Klingon Math - Marc Okrand

Maltz also explained how to talk about simple arithmetic functions, specifically addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. There are several ways of talking about such things, but the most common involves using the verbs boq "ally with, for an alliance with" and chen "take form."

Examples should make the usage of these words clear.

(a) Addition

"4 + 3 = 7" would be wej boq loS; chen Soch (literally, "four allies with three; seven forms"). It is also possible to reverse the two numbers being added: loS boq wej; chen Soch.

Note that in these mathematical constructions, the numbers, even those higher than "one," are considered singular from a grammatical point of view. One says wa' boq cha'; chen wej "2 + 1 = 3" (two allies with one, three forms"), not wa' luboq cha'... That is, the prefix lu-, indicating a third person plural subject and third person singular object, is not used. The subject ("two" in the example) is considered singular.

(b) Subtraction

For subtraction, the suffix -Ha' "undo" is attached to boq producing boqHa', literally "dis-ally" or "dissociate from." Thus "4 - 3 = 1" would be loS boqHa' wej; chen wa' (literally, "three dissociates from four, one forms").

When subtracting, the subject and object cannot be reversed without changing the equation. wej boqHa' loS would be "3 - 4" and the answer would be a negative number (a concept Maltz wanted to postpone for another time).

(c) Multiplication

In Klingon, multiplication involves a number allying with itself. Thus, the suffix -'egh "oneself" is used: boq'egh "ally with oneself." It is the necessary to specify how many times this alliance occurs.

For example, "2 x 3 = 6" would be cha'logh boq'egh wej; chen jav ("twice, three allies with itself, six forms"). The multiplier and multiplicand may be reversed: wejlogh boq'egh cha' ("3 x 2," "three times, two allies with itself").

(d) Division

Paralleling multiplication, division in Klingon involves a number dissociating from itself a specific number of times. The verb used is boqHa''egh "dis-ally from oneself, dissociate from oneself," containing both -Ha' "undo" and -'egh "oneself."

For example, "6 / 3 = 2" is wejlogh boqHa''egh jav; chen cha' ("three times, six dissociates from itself, two forms"). Reversing the dividend and the divisor changes the equation. javlogh boqHa''egh wej would be "3 / 6" and the answer would be a fraction (another topic Maltz didn't want to get into).