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Tell Time: Hours? Done. Minutes? Um...

QaHra' vipoQ!

I made it all the way through the "Tell Time" section and I still have no idea how to indicate minutes - did I miss something? How does one indicate a certain number of minutes after an hour in Klingon? For example, if I want to tell someone that it's 14:11, how do we do this correctly?

I am also interested in how midnight and (x) minutes after midnight are expressed in Klingon! I'm guessing "pagh" is used, but how exactly?

Furthermore, is there any convention for dividing up an hour without calling out the number of minutes? In some languages, its not uncommon to cut up the hour into thirds (It's two thirds past 9) yet in English this is almost unheard of as it's more common to divide the hour up into quarters. Does Klingon have anything like the English "It's half past 2." or is it more like "It's 2 and 30."?

Finally, for those who have any say regarding what is included in the course material, I think that it's extremely important for students to get through that section being able to give the exact time (to the minute - we don't want to sound like Data) - regardless of when one is asked.

Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!

December 18, 2019



Telling time in the twenty-four-hour format was introduced in Conversational Klingon:

jav vatlh rep 0600 hours, or 6 am
wa'maH cha' vatlh rep 1200 hours, or 12 pm, or noon
pagh rep 0000 hours, or 12 am, or midnight
wa'maH Hut vatlh rep 1900 hours, or 7 pm

We weren't given information on telling minutes, but many of us speculated that it worked like this:

jav vatlh wejmaH rep 0630 hours, or 6:30 am
wa'maH cha' vatlh wa'maH vagh rep 1215 hours, or 12:15 pm
and who knows how you'd say 0045 hours?

I think the TalkNow! language-learning program may have confirmed this for us.

Later, Klingon got deeper into the discussion of telling the time on the old MSN startrek.klingon newsgroup: http://klingonska.org/canon/1999-02-02-email.txt

He gave us a new way to specify time for interplanetary communication:

tera' rep wa' one o'clock a.m.
tera' rep cha'maH eight o'clock p.m.
tera' rep loS wejmaH four thirty a.m.

You can leave out the tera' if it's clear you're talking about Earth time.

So to answer your question, you can say 2:30 in the afternoon by saying rep wa'maH loS wejmaH or wa'maH loS vatlh wejmaH rep.

You don't ask the time in this system; you command someone to specify the hour: rep yIper! The word per not only means label, but also ascertain, specify, pin down.

All of the above is what is used in a military context. In non-military contexts, which he says are rare, Klingons most commonly use a phrase that predates space travel: 'arlogh Qoylu'pu' What time is it? Literally, How many times has it been heard? This presumably refers to some audible signal that would sound regularly to tell the time, but we don't know for sure.

You answer this question by stating the hour as the number of times "it" has been heard. cha'logh Qoylu'pu' It has been heard two times. This would be equivalent to It's two o'clock. You apparently can't specify minutes this way.

You can use this phrase in sentences like 'arlogh Qoylu'pu' mamejDI' What time will we leave? (Literally, How many times will it have been heard when we leave?) and chorghlogh Qoylu'pu' mamejDI' We will leave at eight o'clock.

We're not given specific information on what is military and what is not. I'd say you can usually stick to military-style time, and reserve non-military time to more intimate conversations. Almost anything with any level of formality will surely use military time.

Unfortunately, this course focuses disproportionately on the non-military style.


If you don't already have a tlhingan pong (and at risk of failing to acknowledge your skill in battle which I've no way of gauging), I respectfully suggest 'a'ghenval. If you are skilled in battle then perhaps chuHpo' (working both meanings of chuH). naQ janglij! choquvmoHchu'!


chonaDDI', choquvmoH. But I have had a Klingon name since sometime in the 1990s: SuStel.

(Be careful! jang is not a noun.)


(Verb! doh! It was the only word I could think of for "reply"- would we use jangghach?)


No, you can't put -ghach on a verb without an intervening suffix, and then the resulting noun takes on the sense of that suffix.

jangpu'ghach an instance of having answered
jangtaHghach an ongoing answer
jangHa'ghach a mistaken answer
jangbe'ghach an instance of not answering
jangchu'ghach an instance of answering perfectly

You need to reword: either find a different noun to use, or find a way to say it with a verb.

For example:

chojangchu'pu' You have answered me perfectly.
naQ jangmeH QInlIj Your answering message was complete.


I apparently need a lot more practice rewording my original thoughts before attempting to translate.
...and once again, naQ jangmeH QinlIj!
SoHDaq qeylIS qa' yinjaj!


No idea why they chose to only teach this particular way to express telling time (strikes me as old-fashioned/incomplete), but there are others. Note: that site is a bit slow in updating, and has the odd error to fix or new information to add, but where possible a source is cited. Likely, in recent years the maintainers have been busy helping put together... um this course, which might explain it. Most of the alternative methods mentioned are already accepted answers here.

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