The expression 'o meaning just "oh" is used in direct address to a person, mostly in songs and poetry. Think of "Oh Christmas tree". It is not used to express being surprised.

Canon examples

  • 'o 'oghlu'meH qul
    "O for a Muse of fire..." (Klingon CD, prologue to Henry V)

  • 'o meQ qul! 'o meQ chal!
    "Oh, the fire burns; oh, the sky burns." (untranslated, Klingon CD, opening of the opera qul tuq)

  • 'o qeylIS, qeylIS, qeylIS qanjIt puqloD
    O Kahless, Kahless, Kahless, son of Kanjit. (paq'batlh)


Observations made by members of the KLI:

'o appears before a name used as direct address. As we saw it used, it acted a little like a vocative prefix: 'o qeylIS, qeylIS, qeylIS... It seems to be an honorific exclamation, or maybe it's just used for direct address in general and doesn't actually have the implication of deference or reverence that I inferred. If it hadn't been consistently present when the opera "speaks to" Kahless, and consistently absent when it "speaks to" Molor, I might have ignored it as an unimportant background sound. (Alan Anderson at qep'a' 2011)

Marc Okrand was present while we discussed the vocative case in that context and he didn't seem to object at all to that characterization. I know he has a talent for making you think he's confirmed whatever you think, but I think it's just a name-invoking particle without particular commendation. The funniest part, to me, was the next day when we were singing Kumbaya and watching Qanqor suddenly realize that we have being saying 'o qeylIS all along. Marc was also dismissive about 'o, like it wasn't really a new word, was just 'o. (Robyn Stewart at qep'a' 2011)

See also

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 17 Aug 2017, by MarcZankl    Created: 17 Aug 2017 by KlingonTeacher

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