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  5. "SuD paq 'ej wov."

"SuD paq 'ej wov."

Translation:The book is light blue.

May 5, 2018



Thank you all for your perspectives; I have to use my imagination (and pray that no bomb ever becomes involved).


Obviously, this makes no real sense. But I'd love some advice on how to appreciate it.


This phrase has a bit of a problem with it. The Klingon word SuD refers to all shades of color between what English calls yellow, green, and blue. The book Klingon for the Galactic Traveler tells us that something that is SuD 'ej wov blue/green/yellow and light, it is what we'd call yellowish. Unfortunately, the EuroTalk TalkNow! application calls SuD 'ej wov something light blue.

I think the yellowish translation is the correct one. I suspect someone saw SuD as just blue and decided that SuD 'ej wov must mean light blue.

By the way, SuDqu' very SuD means greenish. TalkNow! says SuD 'ej Hurgh SuD and dark means dark blueish.


Good try! If I had to choose, I too would go with the Source. But imagine a klingon engineer trying to defuse a bomb (just don't clip the BLUE wire)! If I ever get to tackle this in an actual conversation, it will be a real challenge. (And I understand that klingons have their own ways of making bombs).


Different languages have different levels of specifying colors. There are languages that have, for instance, different words for different shades of blue, and are confused when we just say "blue." In some languages, there is no separate word for pink; they just say light red.

In Klingon, you have only for basic color terms: qIj be black, chIS be white, SuD be blue, green, yellow, and Doq be red, orange. To be more specific, you can create phrases like SuD 'ej wov, which refers to the lighter end of the SuD spectrum (yellow).


tlhIngan wa': jorwI' Dachu'Ha'meH baS SIrgh SuD yIpe'.

tlhIngan cha': cha' baS SIrgh SuD tu'lu' jay'!

tlhIngan wa': SuDbogh baS SIrgh 'ej wovbogh yIpe'. baS SIrgh SuDqu' yIHotQo'.

Klingon One: To deactivate the bomb, cut the SuD wire.

Klingon Two: There are two ^&$%%$ SuD wires!

Klingon One: Cut the yellow wire. Don't touch the green wire.


It's not my logic; it's how languages work. Not every language splits colors at the same places, and speakers of other languages honestly perceive colors as belonging to different groups. Try reading this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_term#Cultural_differences


I'll have fun deciphering the above.
I may even come to appreciate your logic. But colors are still understood visually, and with my limited imagination and vocabulary, it would be a real challenge to make myself understood in English this way. But we're learning Klingon for the fun of it, and if I ever find myself challenged in this way (except for the bomb), I'll consider myself fortunate. Thanks for the conversation.

And I think I got it! If I think of the light spectrum, "light," "very," and "dark" could describe yellow, green, and blue. Which would maybe explain why klingons can't perceive purple, which would be "light black."

Good try Lee, but that can't be it. Because that would make blue "light green," green "very green," and yellow, "dark green" (I peeked at the visible light spectrum).
But practice make perfect, and I'll keep trying.


Think of the Klingon colors as:
chIS - white
SuD - cool
Doq - warm
qIj - black

Klingons CAN recognize the difference between blue and yellow and if it's really important they can talk about something being blue or yellow. But they don't usually bother to describe colors more specifically unless the distinct hue is important. When I see something that is aqua in color, I usually decide if it's more blue or more green and just call it that. Think of Klingon that way. When they talk about primary colors they divide them into cool and warm - they decide if it's cool or warm and call it that. They see all of blue, green, and yellow as cool and red, orange, and brown as warm.


Thank you, Jeremy. That's the useful perspective, I'm sure. Still (I gotta say it), when I think of yellow, the "coolest" temp that I can muster is, "tepid."
I guess that Marc Okrand had never imagined that this discussion could take place, when he created the language.

I love working my mind like a Rubrik's cube, from the Warrior's point of view.


Okrand put yellow into the "cool" colors on purpose. There is a linguistic theory about how basic color terms work in natural languages (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Color_Terms:_Their_Universality_and_Evolution), and putting yellow in the cool colors word intentionally violates that.

That's why you have trouble feeling that yellow is a cool color: because in natural languages, it's not! Klingons are different.


OK, I interpreted that differently because as I understand it, stage IV languages (with a word for green but no separate word for blue) call shades of blue by their word for "green", which then effectively is a "grue" colour (cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue%E2%80%93green_distinction_in_language ).

For example, glas in Celtic and aoi in Japanese may be such "blue–green" continuum colours.

Thus I assumed that the other basic colour terms could also be wider than the English ones, e.g. just as "green" could include blue, so "red" could include orange and pink.

And from there I assumed that "yellow" might be inside the "green–blue" colour rather than the "white/light" colours.

But I haven't studied colour naming much.


I haven't either, and it doesn't really matter whether you believe the hypothesis or not. The point is it is well known in linguistics and oft-repeated, and Klingon was designed to go out of its way to throw a wrench in the works.


Is that a violation?

I assume that "red" is a warm colour, and the way I read the Wikipedia article you linked to, a "stage III" language would have four colour terms: "dark", "light", "red", and "either green or yellow".

That sounds rather like qIj, chIS, Doq, SuD, with SuD being the "either green or yellow" colour. (I'm not sure what the prototypical shade of SuD would be.)


The article uses English words to describe the colors, so when it says "red," it means exactly what English means by "red."

Klingon doesn't follow this scheme at all. "Dark, light, red, yellow" (one possible Stage III) means "all dark and light colors except for red and yellow, plus what English calls red, plus what English calls yellow." Klingon has "black, white, all dark colors, all light colors," where Klingons define yellow as a dark color. Having four color terms meaning "black, white, dark, cool," this doesn't match the scheme at all.

The linguistic joke is that Klingon groups the shade we call "yellow" into the cool/dark colors. Maybe I was misdirecting a bit by linking to the Berlin and Kay entry.


We studied Berlin and Kay's work, to some extent, when I was an undergrad linguistics student, and I found it a subject of particular interest. In order to be a Stage III language by Berlin and Kay's standards, the language must have a SEPARATE standard term meaning either specifically green or yellow, in addition to the light/dark categories named in Stage I (in Klingon, Doq and SuD), and one which is not described as a variation of one of these color terms, but by its own name alone. Klingon doesn't have separate terms for either yellow or green; it only has the SuD (dark) group. It's arguable that Klingon doesn't even have a separate term for red, at least not yet; warm colors such as red, orange, pink, and brown are all still covered by variations on Doq. To my mind, at least this puts Klingon squarely in the Stage I group - definitely not in Stage III.

I think what David was getting at, although it may not be clearly stated in the Wikipedia article, is that normally, yellow is included in the Doq (bright) group, and not in the SuD group. This is where Okrand purposely threw a wrench in the works. I'm actually slightly relieved to hear he did it on purpose, as it perplexed me, too. :-)

As for the prototypical color of SuD, I would imagine it's a sort of dark, muddy bluish green, although it's important to remember that these terms are not so much describing one color as they are covering a range of colors. Remember that this "dark" color term doesn't normally include yellow. Interestingly, in the languages I have studied, at least, before languages develop a word for the color brown, brown objects (such as trees or wood) are often described as being a shade of yellow. But in Klingon, brown is denoted by Doq 'ej wovbe' ("warm-colored and not light"). This shows how the terms for yellow and brown - which are normally closely related - are actually put at odds with each other by Okrand's grouping of yellow with SuD: yellow is (artificially, you might say) in the SuD category, but brown is in the Doq category. This goes against linguistic convention, in which these two would normally fall within the same "light" or "dark" group. This could be another thing Okrand also did on purpose, or it could have happened by accident, when he had to come up with a way to describe brown. I'd be very interested in discussing this with him further.


The "light" color term is Doq, not Doj.


Thanks David, I did realize I was making that Doj/Doq error shortly after posting, but in-app, it's impossible to edit comments, and difficult to find them again afterwards, so that I often have to wait until someone replies to a particular comment to locate it. I have edited my original comment; I hope I got them all.


On the contrary. I imagine that he cackled maniacally when he considered the resulting chaos.

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