tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jun 23 14:23:14 2009

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Re: Klingon orthography

Michael Everson (everson@evertype.com)



On 23 Jun 2009, at 20:22, qurgh lungqIj wrote:

> As a programmer who has worked a lot with Klingon, especially in  
> databases,
> I'm going to have to disagree with this statement. A computer sees  
> q, Q, u
> and U as different symbols, each with their own binary code.

As the present expert in the Universal Character Set, I'm going to  
have to reiterate that whilst q and Q have different code points, for  
certain very important operations, like searching, and casing, and  
(basic) sorting, these characters are treated as equivalents of one  
another. Conversely, the letters k and x are NEVER considered  
equivalent for any of those operations.

> It's only confusing to a human.

Here is some text in standard Klingon orthography:

Sar jeSwI'ma': jeS Hov leng parHa'wI'pu', Sov luneHmo' 'ej yu'
luneHmo'; jeS je Dabogh QujwI'pu', tlhIngan 'oSbogh ghotqoq'e' teHmoH
luneHmo'; jeS je HolQeD, De'wI'QeD, yabQeD je HaDbogh HaDwI'pu'
po'wI'pu' je, DuSaQDaq QIjmeH tlhIngan Hol lo'mo', qoj Qu' Quj je DuD
luneHmo' neH.

I used a simple operation to uppercase this text:

SAR JESWI'MA': JES HOV LENG PARHA'WI'PU', SOV LUNEHMO' 'EJ YU'
LUNEHMO'; JES JE DABOGH QUJWI'PU', TLHINGAN 'OSBOGH GHOTQOQ'E' TEHMOH
LUNEHMO'; JES JE HOLQED, DE'WI'QED, YABQED JE HADBOGH HADWI'PU'
PO'WI'PU' JE, DUSAQDAQ QIJMEH TLHINGAN HOL LO'MO', QOJ QU' QUJ JE DUD
LUNEHMO' NEH.

This cannot be reversed, except to:

sar jeswi'ma': jes hov leng parha'wi'pu', sov lunehmo' 'ej yu'
lunehmo'; jes je dabogh qujwi'pu', tlhingan 'osbogh ghotqoq'e' tehmoh
lunehmo'; jes je holqed, de'wi'qed, yabqed je hadbogh hadwi'pu'
po'wi'pu' je, dusaqdaq qijmeh tlhingan hol lo'mo', qoj qu' quj je dud
lunehmo' neh.

Data has been irretrievably lost.

> My computer has had no issues working with the current Klingon  
> orthography.

See above. Also, try to google search for "Qoj" 'to make war' omitting  
any instance of "qoj" 'cliff'.

> It'll happily convert it to unicode (PUA) based pIqaD (which seems  
> like a much more useful project to work on that trying to
> change a romanization system).

Both are worthy tasks.

> I've created for various systems for inputting pIqaD naively for  
> Windows. [...] Linux can have pIqaD support added quite easily and  
> MacOSX
> shouldn't be hard to do since it already has a Klingon local.

I have a pIqaD keyboard for OS X somewhere around. It's been a while.  
Nevertheless, this is a different problem than the problem of Latin  
orthography for Klingon.

> Instead of trying to change the current system that works great no  
> matter
> your system of transcription (pen, pencil, computer, PDA) let's try  
> and get
> more pIqaD support.

The current system works great except in a modern computing environment.

> Yes, it's a system semi-created by the KLI, but it gets us to the  
> same point you want to be at without having to republish every
> piece of Klingon work ever done.

Now, hang on. Klingon has been used for 24 years, and it's only in the  
last 16 or so that there's been an Internet much less a growth in  
Klingon literature. **NOW** is a much better time to take these issues  
seriously and sort out bugs in the system than would 24 years hence,  
in 2033, don't you think?

> If it was rejected because there isn't enough communications  
> occuring in it, all we have to do is increase it's usage. To me this  
> is like complain that romaji isn't good enough while not even having  
> support for Kanji/Kana.

Not quite all. Frankly I think that if there were a spelling reform  
that showed that the Klingon community was CONCERNED about the  
lossyness  of q/Q (never mind the utterly marginal but strangely  
pleasing u/U) then meaningful dialogue about the drawbacks of PUA- 
encoded Piqad [sic] would be a lot easier. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE  
UNWILLINGNESS OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEES TO DEAL WITH KLINGON AT ALL.

Do remember, I'm on your side. I was the one who proposed the RFC 1766  
language subtag i-klingon in 1999, and then later got the *formal* ISO  
639-2 code "tlh" for Klingon in 2004. Neither was the easiest battle  
to fight. May'mey 'aÄ viÅuvta'. may'mey 'ach vISuvta'.

I know, I know, nobody likes orthography reform. And if we come up  
with something good there's no guarantee that Marc Okrand will bless  
it. The questions raised, about legibility and character choice in a  
casing Klingon are still *interesting*. I'm hoping people will look at  
the examples posted and comment on them even in the abstract.

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/







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