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Interview with Marc Okrand [Nov. 26th, 2011|10:41 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol


StarTrek.com posted an interview with Marc Okrand, the creator of the Klingon language in two parts (the second part is here).

I just got around to reading the interview new, and one thing I particularly enjoyed was that I could hear Marc speaking; having had the privilege to meet him at qepHom wa'maHDIch in Saarbrücken a couple of weeks ago, I could hear his style of speaking out of the words in the interview. That was a really nice touch.

And I learned some new things about how Klingon got created!

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“Stutter words” in Klingon [Oct. 22nd, 2011|10:20 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol

[Dotlh |geekygeeky]

It’s well known that there are a number of homonyms in Klingon: words which are spelled and pronounced the same but mean different things; for example, jIH could be a pronoun “I, me”, a verb “to monitor”, or a noun “viewing screen, display”. There are also similarities between stand-alone words and affixes, such as vetlh “cockroach” and -vetlh “that”.

This lets us make “stutter words”: words with two identical syllables. One of them will be the main word and the other will be the affix.

I believe the following is a complete list of such “stutter words” in Klingon:

  • ba'ba' “he obviously sits”
  • bejbej “be certainly watches”
  • boghbogh “which is being born; which was born; which is born; which will be born”
  • chajchaj “their (close, female) friends (of females)”
  • choHchoH “it begins to alter, change”
  • chu'chu' “he activates, engages (a device) perfectly; he plays (an instrument) perfectly; it is perfectly new”
  • DaDa “you behave like it; you act in the manner of it”
  • DaqDaq “in/at/on the place”
  • ?Du'Du' “the farms (that are body parts)” (probably only possible in poetry)
  • HomHom “a minor bone”
  • law'law' “they are apparently many”
  • lI'lI' “he is in the process of transmitting data (to a place)”; possibly also ?“it is in the process of being useful”
  • ?lulu “they fall (suffer loss of status) it” (an exceptional case, along the lines of “sleep the sleep of the just” or “live a Klingon life”, though I don’t know of a cognate object for lu that could be used to make a grammatical sentence involving lulu)
  • mo'mo' “because of the cage; because of the motive/motivation/grounds/reason/rationale (slang)”
  • moHmoH “he makes him ugly”; possibly also “he1 causes him2 to exert undue influence on him3”, depending on whether transitive verbs can take -moH or not.
  • nISnIS “he needs to disrupt it, he needs to interfere with it”
  • ?pu'pu' “the phasers (which are capable of speech)” (probably only in poetry, or maybe fairy tales)
  • qangqang “he is willing to pour; he is ready to always agree with him (slang)”
  • qoqqoq “the so-called robot”
  • qu'qu' “it is very fierce”
  • ruprup “he is prepared to fine or tax him”
  • ta'ta' “he has (successfully) accomplished it”
  • taHtaH “he continues to survive; he continues to endure; it continues to be at a negative angle”
  • vetlhvetlh “that cockroach”
  • ?'e''e' “that (previous sentence) (with emphasis or focus)” (not sure about this one, but if personal pronounce can take -'e', and focussed nouns can be fronted if they are marked with -'e', why not the special pronoun 'e'? Perhaps something like 'e''e' neHbe' vavwI'That’s not what my father wanted” or “As for that: my father didn’t want it”.)

Now try to create a short story that involves all of those words :)

To start you off, here’s a sentence consisting only of stutter words: DaqDaq law'law' boghbogh qoqqoq qu'qu' “In the place, there are apparently many very fierce so-called robots which are being born”. Can you make a sentence containing only stutter words that has more than five of them? (I suppose one could wedge in a couple more using the noun-noun construction, e.g. qoqqoq HomHom vetlhvetlh qu'qu' “those very fierce so-called-robot-minor-bone-cockroaches”, but the meaning would be extremely strained.)

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Klingon elements [Oct. 19th, 2011|03:37 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol


I knew that hydrogen was bIQSIp “water-gas”, and that made me think of German Wasserstoff “water-stuff”.

Then I saw that nitrogen was voQSIp “choke-gas”, and that made the impression even stronger; the German is Stickstoff “suffocate-stuff”. (Or so I presume. “To suffocate” is a prefixed form, ersticken, at least in modern German.)

So I guessed that oxygen might be peySIp “acid-gas”, to parallel German Sauerstoff “sour-stuff”. But alas! It’s yInSIp “life-gas” instead. A pity :)

It also made me think about the Greek roots: hydrogen is “water-producer” and oxygen is “acid-producer”. Nitrogen, though, is apparently “sodium carbonate producer”. Ah well.

For what it’s worth, Japanese element names parallel the German ones; this may be no coincidence, though, but rather due to calquing from German. (水素 suiso “water-element”, 酸素 sanso “acid-element”, 窒素 chisso “suffocate-element”.)

What other elements are there in Klingon?

There’s cha'puj “dilithium”… which makes me wonder whether element 3, lithium, might be puj or wa'puj :) And Qab “theragen” (found while searching for -gen words), but that’s a chemical compound, not a hypothetical element.

A brief search came up with nothing but the three above (H, N, O)—not even carbon or silicon, or the typical precious (on Earth) metals such as silver, gold, or platinum!

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latlh mu' chu' [Dec. 21st, 2010|01:15 am]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol

[Tags|, ]

Marc Okrandvo' latlh mu' chu' Hevpu'bogh Quvar'e' 'ang ghaH. Santa Claus rurtaH - jarvam vagh mu' chu' nunobta'. nargh latlh net SIv... {{:)

"The word for monastery is {ghIn}. This is a pretty general term for a religious community (and the term "religious" could be interpreted in various ways as well), so it can be modified. A {ghIn'a'} would be a pretty important monastery, for example."

(Email from Marc Okrand, 15 Nov 2010)
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New Word: "tractor beam" [Dec. 14th, 2010|12:50 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol


There's a new canon word, revealed to us by Marc Okrand. Quvar posted it on the mailing list today:

There was a question about whether {tlhaptIH} was a good way to say "tractor beam."  Maltz said he'd never heard that before, but he has heard {luHwI' tIH}.

(Marc Okrand's Email of November 15th, 2010)
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Two more new words: {ngogh} (block, lump, brick) and {buq} (bag, sack, pouch, pocket) [Dec. 7th, 2010|09:04 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol

[Dotlh |happyhappy]

Quvar (Lieven Litaer) has told us about two new words that Maltz has revealed to us:

Here's another word revealed at the qepHom in Saarbrücken.
Note for the newbies: This is canon, i.e. official, directly from Marc Okrand, the creator of the Klingon Language:

Maltz first said that Klingons don't have pillows and he wondered why anyone would want one. But he's seen them (somewhere) and knows what they are. So when pushed -- "If you have to call it something, what would you call it?" -- he said {ngogh tun}. A {ngogh} is a "block" or "lump" or "brick." He said he's seen humans eating {yuch ngoghmey} and found that strange. I'm not sure what form he'd prefer his {yuch} to be.

He thought more about it and said maybe another way to say "pillow" was {QongDaq buq} "bed pouch," but he said that could also apply to a sleeping bag. Perhaps a sleeping bag is {QongDaq buq'a'} and a pillow is {QongDaq buqHom}. The word {buq} could be "bag, sack, pouch" or even "pocket." When clarity is needed, one could say, for example, {yopwaH buq} "pants pouch" or {wep buq} "coat pouch" for "pants pocket" or "coat pocket," but when the context is clear, {buq} alone would suffice for "pocket."

(Mail from Marc Okrand, 15th of november 2010)

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mu' chu' wIneHqu'bogh [Dec. 3rd, 2010|01:18 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol

[Dotlh |jIQuch]


cha'Hu' FacebookDaq QIn lab Quvar (tera' pongDaj 'oH Lieven'e'; wa' tlhIngan Hol yejHaD pab po'wI' ghaH). Marc Okrandvo' mu' chu' Hevlaw'. nuQum. potlhqu' mu'vam; qechvam 'oSbogh mu''e' wIneHpu' qaStaHvIS poH nI'.

mu' 'oH mIllogh'e', 'ej DIvI' Hol mu' picture 'oSlaw'.

QIj Quvar.Collapse )

mu'ghomraj tInaQmoH!
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Lt. Reed at Geek Media Expo [Oct. 18th, 2010|08:39 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol

[Dotlh |bouncybouncy]

Along with Garrett Wang,Dominic Keating will be appearing at Nashville's Geek Media Expo on October 22-24. For more details go to http://whatisgmx.net.

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Klingon Shakespeare [Aug. 16th, 2010|04:51 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol

[Dotlh |dorkydorky]

On September 25th, the Washington Shakespeare Company is putting on an event entitle By Any Other Name: An Evening of Shakespeare in Klingon, with special guest George Takei.

Marc Okrand, the creator of Klingon, just happens to sit on the theatre company's board of directors.

Valerie and I will be coming into to town for the event, and it should be buckets and buckets of fun.

Apropos of this, I've just finished a lengthy telephone interview with the theatre critic from the Washington Post. He was a very nice guy and quite enthusiastic, particularly since we've been playing email tag for the better part of two weeks trying to set up the interview. I'm very curious to see how it all works out.
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Star Trek status day [Aug. 14th, 2010|05:24 pm]
Klingon Language - tlhIngan Hol

If it's all right to do this here, I'm encouraging everyone to regard Sept 8th as Star Trek status day over at Facebook. . .hopefully others will do this, too. . .I'm not on MySpace, or any other deals like this, but I hope that where ever you post regularly, you put up a quote from Star Trek. . .
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