Maltz's Reward
Part I

Maltz recently received what was,
for him, an overwhelming
number of requests for new
vocabulary from those who were
able to supply the missing words in
Frasier's Klingon bar mitzvah
speech. He's resolved to honor all
the requests, but has chosen to do so
piecemeal rather than all at once.
Here is the first of what will be
several installments.

After looking over the list of
words, Maltz decided to start with
the end. That is, to start with "end."

The requester of "end" specified
that he was looking for "end" as in
the end of a stick or the two ends of
a piece of string, and noted that, in
Klingon, there may be different
words for the end of a hallway or
the end of the week.

There are two general words
used to refer to the end of an object
that has discernible length (like a
stick or a piece of string): megh'an
and 'er'In. The words seem to be
used interchangeably when referring
to only one end of the object, but
once either megh'an or 'er'In has
been used for one end, that is the
only word used for that end (within
that sentence or conversation or bit
of discourse). The speaker or
participants in a conversation do
not go back and forth between the
two. Similarly, if one means either
end of the stick and it doesn't make
any difference which end, the same
rule applies: Either word is fine, but,
for that discourse, only the one is

If a distinction is being made
between the two ends, then both
words are used. It is not the case,
however, that, even during the
conversation, megh'an is used for
one specific end and 'er'In for the
other. They may flip-flop, as long as
the intent of the speaker is to keep
the ends distinct.

Maltz figured this would be a
little confusing, so he provided some
examples. Let's say, he said, that
there were three commands given in
a row. First, one would use either (1)
or (2) to give the command "Grasp
the end of the stick" when it didn't
matter which end.

(1) naQ megh'an yI'uch

(2) naQ 'er'In yI'uch

(naQ stick, yI- imperative, singular
object, 'uch grasp)

If the next command were "Let
go of the end of the stick," if (1)
were used the first time, (3) would
be used; if (2) were used the first
time, (4) would be used.

(3) naQ megh'an yI'uchHa'

(4) naQ 'er'In yI'uchHa'

(-Ha' undo)

If the third command is, once
again, "Grasp the end of the stick,"
(1) would be repeated if it were used
the first time, or (2) would be
repeated if it were used the first
time. It would be inappropriate to
use (2) if (1) were used the first time
and vice versa. But it does not
matter which end of the stick is
actually grasped. If the grasper
grasped the end other than the one
grasped the first time, this would be
fine. The word megh'an or 'er'In
refers to an end, not to a specific

Contrast this with these three
commands, given one after the

(5) naQ megh'an yI'uch
grasp the end of the stick

(6) naQ megh'an yI'uchHa'
let go of the end of the stick

(7) naQ 'er'In yI'uch
grasp the (other) end of the stick

It doesn't matter which end of
the stick the grasper grasps first. The
point of (7) is to grasp the other end.
The speaker is making a distinction
between the two ends. Of course, if
'er'In is used in (5) and (6), megh'an
would be used in (7).

Note also:

(8) naQ megh'an 'er'In je tI'uch

(9) naQ 'er'In megh'an je tI'uch

(je and, tI- imperative, plural object)

Both of these would probably be
translated "grasp both ends of the
stick," but they are literally closer to
"grasp the end and the other end of
the stick." The notion of "ends"
(plural) is normally expressed in this
way. megh'anmey and 'er'Inmey
(with the plural suffix -mey would
refer to ends of different things, not
to two ends of the same thing.


(10) naQ megh'an
'er'In ghap yI'uch

(11) naQ 'er'In
megh'an ghap yI'uch

(ghap either/or)

These would probably be
translated "grasp either end of the
stick," but they are literally closer to
"grasp the end or the other end of
the stick." We don't know, at this
point, whether the grasper will grasp
the megh'an or the 'er'In. In the rest
of the conversation, the speaker
would choose either megh'an or
'er'In and stick with that for the end
that the grasper grasps. Though both
(10) and (11) are grammatical and
perfectly fine, as a practical matter,
they mean the same thing as (1) and
(2), since the idea is to grasp one
end of the stick and it doesn't
matter which one.

Occasionally, there is a specific
word for the end of something. For
example, the sharp end of a spear is
the QIn and the top of a cane
(whether one used ceremonially or
one that is simply a walking aid) is
the chaS. It would be odd to hear
either of these referred to as a
megh'an or a 'er'In.

When shown a pencil, Maltz
said that the sharp end could be
called a QIn, but if the pencil were
new and did not yet have a point,
the ready-to-be-sharpened end
would be a megh'an or 'er'In.

For the end of a longish
enclosed space that one is typically
inside or experiences from the
inside, such as a corridor, tunnel, or
conduit (say, Jeffries tube or a
branch of the sewers of Paris), a
different word is used: qa'rI'. This is
the only word; it's used for both (or
all) ends. The open entryway leading
into such a space is called a DIn. If
there's a door there, it's referred to
by the usual word for door, lojmIt.

qa'rI' is also used for the end of
bounded space which is seen as
having length even if it is not
enclosed space. Thus, it is used for
the end of a road, the end of a
bridge, the end of a long field.
(Maltz didn't think it would mean
much of anything to refer to the
qar'I' of a square field.)

On the other hand, if a bridge is
under construction and lies halfway
across a river or gorge or freeway, it
may be said to have a megh'an (or
'er'In). One could, in theory, hang a
sign or flag from the megh'an (or
'er'In), but one could walk on this
incomplete bridge only as far as the

When dealing with temporal, as
opposed to physical, length, the
words for the "end" are altogether

Generally, one expresses the end
of a stretch of time by using a verb
rather than a noun. That is, one says
"when the month ends" rather than
"at the end of the month." The verb
for this kind of "end' is Dor. For

DorDI' jar mejpu'
At the end of the month, he/she left

Literally, this sentence means
"When the month ended, he/she
left" (-DI' when, jar month, mejpu'
he/she left).

When an event over which one
has some control ends (one can't
cause a month to end), a different
verb is used: van. This would apply
to such things as voyages, battles,
plays, operas, stories, and songs.
Here, the event (the voyage, the
song) doesn't end; the participant in
the event or the perpetrator of the
event ends it. For example:

leng vanDI' SuvwI'pu' 'IQ chaH
At the end of the voyage,
the warriors are sad

bom vanDI' SuvwI'pu' tlhutlh chaH
At the end of the song,
the warriors drink

Literally, these sentences mean
"When the warriors end the voyage,
they are sad" (leng voyage, -DI'
when, SuvwI'pu' warriors, 'IQ be sad,
chaH they) and "When the warriors
end the song, they drink" (bom
song, tlhutlh drink).

Another verb, ghang, is used to
express the idea of a premature
ending. If, using the same examples,
the voyage is cut short or the song is
interrupted before the final part is
sung, one would say:

leng ghangDI' SuvwI'pu' 'IQ chaH
When the warriors end the voyage
prematurely, they are sad

bom ghangDI' SuvwI'pu'
tlhutlh chaH

When the warriors end the song
prematurely, they drink

Note that the voyage and the song
cannot end themselves. Someone
has to end them.

Maltz said he wasn't sure
whether van end and van salute
were really the same word, but he
found it interesting that Klingons
end things by saluting them. He said
there was no connection at all
between Dor end and Dor escort.

There is a difference between
the end of the performance of a
song or opera or play, indicated by
making use of the verbs van and
ghang, and the ending, or final
portion, of a song or opera or play

For an opera, play, story
speech, and so on, the final portion
is its bertlham. This word usually
refers to the last aria or other
musical portion in an opera, last
speech in a play, last sentence or so
of a story or an address. The
bertlham of a well-known work is
often well-known itself, as is its
beginning (bI'reS).

For a song -- but only for a song
-- the final portion is its 'o'megh.
Parallel to bertlham, 'o'megh is the
final phrase or so of the song, one
that brings the song to a definite
conclusion. All songs have endings
('o'meghmey), some more elaborate
or stirring than others. (Maltz noted
that there are Federation songs with
'o'meghmey he has never heard,
and he finds this disconcerting. He
said that performers of these songs
just sort of fade away before the
song has ended properly. He referred
to the ending of such a song is its
'o'meghqoq so-called ending.) To
begin to sing a song is to lIH
(literally, introduce) the song, and
that portion of the song that comes
at the beginning --- a portion that is
often so familiar that listeners know
what song it is after hearing just that
short portion --- is the namtun.

Finally, for the beginning of a
list (of names or words, for example,
whether spoken out loud or written
on a scroll), one would say simply
pong wa'DIch first name or mu'
first word. For the end, one
could say pong HochDIch last name
or mu' HochDIch last word, but one
could also use a special term for the
end of the list, natlIS.

There are, of course, other ways
to express notions of ends and
endings, such as making use of the
words rIn be finished, mev stop, baq
terminate, discontinue and the
perfective suffixes -pu' and -ta'. But
Maltz did not want to get into these.
He concluded the discussion by
walking out of the room after
uttering the single word pItlh.