How to express a surprise

There is no known basic word or expression to say when you are suddenly surprised.


There's a few examples you could use when surprised, though the emotion they suggest is more confusion than surprise:

  • qaStaH nuq jay' - What the hell is going on? (1)

  • The question word chay' may be used as a one-word sentence meaning "How did this happen? What happened? What the--?" (2)
    Maybe one could add the intensifying adverbial jay' to the previous example to get chay' jay' ("What the hell-?"), which has a nice rhyme to it.

  • One other possible word is toH translated as "so, well" and "Aha". That may work for a surprise reaction, depending on situation.

  • The expression 'o (see Oh) is not suitable for a surprise; it's used in address only.

Paramount Hol

Note: it is not recommended to use Paramount Hol.

There is no canon (Okrandian) spelling for this, (that's why it's called Paramount Hol) but when Captain Nu'Daq was quickly and effortlessly defeated by Data in the B'aht Qul challenge (a form of Klingon arm wrestling), he exclaimed Maw'tok! in shock. (TNG "The Chase").

We could try to make some sense of it, but it's guesswork which is unofficial: We have a some likely words that have some meaning in context. maw "offend", maw' "be crazy", and the nearest sound-vaguely-alike taQ for "be weird" (it's easy for the sound of the Klingon "a" to drift into sounding more like a regular "o"). We could choose to interpret as two one-word sentences maw' "it's crazy" and taQ "it's weird". But there are many other possibilities.

See also


1 : Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

2 : The Klingon Dictionary, 6.4

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