DaHjaj Hol 110119 #tlhIngan #tlh

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Hello, and welcome. You’re listening to DaHjaj Hol, your daily dose of Klingon language.

I’m your host, Lawrence Schoen and this is Wednesday, January 19th, 2011, and you’re just in time for a quick and truly excellent selection from the available chuvmey. I’m talking about batlh. That’s B A TLH. And yes, that TLH is all one sound in Klingon, so start thinking of it as one letter. Linguists will tell you that TLH is formed by making a T sound and following it with a voiceless L. That’s not much help to most people, but it seems much friendly than the advice Marc Okrand gave in The Klingon Dictionary when he explained in was just like the sound in the Aztec word for egg.

If either of those make sense to you, great! For the rest of us, try this: start by making an L sound, and hold it. Go LLLLLLLL. Feel how the air flows sidways out of your mouth? Good. Now, keep your tongue in that position, and just let your breath flow sideways but don’t try to make any sound. You’ll get a sound that, depending on how much saliva you’ve got in your mouth, is either kind of hissy or liquidy. Like this: LHHHHHHHH.

That’s the voiceless L sound. That’s the hard part. The easy part is to make a T sound. Do it now. t. . . t. . .

Easy enough, so now add the voiceless L. First the T, then the voiceless L. t. . . LHHHHH and again, t. . . LHHHHH

Now here’s the fun part. Since English speakers don’t usually have this sound in their repeotire, they’re not very good at hearing it. Instead, their brains try to map it onto sounds they already have. And the next closest sound that we have is a K sound followed by an L. And now you can understand one of the very first jokes in Klingon: there’s no K in the language! The Klingon word for Klingon begin with a tlh. It’s tlhIngan.

Most Klingon speakers have a hard time with this sound, both learning to produce it and learning to hear it. All I can tell you is that in time, you’ll get the hang of both ends of it. Just do your best, and keep trying. Perform your practice honorably, and you will win the day.

Which brings us back to today’s word. batlh means honored or with honor or honorably. It functions much like an adverb does in English, describing the a verb or an entire sentence.

For example:

batlh nov HoH jabwI’ the waiter kills the alien honorably

or batlh qechmey ja’ tlhIngan the Klingon honorably reports the ideas

Ready for tougher one?

batlh Heghrup bolwI’ ‘ach DujlIj voq charwI’
the drooler is ready to die, but the slimy one trusts your ship with honor

Listen to that one again:
batlh Heghrup bolwI’ ‘ach DujlIj voq charwI’
the drooler is ready to die, but the slimy one trusts your ship with honor

Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about!

So. Try to resist the temptation to run right out and use every noun and verb you know to make a sentence using batlh. Try, but you will not succeed. That’s the nature of chuvmey, they cry out for your use. You’re going to give in. And that’s okay. Practice is one of the ways Language Opens Worlds. qo’mey poSmoH Hol.


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