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  5. "naQ tIq ghaj reSwI'."

"naQ tIq ghaj reSwI'."

Translation:The wizard has a long staff.

August 16, 2018



Three related comments/queries about this sentence:

  1. naQ is defined as either "staff" or "stick", which makes me wonder whether our reSwI' is holding a long staff (à la Gandalf the Grey) or a long magician's wand (à la Harry Potter).

  2. If the answer to #1 is that naQ is referring to a staff and not a wand, I wonder whether woch (tall) or jen (high) would be more appropriate terms than tIq, since the staff is presumably held upright. At least, the use of a word like woch or jen may remove ambiguity over the meaning of naQ.

  3. I refer to my comments about the word reSwI' in this post: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/28467060, and wonder if it woud be more appropriate to replace reSwI' with 'IDnar pIn'a' (especially if we are talking about someone with a staff like Gandalf) or perhaps mIn yuqwI' (if we are talking about a party magician with a wand).


1) In older forms of English, a wand is what we now call a staff. Look in The Hobbit and you'll find that Gandalf carries both a wand and a staff. In fact, he has just one item; it's just that Tolkien uses the two words as synonyms, which is what they are. See the Wikipedia entry for wand for a fascinating explanation of the word wand coming from an ancient unit of measurement.

The Klingon word naQ is the same: it means a stick of any length, whether a slender Harry Potter–style wand or a Gandalf-style walking staff. naQ by itself, of course, does not connote magic in any way.

2) tIq is fine to me.

3) Any of reSwI', 'IDnar pIn'a', or mIn yuqwI' are suitable here, as all might use a naQ.

Not all 'IDnar pIn'a'pu' necessarily reS, depending on their tradition of magic.


For 3, I refer you (and other future readers) to my response to your comment there and to https://www.qephom.de/e/message_from_maltz_161118.html ; summary: I believe that reSwI' and IDnar pIn'a' are synonyms.


I would agree that reSwI' and IDnar pIn'a' are synonyms inasmuch as spellcaster and master of magic are synonyms. However that doesn't mean they don't have different implications. For example, in the Harry Potter books, he is told he's a wizard before he even enters Hogwarts. The kinds of things Harry Potter does throughout the books are usually casting spells, and he probably becomes a master of magic. Ronald Weasley, especially in the first year, might have been able to cast some spells, but he is hardly a master of magic. And I think I would classify most magic as casting, but perhaps not all of it. For example it seems to me that animagi (what's the plural of animagus?) can perform the magic of transforming themselves into animals, without the casting of a spell. Also, most potion making is not casting spells, but still requires being a master of magic.


That's all very genre-specific. In lots of traditions, for example, making potions DOES involve casting spells.

Magic in actual legend is not so neatly classified. In a fairy tale, someone who finds some magic words and recites them might for that moment be a reSwI', but they would not be generally identified as one. The words are not exactly synonymous, but they could be interchangeable in many, if not most, uses.

If you found some magic words and recited them, you could not say, "I am mIQey, the spellcaster." And yet you cast a spell. There's a subtle difference between doing a thing and identifying yourself as a doer of a thing, a difference that is not distinguished in either English or Klingon.

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