The sounds of Klingon individually occur in existing Terran languages, but no single language uses the entire collection. Paramount wanted the language to be gutteral and harsh, and Okrand wanted it to be unusual, so he selected sounds that combined in ways not typically found in other languages (e.g. a retroflex D and a dental t, but no retroflex T or dental d). Here’s a description of the sounds of Klingon, and the way they’re written in the standard Okrand writing-system (see another page for a discussion of another writing system). You can also find out about some everyday phrases in Klingon.
Note that some of the sounds of Klingon are represented by more than one letter of English. You should think of these combinations as single letters, since they represent single, simple sounds in Klingon. So a Klingon ng is not an n followed by g (Klingon has no g anyway!); it’s a simple sound on its own.
You’ll also find that the orthography of Klingon uses capital and lowercase letters a little differently from the way you’re used to. Mostly, capital letters are used to help remind you that a letter sounds different in Klingon than it does in English. Be careful when writing Klingon to use the correct capitalization (i.e., the capitalization appropriate for the sound; do not capitalize the first letter of your sentences in Klingon), since otherwise it’s hard for people used to the language to read it. Be especially careful with q and Q, since these represent different sounds in Klingon (confusing them would be like confusing “f” and “g” and English). Also be careful with the letter ', the apostrophe. It may not look like much to English-accustomed eyes, but in Klingon it’s a full-fledged letter. Omitting it would be like deciding it’s not important to type “t”‘s in English anymore.
When speaking Klingon, be sure to speak forcefully. Some of the sounds may make the person you’re talking to a little wet. This is correct and to be expected.
If your machine can produce sounds, select the letters showing how the sound is written to hear a sample pronunciation (by Mark Shoulson). Vowels are demonstrated with the consonant “b” on either side of them, so the example for the Klingon a will sound like someone saying bab. Consonants are demonstrated at the beginning of a syllable, between syllables, and at the end of a syllable, using the vowel a. So the example for the Klingon ch will sound like someone saying chachach (see? The sound ch at the beginning, between two vowels, and at the end).