemistry & chemical engineering.


Tlhingan-hol mailing list

Back to archive top level