tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Apr 15 08:50:02 2002

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Re: "be'be'" - double negation

I always find it amusing to see someone comment about how Klingon is "just 
like" some other language, given that so far different people have said that 
Klingon is "obviously based upon" Arabic, various Native American languages, a 
slavic language or two, Norwegian, Chinese and several others.

The simple truth is, Okrand didn't have time to make up something with no 
reference to existing languages, so he pulled together "features" of many 
different languages that struck him as particularly interesting, especially if 
they did no match language influences already in Klingon.

The only element of Klingon that we know to be distinctly Native American is 
the comparative, which has nothing to do with anything else in the language. We 
also know that the retroflex {D} is a mismatch for the dental {t} in that human 
languages either use dental {d} and {t} (like English} or they use the 
retroflex {D} and {T}, or they use all four consonants, but nothing human 
contains the mismatched pair of the Klingon {D} and {t}.

Okrand never denies that there are influences from different human languages, 
but he has explained that when he finds common patterns like "1, 2, 3" or "a, 
b, c", he tries, in Klingon, to use "1, 2, c". He also seeks the least common 
features, like the "object - verb - subject" word order, which is not unique, 
but probably the least common among human languages.


> ja'pu' SuStel:
> >you can't use your knowledge of human language rules to draw conclusions
> >about Klingon, because Klingon was designed not to be one of them.
> ja' "Sean M. Burke" <>:
> >Was it?  Because except for its overly uniform syllable structure and
> >simple syntax, Klingon looks like a pretty run-of-the-mill American Indian
> >language.
> Look both closer and further, and you'll see that the similarity is not
> significant.  Yes, there are some non-Indo-European features of Klingon
> which mirror features in Athabaskan, but there are also features of Klingon
> which have counterparts in Hungarian, Chinese, Hebrew, and just about any
> other non-IE language you care to mention.
> It's common for people with experience in a particular "exotic" language to
> see it reflected in Klingon, or vice versa.  The truth of the matter is
> that when Okrand noticed his work getting too much like any specific
> natural language, he intentionally took a completely different direction.
> >It's certainly not shockingly nonhuman like, say, Lojban is.
> "Nonhuman?"  Like Klingon, Loglan/Lojban was devised by humans, to be
> spoken by humans.  Perhaps "non-natural" would be a better term.
> -- ghunchu'wI'

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