Who speaks Klingon?

Posted on Mar 9, 2022      82

Who speaks Klingon Most artificial languages have simplified communication, their authors usually striving to make them as “human” as possible. But there are exceptions where the most unusual constructions were used. A typical example of this is the Klingon language, invented specifically for the characters in the Star Trek series. It is spoken by the Klingons, representatives of one of the alien civilizations.

The creator of the Klingon language is an American linguist, Marc Okrand. Besides this, he invented several other dialects in the series, as well as conducting training with the actors, teaching them the “alien” language. Oakland not only invented the language himself but also wrote several books devoted to it - The Klingon Dictionary, The Klingon Way, Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, and co-authored the libretto of an opera in Klingon.

The first sounds and phrases for Klingon characters were invented by actor James Doohan (“Scotty”) back in the first feature film of the Star Trek universe (1979). And Mark Okrand freely combined the sounds and phrases created by James with elements of the Native American and Sanskrit languages he knew from university. What they would mean, record all the sounds spoken, etc. Since the language was to be the same.

Initially, the plan was to create a translation into a new language only of the phrases that were scripted. But as the work progressed, the language grew in complexity and size, and eventually it became quite possible, of course, somewhat conventionally, to translate masterpieces of world literature and even create recent works with it. Even Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be staged in Klingon.

The vocabulary of Klingon is not enormous; it counts about 3000 words. The language is distinguished by sharp guttural sounds and sound combinations, unusual for the human ear. The grammar of Klingon is also unusual; the rules are chosen to accord to a simple principle - the way people speak the least frequently, which is the least characteristic of most human languages. The logic is simple - Klingons are alien and even hostile to humans, so must be their language.

Unlike many languages created for cinema, the Klingon language has a detailed grammar, syntax and vocabulary, and a regulating organization, the Klingon Language Institute, which publishes translations of classic literary works into Klingon and a scholarly journal that develops the language.

Interesting facts about the Klingon language:

  1. The Google search engine has a search page in Klingon.
  2. In the Mozilla Firefox browser, Klingon can be selected in the preferred language setting for displaying web pages.
  3. There is a rock band that sings only in Klingon. The band is Stovokor from Portland, Oregon, USA.
  4. The 4 main characters of The Big Bang Theory series can speak the language and also play boggle.
  5. The Klingon Language Institute was founded in 1992.
  6. In 2010, an opera was performed in the Klingon language in The Hague called “‘u’”, which means “Universe” in Klingon. The opera was staged by the Zeebelt Theater.
  7. In January 2014, David Waddell, a member of the city council of the American city of Indian Trail, North Carolina, wrote a letter of resignation in Klingon and flew home. The mayor of the city did not appreciate the act and called it unprofessional.