21

In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine we find out that the Cardassian name for the Deep Space Nine space station is "Terok Nor." Later, the Maquis (in The Maquis, Part I) use a protomatter implosion device to destroy the Bok'Nor. Then in the episode Empok Nor we learn that there exists a twin station to Terok Nor called Empok Nor. My question is: do we know enough of the Cardassian language to know what this word means in Cardassian? Are there other instances of the Cardassians naming space craft or stations with the word "Nor"?

4
  • 1
    The Bok'Nor was apparently a freighter class of ship used for carrying ore, and Empok- and Terok-Nor were both mining stations. I would guess that Nor has some relation to mining, ore, or industry.
    – TZHX
    Nov 26 '15 at 21:31
  • You might want to see my take on this below, @NatGreen. :-)
    – Praxis
    Nov 27 '15 at 1:40
  • @TZHX : Ah, just noticed your comment. I posted my answer before reading it. (Obviously, I concur.)
    – Praxis
    Nov 27 '15 at 1:46
  • Someone should probably rewatch Nor the Battle to the Strong (or, if @Praxis is right, Mining the Battle to the Strong) to see if it sheds any light on this. Apr 19 at 13:37
22

It likely refers to "mining".

It's true that the writers and producers have never explicitly defined the word "Nor", but there is evidence to suggest that it doesn't mean "station". (Note that the news group "dictionary" in rand al'thor's answer is just fan work.)

Both Terok Nor and Empok Nor were ore-refining facilities. As established in many DS9 episodes, including the pilot episode "Emissary", the Bajoran slave labourers were used to staff the uridium ore-refining facilities on Terok Nor.

The reason I believe that it refers to ore and/or mining rather than "station" is that in "The Maquis" episode, we have a Cardassian ship named the Bok'Nor, which is a mining vessel.

Since the only thing that the stations and the ship have in common is mining, I suspect "Nor" refers to mining or ore.

4
  • The only thing? They're all also spacecraft.
    – OrangeDog
    Sep 19 '17 at 21:02
  • @OrangeDog : One is a ship, the other two are stations. I suspect that the Cardassians wouldn't use the same word for both.
    – Praxis
    Sep 20 '17 at 2:22
  • 1
    Unless the “Nor” in Bok’Nor is a homophone, but actually a different word. Apr 18 at 18:02
  • 1
    I think OrangeDog's point is it could mean "space"...
    – colmde
    Apr 18 at 18:05
9

Canon

According to Memory Alpha, very little is known canonically about the Cardassian language other than some proper nouns such as names of people or places ... however:

"Nor" carried connotations of either "station" or "base"; Terok Nor and Empok Nor both had this word in their names.
[cited from DS9 episodes Cardassians and Empok Nor]

Non-canon but canon-based

You may be interested in this short introduction and tutorial for the Cardassian language. It was written some 20 years ago by members of the newsgroup alt.startrek.creative, including Timothy Miller and Chris Pinette. While it has never (to my knowledge) been officially sanctioned by the Star Trek showrunners, it is based on the snippets of the Cardassian language seen on-screen. According to their vocabulary list, "nor" means "station".

1
  • 3
    Why would the Bok'Nor be called the Bok'Nor if Nor means "station"? Sorry, but this doesn't make sense and none of the references are either authoritative nor particularly convincing... Nov 28 '15 at 23:42
6

Out of canon, 'Nor' refers to a space station class.

In the TNG novel 'The Battle of Betazed', there is reference

to a type of Cardassian-designed space station

(Source)

In canon though, we don't have much information to go on. As rightly pointed out by TZHX, there is a Cardassian Bok'Nor type Freighter.

Yet, we do not know whether Empok Nor was ever used in industrial or mining processes, so we cannot necessarily conclude that 'Nor' refers to industrial or mining processes.

Because of the use of the term in both a freighter and a space station, I am inclined to believe that Nor (exclusively) does refer to a space station type. I would postulate that the designer of the space station, or perhaps the organisation which designed the Nor-type space stations, was called 'Nor' and the reference to it in the name of the freighter could be that another company/individual (probably of the name Bok) teamed up to designed the Bok'Nor type Freighters.

3
  • I really think that speculation is going too far. Can you name any other instance where the name of a designer or organization was included in the name of a station or ship? It's far more likely that Nor just represents something generic similar to the cases of Deep Space, Station, USS or what have you. Nov 26 '15 at 22:07
  • @ThePopMachine we know that outside of canon that 'Nor' refers to a class of space station. If we accept this, then I think it's quite a reasonable explanation then of how the term 'Nor', a type of space station, ends up as part of the name of a freighter! Nov 26 '15 at 22:17
  • Where in that novel does it suggest that the word "nor" specifically means space station? The only quote I could find is "“First,” Vaughn explained, “the resistance has confirmed what our limited reconnaissance already suspected. The Cardassians have begun construction of a new space station in orbit around Betazed—Sentok Nor.”" but that doesn't preclude that the word could mean anything else such as "garrison" or "outpost".
    – Valorum
    Apr 18 at 20:13
3

According to the show's creator, the word "Nor" just means that you're describing an object of some kind.

Q. DS9 was formerly Terok Nor. An upcoming episode about another Cardassian station is "Empok Nor." And in "The Maquis," the Cardassian freighter Bok'Nor was destroyed. So: what does the Cardie word "Nor" mean?

Ronald D. Moore:
"Thingamajig"?

AOL Webchat


Moving down the canon scale, we learn (in the EU novel) Day of the Vipers that the word Terok is the Cardassian military's term for the planet Bajor.

“That word…” He peered at a disk of Cardassian characters. “Terok. I’ve seen it several times on your documentation. What does it mean?”

“Your grasp of our language is improving, Oak. Well done.” She gave him an indolent nod, a teacher praising her student. “I suppose it will harm nothing to tell you.” Ico stood and rounded the desk. “It is a unique designation for your world. The Central Command generates one for every planet that joins the Union as a colony, client, or…associate. In our classified documentation, we refer to Bajor as Planetary Ident: Terok

Combining both sources; Terok Nor = Bajor Thing (e.g. thing that is in orbit around Bajor).

-1

Terok Nor ninth station Empok Nor third station

-ok suffice for number groups (first second etc)

zox 0 tud 1 kot 2 emp 3 rav 4 wep 5 hek 6 nev 7 tag 8 ter 9

1
  • 4
    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Can you cite a resource for where you got the translations from?
    – DavidW
    Apr 18 at 17:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.