Spacing between nouns

The space between words has caused some confusion and also some discussions among Klingonists because Marc Okrand has not always been very consistent in using them.


Basically when a space is left between two words, it is called a noun-noun-construction while omitting the space creates a compound noun. The only grammatical difference between these is that suffixes cannot be added into a compound noun.

Okrand has mentioned several times that since Klingon is intended as a spoken, not written, language, he does not see much difference in the usage of the language: "Marc Okrand recently mentioned to me that while there's a common perception that noun-noun constructs must be separated by spaces, he's actually not at all picky about that." (1)

Clear answers

There are few situations where Marc Okrand replied to questions clarifying the use of a space:
  • DI'raq loD ram (male sheep) is written with two words: "Kin terms (like puqloD and lorloD) are set terms, regular vocabulary items. For animals, Klingon doesn't have special words for male vs. female. That is, English has ram (male), ewe (female), sheep (both/either), but Klingon has only an equivalent for sheep — no separate word for ram or ewe. If it's necessary to specify sex/gender, it's done using the noun-noun construction." (2)
  • qo' Sor is written without space in the Klingon Art of War, but Okrand fixed it to have a space. (3)
  • qulHuD, the word for "volcano", is written with no space. (4)
  • wabDo / wab Do: "As a spelling convention, wab Do "speed of sound" is written as two words. When used as a measurement term ("Mach"), it's written as one word wabDo. The pronunciation (and, for that matter, meaning) is the same." (5)
  • xQeD: All sciences are written as one word with no space. There are two exceptions: DI'ruj QeD and Hov leng QeD. (6)


1 : email from Felix Malmenbeck to the mailing list, November 16, 2014

2 : The Little Prince, p. 153

3 : vetted list at qepHom Saarbrücken 2014

4 : used in subtitles of Star Trek: Discovery

5 : Smithsonian GoFlight App, published qepHom Saarbrücken 2016

6 : qepHom 2019, p. 17

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 28 Dec 2019, by WikiAdmin    Created: 28 Dec 2019 by KlingonTeacher
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