tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Apr 26 13:50:25 2002

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Re: Quote from Khamlet

As I remember Okrand explaining it, he was told ahead of time to prepare "a 
line from Shakespeare". He wasn't told which one.

He made a list of good, Klingon-sounding lines for the producer/director, 
Leanard Nimoy, to choose from. When the scene was about to be shot, Nimoy 
turned to Okrand and said, "Gimme 'To be or not to be.'"

Okrand, somewhat stunned, looked at his list and knew it was useless. Here's 
the guy with the checkbook. He want's "To be or not to be". He took the {-taH} 
suffix and declared it a verb, since he was indeed determined not to let the 
language acquire the verb "to be".

Unfortunately, he didn't have time to think through the prefix or any suffixes, 
so the line is somewhat rough.

As for Plummer, instead of saying, {taH... pagh taHbe'}, he said, {taH pagh... 
taHbe'.} He then asked Okrand if his phrasing fit the translation and Okrand 
indicated that it didn't, and Plummer smiled and said he liked that it didn't, 
since that would mean it was more alien.

But that's just my memory of how Okrand told it; definitely paraphrased. I lack 
SuStel's phonographic memory and this was a lot of years ago.


> juDmoS:
> >Actually, maybe not... see, the "taH pagh taHbe'" quote was actually used in
> >the movie... Christopher Plummer quoting Shakespeare from the original
> >Klingon.. and the genesis of the Shakespeare Restoration Project, to boot...
> Two stories from Klingon tradition:
> In a brief interview during UPN's "Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special", 
> Marc Okrand talked about how he had to invent the verb {taH}.  I didn't see 
> the show, but as I understand it Okrand had originally translated the line 
> as {yIn pagh yInbe'}, but when it came time to film the scene actor 
> Christopher Plummer (Chang) didn't think the line sounded "Klingon" (i.e. 
> guttural) enough, so the director asked him to rewrite it on the spot with 
> the cast and crew waiting.  Okrand later reported at a qep'a' that when 
> they sprang this on him, he said to himself that no matter what, there was 
> no way he was going to put a copula (i.e. "to be") into Klingon, especially 
> not NOW and so he quickly adapted the existing verb suffix {-taH} into a 
> separate verb {taH} "continue, go on, endure" - complete with a guttural 
> /H/ that Plummer could emphasize for effect.
> And in KGT (p. 194) we read about the dangers of not enunciating Klingon 
> properly:
>    "There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of a non-Klingon actor who 
> attempted to
>     play the lead in the original Klingon version of Shakespeare's Hamlet 
> but was
>     shouted off the stage when he began the famous soliloquy by saying, 
> {taQ pagh
>     taQbe'} ("To be weird or not to be weird"), rather than the correct 
> {taH pagh
>     taHbe'} ("To be or not to be; literally", '[one] continues or [one] 
> does not
>     continue')."
> I wonder... Which actor did Okrand have in mind when he wrote this?  <g>
> -- 
> Voragh
> Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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