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Another message from Maltz...

Subject:Re: about marriage
From:Marc Okrand <okrand@*****.***>
Date:Thu, 13 Jul 2017 04:42:10 +0200
To:Klingonischkurs Saarbrücken

Lieven –

I had a talk with Maltz about this, and he had more to say about it than I would have guessed!

First of all, he said that {Sawchuq} and {naychuq} are perfectly good words and would be understood to refer to same-sex marriage.

But he went on...

Though {Saw} and {nay} are defined in terms of male/female and when used in this way everything is fine, the idea is not simply that when men get married they do something that's somehow different from what women do when they get married. The concept is more of a yin-yang thing. That is, there are two people joining together in marriage who are not the same as each other. They complement each other, complete each other – all that kind of stuff people say at weddings. It all goes back to the relationship Kahless and Lukara had. So one of the people getting married brings one set of values, strengths, abilities, etc., to the marriage, and the other brings another (complementary, overlapping, enhancing) set. And vice versa. That's why, when they get married, they're not said to do the same thing.

Now, you may say, if using two words for "marry" is because there are two different but complementary partners, shouldn't the word for "marry" when both people getting married are the same gender also be two different words? If so, {Sawchuq} and {naychuq} don't accomplish that.

And, if you said all of that, you would be right. But the association of {Saw} with "husband" and {nay} with "wife" has been around for so long, the "complementariness" notion has been lost for many people. That's why {Sawchuq} and {naychuq} are easily understandable when used for same-sex marriage.

In addition, though, at least in some places, people are dealing with gender in a way that goes beyond simple "male" and "female." So if one of the people getting married doesn't identify as either "male" or "female" – or if both don't – then what do you do? Theoretically, both use {nay} or both use {Saw} or one uses {nay} and the other uses {Saw}, but how to choose and which is which? This is particularly tricky because these two words are tangled up with "female" and "male," exactly what those identifying as neither are wanting to not express.

Maltz says that, more and more, he's hearing an older word, {tlhogh}. (I don't know how he's hearing this – my basement isn't really equipped for extraterrestrial communication – but I certainly believe him.) The noun {tlhogh} is quite common. It means "marriage," and it can be used for anybody marrying anybody. The verb {tlhogh}, however, was long considered quaint or archaic. But it's being used with increased frequency. It means "marry" and, like its noun counterpart, it can be used by both partners regardless of sex/gender, so it's used for male-male marriages, female-female marriages, and everything else. Use of this word lacks the yin-yang connotation of {Saw} and {nay}, but it's well suited for expressing what the folks getting married are up to. Depending on what you want to say, both {tlhogh} and {tlhoghchuq} are heard: {B tlhogh A} "A marries B"; {tlhoghchuq A B je} "A and B marry each other." But some Klingons also say {Sawchuq} and {naychuq}. The choice seems to be whatever the folks getting married prefer.

I hope this helps.

See you soon.

 – Marc
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