Database - Klingon Names
The Klingon Empire is composed of hundreds of family lines, commonly referred to as Houses. A family line may be considered as a Major or Minor House depending on its size, wealth and political influences within the Klingon Empire.
A family line is not necessarily composed entirely of blood relations; if a line is open, it will occasionally adopt new members if they have skills, contacts or material goods that will bring honor, fame or fortune to the House. While the customs for ratification vary from line to line, generally any family member can sponsor another individual for adoption into his house line. If the newcomer is ambitious, the offering of handsome gifts and bribes when requesting adoption with a line could offer many benefits in return.
The average Klingon hopes to gain advantages from alliance with a family line, not the least of which is protection. In this context, protection ranges from the money to buy off potential enemies to the provision of trustworthy bodyguards. In addition the individual benefits from the reputation and social status of his new family. The individual line member must contribute to the welfare of the House with their loyalty and defense in the cause of the line.
A Head of House, usually one who has achieved the honorific of Zantai or Epetai leads most Houses. The Head of House may also designate subordinate Heads to oversee the Household in their stead or in certain sectors of the Empire. This Head of House is more than just a patriarch or matriarch of an extended family group. They combine the power and responsibilities of a financial comptroller, political spokesperson, corporate magnate, legislative coordinator and the ultimate judicial authority for each and every line member.
The extended line seems to allow a greater flexibility, and, thus, greater political influence. All Houses have their own political and military views of the Empire and its relation with the Federation and other worlds. A few of the Houses are active pro-Alliance supporters; Although not quite as prevalent as it once was, there as still some Houses who do not fully support the Grand Alliance between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets.
The Klingon name is comprised of three elements:
- Chosen Name - Distinguishes an individual from the rest of his line;
- Honorific Name - This name is not chosen, but is designated by virtue of the Klingon's rank and position in their ship, family, or Empire;
- House or Line Name - The name by which he/she either was born or has been adopted.
The order is chosen name, honorific, linename.
An example of the order and structure of Klingon names is given below:
Kang epetaI' HupwI'
Kang ...Chosen name
epetaI' ...Honorific, herein denoting his rank as a member of the Council.
HupwI' ...Linename, literally meaning 'Punisher'.
The chosen name is usually quite simple, being decided upon at the age of 3 or upon inclusion to a house, at the Naming Ceremony. It is used to distinguish one Klingon from another within their line, and may be used alone only if one is familiar with the Klingon. Calling a superior or total stranger by their chosen name alone could be considered an insult.
Klingons in the navy usually begin their chosen name with a 'K' or 'Q', although 'W' and 'H' have become more common recently. Marines begin theirs with an 'M', 'D', or 'V'. Klingons outside the military, but associated with it, often use 'T' or 'A' to begin their names. These guidelines are not, however, followed in all lines. Like any well-grown language, Klingonasse has changed and expanded in its scope over the years.
It is a title which is not created for you, but designated in accordance with your rank and position within the Empire. Your honorific is a mark of your station and responsibility. Only children under the Age of Ascension and pariahs (outcasts) have no honorific. A listing of the mainstream honorifics appears below.
- VajaI' Title awarded to a loyal warrior in service of a Family, but who is not of that line. Presently used to denote an enlisted warrior.
- taI' Non-military warrior belonging to a house, or, in the Military, a Junior officer.
- veStaI' Noteworthy warrior, used for officers in both branches of the Military.
- SutaI' Recognized as having done several notable acts. Ship commanders or Landing Force leaders have this honorific.
- ZhantaI' Of extreme high honor and courage. Reserved for members of the Admiralty (ZhantaI') or Marines above the rank of <6th rank>.
- EpetaI' Denotes a position of honor and wisdom, and is reserved for Directors on the Klingon High Council. </ul>
- DevqorDu' Leader of the house. Usually the oldest male in the family.
- puqaI' A child born in a family, who holds no specific position whithin the house. Used in colloquial language to denote a child.
- ghojmoHaI' Head instructor of a line and Grandmaster for a household's children. Often used as a sign of respect by an adult for an elder that is held in hight regard.
- Hungche'aI' Individual responsible for overseeing the transport and security of Family members while travelling.
- chamaI' Non-family technician or specialist who is employed by a house as an advisor or councellor.
Thusly, a Klingon's honorific has much to say about his rank and status amongst his fellows. Most klingons proudly state their honorific when they introduce themselves, almost as if it were a silent shout of victory. Likewise, the omission of the honorific can produce a rather negative result.
House or Line Name
Within Klindom, most Klingons align themselves to a "House" or "Line", Both terms represent the social unit by which a Klingon determines their family group they belong and owe allegiance. This is usually represented by their "linename", the third part of a Klingon's full name. There are many different Houses in Klindom and each have their own specific appeal. Some houses are artists, writers, or musicians while others may be oriented toward martial arts, weaponsmithing, or costuming. There are those that have specific requirements for belonging, others have no requirements. There is a lot of latitude in how each Line operates.
House or Line Names are, by far, the most flexible, having no set restrictions nor guidelines for them.