tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jan 28 23:12:50 2002

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Re: Klingon alphabet -pIqaD

From: <>
> Now you've got me scratching my head.   I thought that pIqaD was now
considered the official system of writing.   If it isn't, Then I will be
sorely disappointed seeing as I am working on a project in hopes that it
will be accepted by the KLI.  If pIqaD is considered the KLI 'official'
writing system I would like to be informed.  If it is I'll continue my work
for presentation.  If it is not, I will continue my work for myself.
>      Not being a linguistics expert myself, and as I consider pIqaD as the
writing system for tlhIngan Hol, I don't see it as a sylabary with a
combination of sounds for each character, as hiragana and katakana are in
Japanese. Nor do I see it as a pictorial style of writing as Kanji (Chinese
writing) is.   Not being knowledgeable enough in these matters, I see it as
an alphabet with each letter having it's own specific sound.
> For those unfamiliar with pIqaD, tlh  is one letter. Q  and q are two
entirely different letters and have a different sound. ng is one letter.

The Klingon Dictionary mentions the Klingon writing system -- and calls it
/pIqaD/ (though it's not clear if that's a specific writing system or the
generic word for any writing system).  This is the stuff you see on TV and
in the movies: on Klingon tactical displays, on banners, and so on.  This is
the Klingon writing system.

The Klingon Dictionary does not actually present the writing system used by
Klingons.  Nothing does.  Marc Okrand (who "manages" the language) and Mike
Okuda (who "manages" the scenic designs of the shows) haven't agreed upon a
correlation between the symbols we see and the language.  All the stuff you
see on TV is just symbols thrown around, with no meaning.

Now, TKD does use a system to represent the SOUNDS of Klingon.  The
three-letter combination "tlh" represents a single sound in Klingon.  So
does "a" and "gh" and "r."  This is a handy way for us English speakers to
learn to speak Klingon.  But it tells us nothing whatsoever about how to
WRITE in the Klingon writing system.  It just tells us how to write in a
latin script to represent the PRONUNCIATION of Klingon.

The make this even more confusing, the KLI has adopted, completely on its
own and without any official OK by Okrand or Okuda or anybody, a bunch of
the symbols that show up on the shows and movies.  These symbols have had
the sounds of Klingon, as described in TKD, mapped onto them to form an
alphabet.  It's unofficial.  It doesn't count.  It's there for fun, so that
SOME kind of writing can be done.  If you wrote something in the KLI's
pIqaDqoq and handed it to a Klingon, he wouldn't understand any of it.  His
writing system is totally different, and he hasn't told us what it is.

So the thing you see on the KLI's website isn't official.  It's not "really"
the Klingon writing system.  But some people use it as if it were.  Marc
Okrand has said on more than one occasion that he doesn't think the Klingon
writing system is an alphabet.

Stardate 2078.5

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