Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 19:16:10 +0100
From: "Lieven Litaer" [email protected]
Subject: nIyma'
To: [email protected]

peqIm ghojwI'pu'!

rIn qepHom'a'qoqmaj, 'ej 'oH wItIvqu'ta'.

The 7th German qepHom'a' is over, and it was successful as every year. But, there was one attendee who just did not show up at all. He only showed up on friday night for dinner and stayed for one hour, and then on saturday also only for dinner, and then left again. He did not really see much of the qepHom at all.

His name was Nima (a persian male name of a flower), and the other attendees started to believe that that name is Klingon for a "ghost", pronounced like nIyma'.

I told Marc Okrand about that, and this was his answer:
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Hi, Lieven. Good to hear from you!

I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Maltz the other day and I told him about your email about nIyma'.

Maltz was very surprised. He said, "Where did they learn that word?" It turns out, nIyma' is the Klingon word for "phantom" or "apparition" -- something that seems to appear, but isn't really there. It's not the same as "ghost," which is the spirit of a dead person (and may or may not look like that person, or may not be visible at all), and it's not the same as "spirit" (or qa'), which is sort of a life force within a person (that escapes when a person dies and may exist somewhere somehow). He said using qa' for "ghost" was OK, but I got the impression there may be another word as well (though he didn't offer one). He said that although the word doesn't really mean "invited guest that doesn't show up," it made a lot of sense to him to use nIyma' to refer to such a person.

He also said that Nima should feel honored that his name is so similar to a Klingon word.

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Quvar valer 'utlh
aka Lieven L. Litaer
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