tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Jan 21 22:22:58 1999

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Re: RE: KLBC: capitals in the writing system

ja' charghwI':
>My understanding is that Okrand fudged IPA, mimicking parts of
>it and whole-cloth making up other parts.

I don't have it documented anywhere, but I remember his saying that
he originally developed Klingon phonology using IPA.  The spelling
system presented in TKD was developed so the actors in Star Trek III
could read it. :-)  Its representability in ASCII text is a bonus.

>While I don't read IPA, I've heard it remarked that the
>uppercase/lowercase of most Klingon characters follows, in part,
>what would be IPA conventions for those sounds, hence the
>mysterious {I} pagh pondered.

Specifically, the Klingon {I} sound is represented in IPA by a
"small capital" /I/, the same size as a lowercase "i" but lacking
a dot and having full crosspieces at top and bottom.

>Basically, don't worry about why certain characters are
>uppercase and others are lowercase. Just learn them.

That's perfect advice.  We don't worry why "b" and "p" and "d" and "q"
are basically reflections of the same shape in English.  We just learn
and use them.  (Some of us go so far as to learn the unofficial pIqaD
character mapping, and I don't recall anyone wondering why certain of
those characters have loops and others have points and a couple of them
are in two separate pieces.)

>Yes. Even though some fonts don't differentiate between the
>lowercase "L" and uppercase "i", in Klingon, the syllables are
>regular enough that when you see a vertical line, you know by
>its position whether it is "L" or "i".

This works until you try to read a sentence about your sincere neighbors
transmitting you all your useful minerals:

tlhIllIj lI' lIlI'lI' jIllI' 'Il

That's a pathological example, of course. :-)

>After you get used to it,
>you quickly become irritated by text written with the wrong
>case. "jiyaj" looks as bad to me aS tHis LOokS tO YoU.

It's amazing how quickly something like {qaStaH} goes from looking weird
to looking perfectly normal, while *{qastah} looks...foreign. :-)

-- ghunchu'wI'

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