LINGUIST List 2.733

Thu 31 Oct 1991

Disc: Klingon

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Klingon
  2. , RE: 2.723 Queries
  3. Major, 2.723 Queries
  4. "Erik Carvalhal Miller, RE: 2.723 Queries

Message 1: Klingon

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 91 17:12:12 PST
From: <silverSonoma.EDU>
Subject: Klingon
Re Star Trek language, cf. Okrand, Marc. 1985. The Klingon Dictionary
New York : Pocket Books. Okrand (PhD Linguistics UCB) is the linguistic con
sultant for the Startrek movies. He created the Klingon language for
Star Trek III: the search for Spock, and for all the subsequent Star Trek
movies, and trains actors in the phonetics of Klingon, among other aspects
of the language.
	The Klingon dictionary (bilingual: Klingon-English; English-Klingon)
consists of a descriptive sketch of the phonology, morphology and syntax
of Klingon, as well as comments about dialect variation, the writing systemn
and language use. That Klingon tends towars polysynthesis is not
surprising since Okrand's dissertation was the grammar of a California Indian
language. Klingon may also reflect his interest in Chinese and Tibeto-Burman
languages. One thing for sure, Klingon is not like English. I have made up
problems for beginning linguistics classes and Okrand has even provided me
with a short text for analysis. Students like to speculate on how aspects
of the morphology and lexicon may reflect Klingon culture.
Shirley Silver, Dept. of Anthropology/Linguistics
Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park CA 94928
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Message 2: RE: 2.723 Queries

Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1991 9:38:58 +0800 (SST)
Subject: RE: 2.723 Queries
re Ellen Kaisse's query about Klingon. If my memory serves me right,
the offending linguist is Mark Okrand and I think there is a Klingon
dictionary in print. I stumbled across the reference while chasing
things he had written in the reconstitution of various Amerindian
languages. Perhaps he reads Linguist??!
Alan Dench
University of Western Australia
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Message 3: 2.723 Queries

Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1991 21:12:47 +1100
From: Major <>
Subject: 2.723 Queries
Ellen Kaisse <> ask about the Klingon language
in StarTrek V.
A Klingon language was developed by Mark Okrand for the filming of
Star Trek III and has been used ever since whenever Klingon dialogue
is called for in the movies and in ST:TNG.
It is described in
	The Klingon Dictionary
	Mark Okrand
	Pocket Books
	ISBN 0-671-66648-7
	Approx. US$5
Despite the title, about 50% of the space in the book is taken up
with a description of the grammar.
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Message 4: RE: 2.723 Queries

Date: Thu, 31 Oct 91 15:06:50 EST
From: "Erik Carvalhal Miller <>
Subject: RE: 2.723 Queries
>From: Ellen Kaisse <>
>Subject: language in StarTrekV
>I saw StarTrek V for the first time this weekend (I had been residing on
>another planet when it came out, apparently) - the one called The
>Final Frontier, or something like that, where they across the Great
>Barrier and find an evil creature impersonanting God. In this Star
>Trek, the Klingons speak in Klingon aboard their own vessel, and we
>get English subtitles. I was pretty impressed with how believeable
>this language sounded, but I didn't want to impose on my friends
>clustered around the VCR and keep winding it back to see if it
>was SOV, had ejectives, etc. Does anyone know anything about the
>creation of this language? As I recall, there was a credit for
>'Klingon dialect coach' or something like that, a Marc Ok-something.
>If it were a real language (Abkhaz leapt to mind, largely, I suspect,
>because I've never *heard* Abkhaz), they'd have to have said so, wouldn't
>they? It idlely crossed my mind that this Klingon clip would make a
>good mid-November visual/aural aid in an intro class.
>-ellen kaisse (
Marc Okrand did indeed design the Klingon language used in _Star_Trek_V:_The_
_Final_Frontier_ (it also appeared, with subtitles, in the first and third
movies and is slated for the sixth). The same language (but with greatly
varying pronunciation) is used on the _Star_Trek--The_Next_Generation_ TV show
in episodes like "A Matter of Honor," "Sins of the Father," and "Redemption."
You can learn more about Klingon (or Klingonese) by checking out Okrand's
_Klingon_Dictionary_, a paperback available from Pocket Books or whoever it is
who publishes the ongoing series of _Trek_ novels. (Note: I don't think an
update has appeared since its first printing, around the time _STIII_ came out.)
Incidentally, I have met someone who learned Klingonese--with the help of film
clips--at a summer camp for gifted high school students. Apparently the kids
had to do videotaped skits, so my friend's group did a Klingon _Leave_It_to_
_Beaver_. Oh--Klingon is OVS.
Erik Carvalhal Miller, Klinguist
Indiana University (Bloomington)
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