tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jun 10 16:01:52 2002

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Re: klingon letters

> > for curiosity: isn't it strange that the klingon transcription in
> > english has "D", "S", "I" without any "d", "s", or "i"?
> > why do you use capital letters at all (you could use "x" instead of
> > "H", "k" instead of "Q", "z" instead of "tlh" or something like that)?

>uppercase?... The dictionary was written for American actors.  Some of the
>sounds are similar to how we already say them; w is w, n is n.  Some of the
>sounds are only slightly different; using uppercase flags these sounds as 
>different from how we normally pronounce them.  D is not the same why we say
>d.  Sure Okrand could have used d instead of D, but then people would 
>forget to
>pronounce it differently.

Exactly.  Okrand uses upper-case D, S, I and Q as a reminder to the actors 
- and only later Klingonists like us - that these phonemes are not 
articulated the same as the same letters in English.  Okrand was limited 
for practical reasons to the symbols on a standard US typewriter keyboard, 
so he couldn't use the more precise International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) 
preferred by linguists.  BTW, using upper case letters like this is common 
in other non-IPA phonetic systems.  I've seen several schemes for 
transcribing Arabic where velarized (or "dark") and other contrasting 
consonants are represented using upper-case:  t/T, d/D, z/Z, h/H, etc.

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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