Well, the new guy has his name. I’m sure you’d like to know what it is, but first, you’ll have to hear the story of why. Why, no, I cannot just get to the point. This is much more fun, holding you in suspense. What’s that you say? You’ll just skip ahead to the relevant information? Well, pffffbbbbbtttt. I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.
When we first met him, this little goat immediately held a striking resemblance to a Klingon, at least in my mind. So, I knew that whatever we decided to name him, it would be a Klingon language word. (And yes, for the non-nerds out there, there truly is a constructed language that is spoken not only by the warrior aliens in the Star Trek films and television shows, but also, studied and spoken by many fans.) (And no, I am not fluent.) (No, really, I had to ask for help with this.) (I WISH I was fluent.) (But I digress.)
So, I enlisted the aid of a Klingon language expert on a discussion forum, and initially, asked whether or not a tIqnagh (tic-NAHG) was likely to be the equivalent of a goat on Kronos, the Klingon homeworld. It does seem that while it is a hooved animal, it is more likely to be akin to a Terran deer. (“Terran” is the word used to describe Earthly things in many sci-fi genres.) I just didn’t think that was close enough.
We tossed around some other ideas, focusing more on the goat’s appearance and personality: qIjwI’ (“one that is black”) or mInQeH (which is “angry eyes” as one word) were both possibilities. But then, I really started thinking about the little guy’s behavior and personality, and one thing rang strong: his vociferous cry, particularly when he can see me, but can’t get to me. This little guy can wail! It almost sounds like he’s crying out, “MOOOOMMMM!!!!” which makes me want to run over and hug him and tell him everything’s going to be alright. Of course, that would be very non-Klingon-like of me, but I can’t help myself.
So, here it is. Are you ready to hear it? Have you patiently waded through my words to finally reach the point of learning his name? Well, here you go!
“How in the heck am I supposed to pronounce that? And what does it even mean?”
Oh, buck up, little campers, I’ve got ya covered.
The gheb is a type of horn used in Klingon culture. And that’s a really appropriate name, once you’ve heard this little guy’s voice! As far as the pronunciation – as it was very kindly explained to me, the gh- sound is similar to a French R. Basically, pronounce H, but hum at the same time to get gh. For me, that ends up sounding like I’m gargling, almost. The e is pronounced as you would in the English words bed or get – a short e. Of course, if this is too complicated (and trust me, I know it is; I’ve been practicing his name for the past day myself), it is acceptable to speak it as an English word, and just use a hard G.
Sci-fi, linguistics, and naming my goat after an instrument…which leads us back to the fact that I was a band geek in school. Wow, if you hadn’t already figured out what a nerd I really am, this post should really seal that deal!