tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Dec 28 11:15:37 1999

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Re: Stress in Klingon

On Sun, 26 Dec 1999 12:48:57 -0500 (EST) 

> "William H. Martin" wrote:
> > 
> > > >   jems tIy qIrq       James T. Kirk
> > > Doesn't this violate some rules of Klingon phonology?  From
> > > looking at the other names I'd have expected <jemIs> and <qIrqa'>
> > > (or something like that).
> > 
> > This is not a Klingon name. It is a Klingon transliteration of
> > an English name. We similarly pronounce foreign names with
> > sounds that violate English phonology. Bwana.
> > 
> I based my comment on MO's transliterations of some other 
> English names, namely:
> barbara' ma'rIch        Barbara March
> ghuwI'nItlh wa'lIS      Gwynyth Walsh
> rabe'rIt 'o'raylIy      Robert O'Reilly

Fine. He also transliterated {jan luq pIqarD}. Two captains. Two 
violations of Klingon phonology. Coincidence? I don't think so. 
Who knows what secrets lurk in the shadows of Okrand's mind?

I think Okrand had fun transliterating those names and I think 
he doesn't have to always follow the rules. In particular, I 
have the unjustifiable suspicion that the rules of phonology 
were bent specifically for these two captains as a sign of 
significance, if not respect. They hear the names a lot, whether 
as friend or foe, spoken in DIvI' Hol and so they learn the 
alien pronunciation more closely. They don't even do this for 
the name "Enterprise" where they drop the last consonant in 
order to keep to the phonology. (How many more times will I find 
a place to use that word?)
> It seems to me that when English is transliterated into Klingon,
> syllables involving multiple consonants are broken up.  Thus,
> <rabe'rIt> rather than, say, <rabert>, and <ma'rIch> not <march>,
> <wa'lIS> not <walS> etc.  So it looks like <jems> should be <jemIS>.
> Of course, "James T. Kirk" was probably one of the first names
> transliterated by MO, so he might have changed his mind/elaborated
> more on phonology since then.  

Actually, I'm fairly certain that it is a very recent 
transliteration. Also note the lowercase "s". I think there is 
something intentionally different being done for the names of 
these two captains. I doubt we'll see this kind of deviation for 
other people, either actors or characters.
> (And also, even when names get translitered into a language they 
> are not always done consistently, e.g. "Yeung" and "Yang" are 
> the same Chinese name transliterated into English.  So maybe
> different Klingons transliterate different ways.  Especially
> perhaps those who are more familiar with Federation Standard are
> more likely to use <jemS> which is closer to the original.)

So, was that supposed to be an uppercase {S} or a lowercase "s"? 
In any case, while you may be right, I suspect we'll never see 
James T. Kirk or John Luc Pikard transliterated to follow Klingon
phonological rules more closely and I doubt we'll see other 
names transliterated as loosely. It's just intuition. I think 
there is either an inside joke or a cultural statement being 
made here.
> --
> De'vID
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