tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jun 28 13:38:53 1993

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Re: Klingon "with", cases, etc.

On Jun 25, 11:05pm, wrote:
> I'm no master of Trek lore, but I have heard that the Star Trek
> Encyclopedia overtly draws comparisons between Klingon culture and the
> Terran Mongolian culture.  Can anyone confirm this?  If so, it would not be
> surprising to find that Okrand modeled the outline of the Klingon language
> on Mongolian and similar languages.  The superficial cultural and
> linguistic resemblances are striking.  I note also that the Mongolian word
> for "language" is not Hol but (using the Klingon orthography) Hel.
> Ken Beesley

     I have it from Marc Okrand personally that he did not model Klingon on
any single language. He has had people "knowingly" tell him that they were
sure it was based upon Arabic, several different Native American languages
(he did do his dissertation on nearly extinct South-Western Native American
languages, after all), Hebrew, and more.

     The point is, he went waaaay out of his way to make Klingon as foreign
as possible. He would intentionally follow the norms of a language, then find
some other area to violate those norms, hence features like the differing
tongue positions for D and t, which in ANY natural language, tends to be in
one of those two positions, but not both. OVS word ordering was the one order
he could not find in any other language.

     His only directions were in one case, a reference by a director to a
line in the script "spoken in his gutteral Klingon", another direction that
it be macho and stucatto, similar to the Japanese spoken in samarai movies,
and lastly, that he accept the sounds already made up by the actor in ST1. He
made the rest up. No single human language sits at the core of Klingon.

     Also, in reference to other discussion on left to right or right to
left, etc., Okuda stubbornly refuses to allow the use of his alphabet for ANY
mapping to something actually readable in ANY direction. Dr. Laurence Schoen
adapted the alphabet and assigned it to characters mapped according to the
letters in TKD (so that "tlh" is one letter, for example). I think this is
enormously useful. I like it.

     Meanwhile, Okuda says ixnay and Okrand bows to his preferences, so we
are unlikely to see any Klingon on the set of any movie or TV show that we
can read, upside down or inside out. Okuda fears that the letters will not
look foreign enough when viewed from a distance if they are mapped to real
messages. He thinks it would look like greeked English.

     Given the liberties TNG has taken with the spoken language, I do not
personnally see why we can't take Dr. Schoen's alphabet and use it left to
right, centered and without punctuation. My personal experience is that it
both looks QUITE foreign AND is very legible for one with a decent working
knowledge of Klingon.

     But then, who am I, anyway?

--   charghwI'

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