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Author Topic: Klingon words for chess pieces  (Read 4525 times)
El Payaso Malo
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« on: 07 03, 2011, 10:51: AM »

I was wondering what Klingon words other Klingonists (or even Klingons themselves) would use for chess pieces. Being a war game that strengthens the mind to strategy and tactics, it would seem like the board game for Klingons to most likely adapt from Earth (whether or not they already have something similar; I'm ignoring novels that say that they do). There are other games like makruk and shogi that are similar, but without as wide an appeal as chess. I've been studying the evolution of the game and how different cultures adopted or adapted the names of the pieces and associating terminology, and I was speculating how Klingons might do it. This is what I was thinking:

King - ta' (emperor) It was shorter than the other word with the same meaning, voDleH.
Queen - Sa' (general) This piece was originally referred to as an adviser before becoming a feminized to queen in Europe. I think Sa' conveys its function on the board better than adviser or queen did. I also took a note from shogi on this one.
Rook - veSDuj (warship) This piece represented armored chariots, and the Persian ones looked like siege towers. If anyone has a word that fits the "mobile armored artillery" better than veSDuj, let me know.
Bishop - joH (lord) This piece represented war elephants originally. After being brought to Europe, the Europeans didn't have this concept for their militaries (Hannibal notwithstanding), but for some reason they noticed that the tusks on the pieces reminded them of bishops' miters somehow. Some languages still have a name that refers to elephants in some way, like Russian and Spanish, and other languages call them something else entirely, like German, which calls them runners. I think joH works because it represents the house leaders' role in the Empire.
Knight - lIghwI' (rider) Representing cavalry, I wasn't sure how the Klingons would refer to their mounted troops. Referring to German again, German refers to this piece as a leaper.
Pawn - mang [plural - negh] (soldier) or SuvwI' (warrior/fighter) I haven't yet decided on this one. This piece represents foot soldiers and ground troops. Which term fits it best?

For "check" and "checkmate," I'd use ta' ("the emperor") and vangbe' ta' ("the emperor cannot take action") to mirror the original Persian Shāh ("the king") and Shāh Māt ("the king is helpless"), from which "check" and "checkmate" originated in the first place. Or perhaps just adapt it the same way and use cheq and cheqmet (which don't otherwise have any meaning), respectively.

As for the name of the game itself, the word cheS doesn't otherwise have a meaning as far as I know. Perhaps veSQuj, an invented compound from veS ("the concept of war") and Quj ("game"). Perhaps adapting a name of an older version of it into chatranga' from Indian chaturanga or shatraj from Persian shatranj, which was used for adapting the name of the game in many languages such as Spanish (ajedrez).

Does anyone have anything to add or suggest?
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-'IwwIjDaq 'oH veS.
-ngoQ ghajnISbe' vIq. vIq ngoQ 'oH vIq. qatlh ngej rop'a' bIghelbe' 'ej qatlh meQ yotlh bIghelbe'. jISuvDI' meqwIj vIQIj 'e' DaghelQo'.
-qul ngaDHa' 'oH QeHwIj 'ej vaHbo' pubbogh 'Iw 'oH QeHwIj. choHIvmo' qaSuvbe'. bIyIntaHmo' qaSuv.
chalvatlh
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« Reply #1 on: 07 03, 2011, 12:30: PM »

For "check" and "checkmate," I'd use ta' ("the emperor") and vangbe' ta' ("the emperor cannot take action") to mirror the original Persian Shāh ("the king") and Shāh Māt ("the king is helpless"), from which "check" and "checkmate" originated in the first place. Or perhaps just adapt it the same way and use cheq and cheqmet (which don't otherwise have any meaning), respectively.
How about ta' vonlu' ("the Emperor is trapped"; also slang for "the Emperor fails utterly").

As for the name of the game itself, the word cheS doesn't otherwise have a meaning as far as I know. Perhaps veSQuj, an invented compound from veS ("the concept of war") and Quj ("game"). Perhaps adapting a name of an older version of it into chatranga' from Indian chaturanga or shatraj from Persian shatranj, which was used for adapting the name of the game in many languages such as Spanish (ajedrez).
Since the Klingons have primarily interacted with speakers of Federation Standard, they'd likely adopt the word chess rather than any of the older versions.
In The Final Reflection by John M. Ford, Kethas refers to chess as "the human zha" (and latrunculo as "the rom zha"). In A Burning House by Keith R.A. DeCandido, klin zha is written as tlhInja, so perhaps chess could be called Humanja or Human ja.
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El Payaso Malo
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« Reply #2 on: 07 03, 2011, 07:24: PM »

How about ta' vonlu' ("the Emperor is trapped"; also slang for "the Emperor fails utterly").

I had considered that, but Klingon for the Galactic Traveler specifically stated that it wouldn't be used for games but only for serious things such as politics or fighting, but that luj ("fail;" "lose") would be used instead. It's a shame on that one, because ta' vonlu' rolls off the tongue nicely. If you want to say that it's hyperbole and they are referring to the little monarch as if she's in a real battle, that might be something.

Since the Klingons have primarily interacted with speakers of Federation Standard, they'd likely adopt the word chess rather than any of the older versions.

Very true, but I considered the fact that the Klingon word for the human homeworld is tera', which is derived from the old word "Terra" instead of the more common and more modern word "Earth," so I considered the possibility that they might likewise derive a few other words from older and/or more poetic terms instead of what is commonly used in the parlance of our times.

In The Final Reflection by John M. Ford, Kethas refers to chess as "the human zha" (and latrunculo as "the rom zha"). In A Burning House by Keith R.A. DeCandido, klin zha is written as tlhInja, so perhaps chess could be called Humanja or Human ja.

I was really trying to avoid the novels entirely on this issue, even though I've been meaning to check out DeCandido for years now.
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-'IwwIjDaq 'oH veS.
-ngoQ ghajnISbe' vIq. vIq ngoQ 'oH vIq. qatlh ngej rop'a' bIghelbe' 'ej qatlh meQ yotlh bIghelbe'. jISuvDI' meqwIj vIQIj 'e' DaghelQo'.
-qul ngaDHa' 'oH QeHwIj 'ej vaHbo' pubbogh 'Iw 'oH QeHwIj. choHIvmo' qaSuvbe'. bIyIntaHmo' qaSuv.
chalvatlh
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« Reply #3 on: 07 03, 2011, 08:00: PM »

How about ta' vonlu' ("the Emperor is trapped"; also slang for "the Emperor fails utterly").

I had considered that, but Klingon for the Galactic Traveler specifically stated that it wouldn't be used for games but only for serious things such as politics or fighting, but that luj ("fail;" "lose") would be used instead. It's a shame on that one, because ta' vonlu' rolls off the tongue nicely. If you want to say that it's hyperbole and they are referring to the little monarch as if she's in a real battle, that might be something.
Good point; I'd forgotten about that.

Since the Klingons have primarily interacted with speakers of Federation Standard, they'd likely adopt the word chess rather than any of the older versions.
Very true, but I considered the fact that the Klingon word for the human homeworld is tera', which is derived from the old word "Terra" instead of the more common and more modern word "Earth," so I considered the possibility that they might likewise derive a few other words from older and/or more poetic terms instead of what is commonly used in the parlance of our times.
True, although I suspect the use of the word Terra may come from the fact that Humans themselves often used such adjectives as Terran or terrestrial, and sometimes used the word Terran as a noun to avoid the connotations that come with the word human.
[Actually, I suspect it's because the script-writers thought it sounded science-fiction:y, but I'm ignoring that here because retconning is more fun.]
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El Payaso Malo
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« Reply #4 on: 07 03, 2011, 09:02: PM »

True, although I suspect the use of the word Terra may come from the fact that Humans themselves often used such adjectives as Terran or terrestrial, and sometimes used the word Terran as a noun to avoid the connotations that come with the word human.
[Actually, I suspect it's because the script-writers thought it sounded science-fiction:y, but I'm ignoring that here because retconning is more fun.]

There's also the Mirror Universe, were "Terra" and its derivatives are used entirely over "Earth."

Other things that I had considered included the fact that both Indian and Persian have sharper, harsher sounds than English. I figured that when Earthlings were first describing the game's history to Klingons, names such as shatranj might stick out and be more appealing than the very soft word "Chess." Even the Swedish Schack sounds rougher.
« Last Edit: 07 03, 2011, 09:25: PM by El Payaso Malo » Logged

-'IwwIjDaq 'oH veS.
-ngoQ ghajnISbe' vIq. vIq ngoQ 'oH vIq. qatlh ngej rop'a' bIghelbe' 'ej qatlh meQ yotlh bIghelbe'. jISuvDI' meqwIj vIQIj 'e' DaghelQo'.
-qul ngaDHa' 'oH QeHwIj 'ej vaHbo' pubbogh 'Iw 'oH QeHwIj. choHIvmo' qaSuvbe'. bIyIntaHmo' qaSuv.
El Payaso Malo
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« Reply #5 on: 07 06, 2011, 11:11: AM »

I think it should be obvious that the two armies will be called something similar to the Earth game. Which sounds better:
qIjwI'mey ("the black ones") and chISwI'mey ("the white ones")
HurghwI'mey ("the dark ones") and wovwI'mey ("the light ones")
I thought about the possibility that Klingons might actually anthropomorphize these pieces and use something like qIjwI'pu' ("the black ones) or wovwI'pu' ("the light ones")
mangghom qIj ("the black army") and mangghom chIS ("the white army")
mangghom wov ("the light army") and mangghom Hurgh ("the dark army")

Of course, in true Klingon tradition, the enemy pieces are always referred to as being HoH ("killed") and never jon ("captured").

Modern rooks are depicted as towers and are referred to as such in most languages. Instead of wanting to call it something that means "building" or "structure," I wanted to reflect its original meaning as "chariot" (which is also what the original Persian rukh meant). The modern equivalent of a war chariot would be a tank, but I was unable to find a Klingon word for "tank" or any kind of ground assault vehicle. veSDuj ("warship") seems to be the closest fit, but I'm still looking for a better word that means "ground assault vehicle" and is no more than two syllables long.

I have seen some themed chess sets that feature pieces based on famous battles and wars. For example, I have seen one based on World War II in which half the pieces look like US soldiers and the other half look like Werhmacht troops, with the kings being Franklin Roosevelt (complete with wheelchair) and Adolf Hitler. I was thinking that Klingons might likewise base sets on famous battles because they often reenact them. However, I wasn't sure if Klingons would be comfortable with that, as they reenact things as they had happened (or at least how they are traditionally believed to have happened) and basing sets on famous battles might not work due to it offering the possibility of things occurring differently. For example, a set based on the epic struggle between Kahless and Molor (molor suvchu' qeylIS) might offend Klingons because it opens the possibility of Molor winning, which would just be unheard of and a serious break of tradition.
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-'IwwIjDaq 'oH veS.
-ngoQ ghajnISbe' vIq. vIq ngoQ 'oH vIq. qatlh ngej rop'a' bIghelbe' 'ej qatlh meQ yotlh bIghelbe'. jISuvDI' meqwIj vIQIj 'e' DaghelQo'.
-qul ngaDHa' 'oH QeHwIj 'ej vaHbo' pubbogh 'Iw 'oH QeHwIj. choHIvmo' qaSuvbe'. bIyIntaHmo' qaSuv.
El Payaso Malo
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« Reply #6 on: 04 05, 2012, 04:33: AM »

Thanks to Klingon Monopoly, we have words for game piece (QujwI' lIw) and game board (Quj 'echlet).
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-'IwwIjDaq 'oH veS.
-ngoQ ghajnISbe' vIq. vIq ngoQ 'oH vIq. qatlh ngej rop'a' bIghelbe' 'ej qatlh meQ yotlh bIghelbe'. jISuvDI' meqwIj vIQIj 'e' DaghelQo'.
-qul ngaDHa' 'oH QeHwIj 'ej vaHbo' pubbogh 'Iw 'oH QeHwIj. choHIvmo' qaSuvbe'. bIyIntaHmo' qaSuv.
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« Reply #7 on: 04 10, 2012, 11:02: PM »

Although the concept of the Human zha comes from TFR and thus klingonasse, the term on tlhIngan Hol could very well be terraja.

Of course that runs the risk of one thinking that chess is the only human game, although it could be argues that it is one of the most important human games.
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