tlhIngan Hol: VOCABULARY chaj and maqoch


The word <maqoch>, sometimes translated as “buddy” or “pal”, is used most often by a male addressing another male who is a good friend ( <maqoch ‘Iw HIq yItlhutlh>, “Pal, drink the bloodwine”). When used in such a context, it signifies genuine companionship. If, however, it is used by someone who is definitely not a good friend, it is considered offensive. Furthemore, if used by a casual acquaintance, it may be taken as a sign of aggression; Klingons are generally apprehensive about those showing too much friendship. A Klingon female would address someone as <maqoch> only if she intended to insult him or her. A Klingon male with any honor at all would never address a female as <maqoch>. The word <maqoch> itself may derive from <may’ qoch> “battle partner”, so perhaps it originally meant something like “war buddy”.


There is a word that Klingon females use in a pattern paralleling the males’ use of <maqoch>. This word is <chaj>, a close female friend of a female. As with <maqoch>, it is used only in addressing a true friend. If uttered by a female adversary, it is insulting; if uttered by a casual acquaintance it is presumptuous. A male Klingon would address a female Klingon as <chaj> only to offend her. If a male were to be addressed as <chaj>, by either a male or a female, he would consider his honor to be attacked and would react accordingly.

It is not uncommon for a Klingon father to address his son as <maqoch> or for a Klingon mother to address her daugther as <chaj>. The reverse, however, is not true. That is, a son would never call his father <maqoch>,nor would a daugther address her mother as <chaj>.

FONT: Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, by Marc Okrand.


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