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« on: 11 09, 2014, 11:10: PM »

Hey guys,

I'm working on a project that involves a short, pithy phrase in Klingon. I love the stories of Kahless, and the Memory Alpha wiki mentioned that he was based on (among other things) Jesus Christ, King Arthur, and viking lore. I'd like the sentence to reflect one of the actual stories told in TNG (I'm looking at the Birthright episode, where Worf teaches a bunch of Klingon children about their heritage), as well as one of the figures that he's based on. I'd like the sentence to be "Kahless wept" - this is a reference to the story where Kahless' brother threw their father's sword into the ocean, and Kahless cried tears of rage and sorrow into the sea and created a flood. It is also a reference to the biblical sentence "Jesus wept."

I tried translating it myself, but I have no skill at these sorts of things. And the Klingon language is far more complicated than I gave it credit for - no simple mix and match of consonants, here! Would anybody be willing to help me with the translation? I couldn't find a word for "weep" (would there even be one in Klingon?), and I had trouble finding any example of past tense in the Klingon language. I don't mind word substitutions (such as "Kahless cried" if the Klingon language doesn't have a direct translation for "wept"), or adding words if strictly necessary (such as "Kahless created tears"), but my goal is to keep it as short and succinct as possible. I want it to be a small, powerful phrase, if at all possible.

Thank you so much for your help!
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« Reply #1 on: 11 09, 2014, 11:23: PM »

Unfortunately, Star Trek canon contradicts itself on the point of Klingon tears. As you noted, Kahless was alleged to have wept. OTOH, in ST:VI, Spock claims that Klingons have no tear ducts. My take on this is that Spock lied, but Marc Okrand, the creator of the Klingon language, reconciled this in another way.

In HolQeD 12:4 (that's the journal of the Klingon Language Institute), he wrote:
For Klingons, even though there is a word for "cry" ({SaQ}), there is no word for "tear" or "tears," undoubtedly because Klingons have no tear ducts. The only thing Maltz could think of that eyes do from time to time is "redden" ({DoqchoH}, literally "become red" or "change to red").

So "Kahless cried" would be SaQ qeylIS. There is no word or phrase for "to produce tears", though I suppose you could use a longer phrase like "Kahless' eyes leaked water", but I think that to a Klingon, that would sound like he had an eye infection or something.

Klingon does not indicate tense, past or otherwise, grammatically. SaQ qeylIS can mean "Kahless wept" or "Kahless weeps" or "Kahless will weep", depending on context.
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