tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Apr 17 10:17:40 2002

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Re: Alphabet/ new(old) klingon

> In the last two issues of HolQeD, more specifically in "Closed Captions"
> were transcripts of the newest Star Trek series - Enterprise. Of course
> only the klingon part :-)
> Anyway, this "klingon" surely isn't the same klingon that is upheld by
> the KLI. What is it then? It seems to make use of a totally different
> alphabet - letters like "x" and such.

As others point out, nothing in these closed captions have anything to do with 
tlhIngan Hol. HolQeD presents them only for those who are curious about what 
Paramount is putting out. In extremely rare cases, a word or two will be 
recognizable, but it is random.

> So, the actual klingon alphabet consists of
> "a b ch D e gh H I j l m n ng o p q Q r S t tlh u v w y ' " right?

This is Okrand's romanized, phonetic alphabet used on Earth to represent spoken 
Klingon. We know nothing about pIqaD, the Klingon writing system. Some of us 
have created our own writing system using characters similar to those shown in 
the movies that map characters to the phonetic alphabet you show above. Those 
who use it write from left to right just like they would with the romanized 
alphabet, but with these alternate characters.

Meanwhile, Okuda, the man who oversees most of the artwork and design in the 
Star Trek series, "greeks" all the Klingon text that appears on objects and 
control panels in the movies or TV and he insists that the Klingon writing 
system is too alien for us to understand it. It's a cop-out so he can design 
his sets without having to consult with anyone on what he should write where.

> Are
> there any additions in development or planed? If not, how is this
> "new klingon" going to fit in?

Sometimes, as with the word {parmaq}, if the TV series pushes a word one of 
their writers made up without talking to Okrand, Okrand will respond by making 
the word official. This usually involves correcting the spelling to fit the way 
Klingon words are pronounced, though it has yet to affect the grammar.

Sometimes, phrases from the fiction writers are accepted by Okrand as {no' 
Hol}; something indecipherable, but fossilized so you say the phrase and it 
means something, even though none of the individual words in the phrase 
currently have any meaning. It is almost like, je ne sait quois, a phrase du 
jour that one accepts from another lingua franca without actually knowing how 
to speak that other language.

> Is it a language at all?

Not really.

> Who made it, if so?

Fiction writers working for Paramount.

> On a side note: Is there any explanation why the klingons look different
> in the older(production time series? After all, it seems as if they
> admitted the fact during that DS9/TOS "crossover" with the tribbles...

At least one fan-written story explains that the Klingons seen in TOS were 
genetically altered in order to infiltrate and spy on the Feds. According to 
that telling, the early viewed Klingons were exceptional with a special 
mission. Their population was finite in both time and location; a specialized 
wing of the Klingon military.

> Christoph

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