tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jun 23 07:41:03 2009

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RE: Klingon orthography (was: Okrand at qep'a')

Matthew Hamby (

I for one agree with Michael.  I don't see it at all as being an issue of whether or not tlhIngan Hol will survive.  There doesn't seem to be any question about that.  It's a problem related to legibility and data integrity.  When MO created the writing system, such things as auto-correcting Word processors and the internet weren't issues like they are now.  The supposition that data might get pushed through an all caps filter is not unreasonable.  On the contrary.  In this day and age, it's unlikely that data wouldn't, at some point in its life span, at least get pushed through a filter that would regularize the cases to English (or some other) standard.  That would make the text unreadable.  Add to that the issues of searchability and storage, I think it would be wise to look seriously at an orthography reform.
In choosing a new orthography, I also have some knowledge of PUA ranges, and agree that they should be completely avoided.  If you use PUA, at some point there will be sorrow.

So, for my vote, I think initially that I like the third option that Michael listed in his previous message:  eng, x, t-stroke.  T-stroke is the only really unusual character, at least for me, so it seems the easiest to change to.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Michael Everson
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 4:46 AM
Subject: Re: Klingon orthography (was: Okrand at qep'a')

On 23 Jun 2009, at 10:12, Michael Roney, Jr. wrote:

> First I find it amusing that a post about orthography starts with an  
> orthographic typo.

Ah. Recte "nuqneH". See? I just can't STAND sentences that don't begin  
with capital letters. Nuqneh!

> Second, tlhIngan Hol has survived and will continue to survive with  
> it's current romanization.

It's "its" current romanization. So there. ;-)

"Survive", sure. But the fact that two different letters are  
represented by only *one* letter is very bad indeed. You really can't  
get Google to search for "qab" vs "Qab" for instance. And what about  
casing operations? You've got some text and it runs through an ALL  
CAPS filter. Becomes illegible.

> I can read Klingon very easily just the way it is.

Nobody much likes spelling reform, because everyone tends to be  
conservative. Having said that the Klingon Dictionary was published  
only in 1985. It was one thing for Marc to use D and H and I and Q and  
S in a book printed long before the Internet, as a guide to indicate  
that the sounds were "special" i.e. "non-English", but it's not a  
question of "reading Klingon". It's a question of data processing; of  
storing, of searching, of dealing with software that cases and uncases  

> I am a bit rusty with pIqaD, but I can pick it back up if it gains  
> popularity.
> I can even read pots formatted as XIFAN HOL.

Then it'd be easy for you to adapt to a sensible spelling reform for  
Klingon, if consensus can be had for one . ;-)

> That was THREE different systems.
> That sounds like enough to me.

Doesn't address the issues raised.

> Third, I can view all of your nifty symbols *except* your suggestion  
> for <Q>. Any symbol or character that isn't supported by default  
> doesn't work.

I won't dispute that.

The suggestions I listed for Q were: qÏ (q chi), x, ê (q with stroke  
through tail), Ï (chi), qÌ (q with caron), q. I suspect that q with  
stroke through tail didn't come through as it was added to Unicode  
fairly recently. It has the merit of being a single character, where q  
with caron is a base plus a combining character since there's no  
precomposed character to go along with it.

Other options could be Æ Æ (gha), È (qp digraph), É É (q with hook  
tail), Ê (q with hook).

> That's why, among other reasons, pIqaD isn't used. Not everyone can  
> view it.

The reason it's not used is that Private Use Area encoding is not so  
stable. Believe me, I know ****alllllll**** about it.

> But it does look like you put a lot of thought and effort into this.  
> Good job.

Well, yours might be a vote for the status quo -- but I'd like to know  
what Marc Okrand thinks, in particular about data integrity, sorting  
and searching and so on.

Having said all that... can you look at all those choices I gave and  
(modulo what to do with Q), which one or ones do you find easiest to  
read? Which ones would you not consider at all? (Indulge my thought  
and effort...)

Michael Everson *

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