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Author Topic: Klingon Compass Directions  (Read 18207 times)
Klythe
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« on: 10 09, 2003, 07:29: AM »

(Edit -- continued from The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Trefoil)

posted on 10-23-2002 at 04:50 AM

Funny, I thought there were only three Klingon directions. East, roughly Northwest and roughly SouthWest, this uses four directions... I'll have to look up where I got that direction thing, but I thought it was a Quote from Okrand...
« Last Edit: 04 21, 2004, 05:05: AM by Kesvirit » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: 02 25, 2004, 07:53: PM »

After a small search through the allmighty web of pages, I found this:
====================================================
"Maltz Online", from *{HolQeD} 8:4*, pages 6-10
Article by Marc Okrand
Klingon Language Institute, Flourtown, PA
ISSN 1061­232


Traditionally, in dealing with
orientation, bearings, headings, and
so forth, Klingons have divided
things up into three, not four,
primary directions or compass
points.

     There are three nouns for these
principal points. The translation of
these words using terminology
familiar to the Federation are a little
awkward, but they give an idea of
the meanings:

{chan}
area eastward / area towards the east

{'ev}
area northwestward /
area towards the northwest

{tIng}
area southwestward /
area towards the southwest
====================================================
Hope that helps
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« Reply #2 on: 04 20, 2004, 11:31: AM »

I know this is getting away from the ritual idea here, but after re-reading this thread I suddenly thought about something. If there are only three directions on the Klingon compas....could the Imperial Trefoil be a form of ancient compas? Perhaps the longer point is chan, with the two lesser points being 'ev and ting respectively. This would certainly make sense as a recuring theme in Klingon art and culture.
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« Reply #3 on: 04 21, 2004, 07:55: AM »

Quote
Okrand via SoplaHtaHwI'
Traditionally, in dealing withorientation, bearings, headings, and so forth, Klingons have divided things up into three, not four, primary directions or compass points. ...***
{chan} area eastward / area towards the east
{'ev} area northwestward / area towards the northwest
{tIng} area southwestward / area towards the southwest
How was such a mapping system developed? When I was struggling through crystal systems and operations of symmetry in mineralogy class, I was taught that electricity could only flow along one axis. Doing this with metals in which electricity runs along the north-south axis is the origins of the more precise of the two predominant Terran directional mapping systems.  

The way to gain another axis is to bend the one you've got ninety degrees. Thus were the more relative directions of east and west added to the more consistent (but not absolute -- magnetic north wanders in varying amounts depending on planetary composition) north-south axis.

How does one get a reliable directional system that isn't binary in origin, such as the tertiary east/northwest/southwest proposed?

I haven't been able to find mention of a mineral that has a three-fold center of rotation that conducts but doesn't mirror or twin into something with a predominant axis? Are there any geophysicists in the house?

Quote
qoSagh....could the Imperial Trefoil be a form of ancient compas? Perhaps the longer point is chan, with the two lesser points being 'ev and ting respectively.
Perhaps the Homeworld is like Uranus and rotates at such a tilt that it is in effect lying on its side.  This could explain why {chan}/east is the only direction without a qualifier (north-west. south-west), and the largest flange of the komerex stela points in that direction.

Anyone have anything to add to make this a plausable system?

-=- Kesvirit the Konfused
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« Reply #4 on: 04 21, 2004, 08:40: PM »

My research indicates East was chosen and defined with reasonable precision as the direction  from which the sun rises.  This would be noticable to cultures long before the magnetic properties of materials is discovered.

   This raises the question of why there isn't a West, for direction that the sun sets...  I have no sane answers for this.  The best I can come up with is that there was, but it fell out of use when 'ev and ting became standard.  Or maybe the word for west was 'evting, and linguistic drift eventually split it into the two seperate concepts as it is now.  

    Also the article I read explained that 'ev and ting are closer to each other than either is to chan.  This would support my wild speculation...

   I did preserve the article, I'll repost it when I can.   I had it posted before, but I guess it was lost...  
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« Reply #5 on: 04 22, 2004, 02:02: AM »

OK, so we know that on Earth there are four directions, and that two of them come from bending the other two in a 90 degree angle. It would be presumtuous of us to assume that Klingons, especially the ancients, worked along the same theoretical lines as humans at all. For whatever reason three is a magic number in Klingon as it is in schoolhouse rock. Remember that the counting system is based on threes, and so is the compas. Perhaps the directions of ev' and ting were arrived at by bending the existing direction of chan in both directions for a given amount of degrees from the zero mark. All they have to be is more than 90 and they would be "closer to each other than either is chan".

To pick chan as being where the sun rises, is also presumtuous. We really don't know where the sun rises on the homeworld, or why one specific direction was named first it could have been where the volcano was or the direction that the enemy rode in from. I would think that the lack of a west is a good argument that chan is not solar based at all. I would theorize that ev' and ting are little more than (to the right of chan) and (to the left of chan).
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« Reply #6 on: 04 22, 2004, 03:52: AM »

Subject: Re: Cardinal Directions (to Marc Okrand)
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 23:53:05 -0500
From: "Marc Okrand" <mokrand@erols.com>
Newsgroups: startrek.klingon

Kamala KordaS wrote in message
<01be6bfa$95361c60$67b962cf@juniper>...
>What are the cardinal directions in tlhIngan Hol?
>east
>west
>south
>north
>As well as all the variants of directions such as
>northeast, southeast etc. If Mr. Okrand could answer
>that would be great. I have been unable to locate any
>reference to these directions in the Dictionaries or
>other books by Mr. Okrand.
>


Traditionally, in dealing with orientation, bearings,
headings, and so forth, Klingons have divided things up
into three, not four, primary directions or compass points.

There are three nouns for these principal points.  The
translations of these words using terminology familiar to
the Federation are a little awkward, but they give an idea
of the meanings:

    chan    "area eastward" or "area towards the east"

    'ev     "area northwestward" or "area towards the
northwest"

    tIng    "area southwestward" or "area towards the
southwest"

While the four main compass points used in the Federation
(north, east, south, west) are distributed evenly (that is,
they are 90 degrees apart from each other: north is 90
degrees away from east, east is 90 degrees away from south,
and so on), this is not the case in the Klingon system.
The three directions are not evenly spaced (that is, they
are not 120 degrees apart from each other).  Instead, the
areas associated with <'ev> and <tIng> are closer to each
other than either is to the area associated with <chan>.
(The areas associated with <'ev> and <tIng> are something
like 100 degrees apart from each other, and each is 130
degrees away from the area associated with <chan>.)

English words like "east" and "southwest" are, as noted,
just convenient tags for what the Klingon words mean.
Since <chan> actually refers to that part of the landscape
in the direction of the sunrise, "east" is a reasonable
English counterpart.  The standard translations of <'ev>
and <tIng> follow from the standard translation of <chan>.
But Klingon <chan> does not work the same as English
"east."  From the Klingon point of view, it makes no sense
to say that something is "in the east."  One can go towards
the east, something can be to the east of something else,
but nothing can actually be "in" the east.  No matter how
far eastward you go, there's something still to your east.
Thus the awkward translations "area eastward, area towards
the east" and so forth.  (And, of course, the same can be
said for the other directions.)

These Klingon direction nouns work in the same manner as
other nouns of location (nouns used to express
prepositional concepts) such as <Dung> "area above," <bIng>
"area below," and <retlh> "area beside, area next to."
Thus, just as <nagh Dung>, literally "rock area-above" or
"rock's area-above" (<nagh> "rock") is used for "above the
rock," <veng chan>, literally "city area-eastward" or
"city's eastward area" (<veng> "city") is commonly
translated "east of the city."

Depending on the sentence in which the phrase is used, the
second noun in this construction (in this case <chan> "area
eastward") could take the locative suffix <-Daq>, as in:

    veng chanDaq jIwam  "I hunt east of the city"

(<veng> "city," <chan> "area eastward," <jIwam> "I hunt")

The "city in the east" (actually, "city toward the east")
or "eastern city" would be the "area-eastward city": <chan
veng>.

Again, if appropriate, the locative suffix <-Daq> follows
the second noun:

    chan vengDaq jIwam  "I hunt in the city in the east"

The "city's east," meaning "the eastern part of the city,"
would make use of <yoS> "area, district": <veng chan yoS>
(literally "city area-eastward district" or "city's
eastward-area's district").

The directional nouns may also be used with possessive
suffixes.  For example (switching from the east, for the
sake of variety):

    'evwIj "northwest of me" (literally "my
area-northwestward")

    'evmaj "northwest of us" (literally "our
area-northwestward")

(<-wIj> "my," <-maj> "our")

These words may also be translated "northwest of here."
For example:

    'evmajDaq jIwampu'  "I have hunted northwest of here"

(<'evmaj> "northwest of us," <-Daq> "locative suffix,"
<jIwampu'> "I have hunted")

This works only when the speaker is indeed "here" (that is,
referring to the place in which he or she is currently
speaking).  If, however, "here" is a place on a map that
the speaker is pointing to, "northwest of here" would be
something along the lines of <Daqvam 'ev>, literally
"this-location area-northwestward" or "this place's
area-northwestward" (<Daq> "location, site," <-vam>
"this").

To express directions between the three cardinal points,
the nouns are compounded.  Thus, halfway between
"southwest" and "east" (that is, halfway between <tIng>
"area southwestward" and <chan> "area eastward)"  is <tIng
chan> (literally "area-southwestward area-eastward" or
"area-southwestward's area-eastward" or, for short,
"southwest's east").  Similarly, halfway between
"northwest" and "east" is <'ev chan>.  Logically, these
words could come in the other order (that is, <chan tIng>
or <chan 'ev>), but, for whatever reason, <chan> always
comes second.
The area halfway between "northwest" and "southwest" is
expressed as either <'ev tIng> or <tIng 'ev>, with neither
version significantly more common than the other.

To get even more specific, it is possible to make a
compound of three words (though two would always be the
same): <'ev chan 'ev> would be a direction halfway between
<'ev chan> and <'ev); <'ev chan chan> would be a direction
halfway between <'ev chan> and <chan>.

How this extends to even finer tuning is something pretty
much lost except to those knowledgeable in the old ways of
navigating.  In more recent times, those needing to express
directions with greater precision use (numerical)
instrumental readouts.

There is an idiomatic expression still heard with
reasonable frequency which makes use of all three cardinal
direction terms:

    tIngvo' 'evDaq chanDaq

Literally, this means "from area-southwestward to
area-northwestward to area eastward" (<-vo'> "from,"
<-Daq>, the locative suffix, here indicating "to"), but the
idiom means "all around, all over, all over the place."  It
is used in the same place in a sentence that the noun <Dat>
"everywhere" might be used, but it is much more emphatic:

    tIngvo' 'evDaq chanDaq jIlengpu'  "I've traveled all
over the place"

(<jIlengpu'> "I have traveled")

A more archaic form of the idiom is <tIngvo' 'evDaq 'evvo'
chanDaq> (literally, "from area-southwestward to
area-northwestward, from area-northwestward to area
eastward"), but the three-word version (without the
repetition of <'ev>) has all but totally replaced it.

Finally, it should be noted that none of this terminology
ever was adapted for navigation in space.  Klingons have
made use of the system common throughout the galaxy by
which courses, bearings, coordinates, and so forth are
given numerically:

    He wej pagh Soch DoD cha'  "course 3-0-7-mark-2"

(<He> "course," <wej> "three," <pagh>, "zero," <Soch>
"seven," <DoD> "mark," <cha'> "two")

[[eof]]
---------------------------------------------------------------

    The new navigation probably of HerQ origin.   This article wasn't as useful as I thought it was.  Do I have a talent for reading things into text that are not there, or what?
« Last Edit: 04 22, 2004, 04:21: AM by Klythe » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: 05 02, 2004, 05:54: PM »

Quote
Klythe: My research indicates East was chosen and defined with reasonable precision as the direction from which the sun rises. This would be noticable to cultures long before the magnetic properties of materials is discovered.
I mentioned magnetism as one of the two predominant Terran mapping systems; it is more precise than the other (the "sun rises in the east" system) because magnetic polar drift is less severe than planetary axis tilt. I never claimed that it came first. It seems more probable that the directions of sunrise/sunset or a fixed point in the night sky would have served as the initial compass point of reference. As the shies of the Homeworld are usually overcast (hence the importance of the naked stars as witnesses) the latter seems unlikely.

Quote
Klythe: The new navigation probably of HerQ origin.
Or Karsid. Or of one of the many peoples conquered as the Empire expanded. Or adapted by a race with whom early Klingon explorers had a brief "ships passing in the night without so much as exchanging fire" encounter. There are manny possibilities....

Quote
qoSagh: It would be presumtuous of us to assume that Klingons, especially the ancients, worked along the same theoretical lines as humans at all.
I assume no such thing. This is why I specified Earth-based mapping systems in my above post. Be careful when ascribing words to another's tongue. It could cost you yours.

I also never assumed that the sun rises {chan}/in the east on Klinzhai (or any other planet) as it does on Earth. It is Okrand who makes this mistake:
Quote
Since <chan> actually refers to that part of the landscape in the direction of the sunrise, "east" is a reasonable English counterpart.

Why otherwise reasonable Klinfolk presume that a Human linguist knows anything of comparative planetology and gives him such leeway as to define their own geographic reference points eludes me.

See here for more on the possible origins of the Imperial trefoil.

-=- Kesvirit
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« Reply #8 on: 05 02, 2004, 06:41: PM »

Quote
Or Karsid. Or of one of the many peoples conquered as the Empire expanded. Or adapted by a race with whom early Klingon explorers had a brief "ships passing in the night without so much as exchanging fire" encounter. There are manny possibilities....

   When Klingons acquired interstellar flight, the 'sun in the east' model is no longer usuable, a new orientation model is needed before ships can be used.   Whoever the Klingons acquired spaceflight technology from, be it Karsids in the oldschool model or HerQ in the new, would undoubtably be the one that the Klingons would adopt to take advantage of the existing navigation charts.
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« Reply #9 on: 05 04, 2004, 05:38: PM »

Quote
I also never assumed that the sun rises {chan}/in the east on Klinzhai (or any other planet) as it does on Earth. It is Okrand who makes this mistake:
Quote
Since <chan> actually refers to that part of the landscape in the direction of the sunrise, "east" is a reasonable English counterpart.

Why otherwise reasonable Klinfolk presume that a Human linguist knows anything of comparative planetology and gives him such leeway as to define their own geographic reference points eludes me.
I don't believe Dr. Okrand was commenting on planetology at all, he was simply saying that if an English speaker was on Qo'noS and saw the sun rising they may assume that the direction is to the East.

The names East, West, etc are totally subjective. It appears he was simply suggesting that "East" maybe the best English translation we have of chan on the assumption that in people's mind East is the direction in which the sun rises and not a feature of geology. He is a lingustic and not a geologist and we have such common names as "The land of the Rising Sun" for a certain country which is said to be in the "East".

I think you are anylizing his translation more than he intended it to be. In truth chan is chan, it's not East. It's a direction that really only means something on the surface of Qo'noS, but while we are here on the planet Earth we can compare it to East.

Just on the topic in general, I saw this pIqaD Compass linked to the Klingon livejournal site. I can't read the text around it but the layout looks cook.
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« Reply #10 on: 05 10, 2004, 02:51: PM »

Just when I tought we'd beaten this dead targh enough, I found myself going through some writings in preparation for a Klingon memorial service. One of the stories that gets read had been written before I came to these forums and featured warriors riding in from (SHUDDER) the north, south, east & west.

Needless to say I have just made the corrections so that they now ride in from the chan, 'ev, tIng....and becasue one was previously listed as comming from the far south, that became the tIng'a', whch I suppoes is more acurately "more southwest" than "farther southwest" buit it will do. At least the concept is easy to understand. Then I hit my liguistic snag. One warrior is said to have come from the valley to the east. since valley is ngech and east is chan, that made a compound word that seems cumbersome to say ngechchan, I even tried reversing them as channgech, whcih was of no help. More of a linguistic problem than a stellar one, but it was brought about by this great debate, so if nothing else makes an interesting footnote.

 
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« Reply #11 on: 05 10, 2004, 09:10: PM »

"a valley in the East" would be "chanDaq ngech" for something more like:

"chanDaq ngechvo' paw'pu'" = He arrived from a valley in the east

As for tIng'a', I really don't know what that would be something that is more tIng than tIng is. The "far south" just means that they are from a distant location. I would go with something more like "tIngDaq Daq Hop" = A far away place in the south.

Just my comments.
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« Reply #12 on: 05 10, 2004, 09:32: PM »

Thank you for the help. The first sugestion, which uses -Daq removes the verbal difficulties. The second which is a full sentance is not really useful only because the story is written in english, with only names and location in tlhIngan Hol. Before the revision the directions were in english also.

As for something being more tIng than tIng, I think that would be impossible. Being that one can never reach tIng, something may be more tIng than something else. I should have clarified that one warrior comes from the mountains in the south (whcih became tIng, since I'm the author I can move the mountains to southwest) another came from the cold lands of the far south, which I guess is beyond the mountains but I never specified that. This is the area that became tIng'a'. The cold lands are further tIng than the mountains, not further tIng than tIng.

 
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« Reply #13 on: 05 11, 2004, 02:24: AM »

The reason I said "more tIng than tIng" is that is what tIng'a' means.

For example:
bIQ'a' = Ocean, or a thing that has more bIQ than bIQ does
qul'a' = Inferno, or a thing that has more qul than qul does
loDHom = Boy, or a thing that has less loD than loD does

-'a' and -Hom don't just mean bigger or smaller versions of the noun, they are a completely new entity. Just looking at the examples above we can see this. bIQ'a' is an ocean because an ocean has more water in it than something we would normally call just water (I drink water but I go fishing in the ocean). qul'a' is an inferno because it has more fire in it than something we would normally just call a fire. loDHom is a boy because it's something that isn't fully a man.

There are just some words that you can't use -Hom and -'a' on them. The concepts created just don't have any logical sense (Doch'a' or logh'a' for example). I think the compass directions are similar words. tIng'a' just doesn't seem to have any kind of logical sense to it. It's a label for a thing that has more tIngness than tIng has, it's a more tIngy tIng...

Hopefully this makes sense. Smiley Maybe tIng Hop would work for "far south"? I don't often mixmatch English and Klingon like that, it just never sits right for me Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: 05 11, 2004, 08:27: AM »

Quote
Just when I tought we'd beaten this dead targh enough,
*shakes head* Shameful and wasteful. Dead targhmey should be eaten, not beaten. Unless you are tenderizing the meat.

Quote
I found myself going through some writings in preparation for a Klingon memorial service. One of the stories that gets read had been written before I came to these forums and featured warriors riding in from (SHUDDER) the north, south, east & west.
What is the source of these writings? Perhaps they are from an earlier time, before Okrand's proclamation from the skies.

Quote
Needless to say I have just made the corrections so that they now ride in from the chan, 'ev, tIng
I urge caution in doing so. Revising historical documents to conform to current paradigms and mores is akin to fitting them into a Procrustean bed. It  distorts and ultimately falsifies the original meaning of the text.

-=- Kesvirit
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« Reply #15 on: 05 12, 2004, 11:36: AM »

The (IRL) source is of course me. The (RPG) source is shrouded in the mists of Klingon history. I have from time to time made changes to the various works as long as they do not change the substance. I have done changes periodically to allof the writings, from correcting spellings (from english to tlhIngan Hol or klingonaase) to changing fonts to Klingon looking lettering. In the story, where the warriors come from is far less important than what they do when they arrive together. That and the story is only a few months old, being started last fall, so it has never been read publicly, and won't be untill the memorial service. This like so many other simple stories, was created specifically for this ceremony, but will now be usable at other times, although the moral is kind of specific to remembering the dead.

That has been the greatest value I have found on these forums is the learning potential from these discussions. The compas points just happened to be an example I came across recently.

 
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« Reply #16 on: 01 17, 2005, 08:51: PM »

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How does one get a reliable directional system that isn't binary in origin, such as the tertiary east/northwest/southwest proposed?

I haven't been able to find mention of a mineral that has a three-fold center of rotation that conducts but doesn't mirror or twin into something with a predominant axis? Are there any geophysicists in the house?

Perhaps the Homeworld is like Uranus and rotates at such a tilt that it is in effect lying on its side.  This could explain why {chan}/east is the only direction without a qualifier (north-west. south-west), and the largest flange of the komerex stela points in that direction.

Anyone have anything to add to make this a plausable system?

-=- Kesvirit the Konfused
Umm, I don't think that I quite like the idea of extreme axial tilt as it would have climatological implications that would probably make the home world uninhabitable.  Also, I can't think of a good reason why there would be a mineral that would have such an odd symmetry.  

However, I can think of a couple of ways to get three directions.  Which one would depend on how complicated we want to make matters.  Let's just consider the easiest one for now.

As was pointed out earlier in the thread, man knew of directions long before there was anything like a compass.  In fact, the great pyramid in Egypt is oriented based on simple astronomy that anyone can do.  On the day of an equinox, just mark a starting point for your measurements and lay down lines pointed at the horizon where the sun rises and sets.  Split the difference and you have a pretty good idea of what direction is eastward.  Also, Egypt being fairly close to the equator, the north star is close to the horizon year round.  But I digress...

I have to think that the origin of the three directions is rooted in something as simple as that.  If someone then develops a compass, it will certainly be useful but to some extent there will always be an element of “that is the way we have always done it”.  The old way will still be used at least until it becomes shrouded in historical obscurity.  Today we have an imperial trefoil and the origins have a simple explanation that nobody remembers.  But I digress...

OK enough of that.  The simple fact is that intersections of three things are common in nature.  A collection of many hills will create a network of valleys that almost always join in intersections of three.  If you stack a bunch of cans on their sides, they will make a triangle.  In ancient Rome, women would stand on the street corner and trade gossip, hence the Latin term for useless information: Trivia (three roads).

So ancient Klingons probably did something similar and just picked three directions because that makes a certain amount of sense.  How does the army march out of town?  Down one of the three valley roads.
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