tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jun 23 17:59:03 2009

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Re: Klingon orthography

Brent Kesler ( [KLI Member]

On Tue, Jun 23, 2009 at 4:41 PM, Michael Everson<> wrote:
> On 23 Jun 2009, at 23:13, David Trimboli wrote:
>> Like ghunchu'wI', I don't consider Google to be an appropriate
>> standard of
>> data processing to aim for.
> It's not Google. It's the normative equivalence between Q and q in
> many contexts that is the level of data processing that is the
> problem. Google is just one obvious implementation of that.

The question I immediately ask myself is: How often has this been a
problem? How often do we convert romanized Klingon into all caps? How
many software tools would we like to use for Klingon data processing
but can't, simply because of this normative standard? Can any of these
tools be easily modified to handle our unique constraints? Do we
really lack strong case-sensitive processing tools?

I have gripes about Okrand's romanization, but I think it has too much
institutional inertia to be reformed, just like the qwerty keyboard.
New speakers trained in any new romanization would be unable to read
the classic texts, such as Hamlet and ghIlghameS, unless they learn
the old romanization, which defeats the purpose of introducing the new
system in the first place. Since Klingon studies is mostly done in the
written language, you'd have to republish at lot of material to
support the new romanization, which would be expensive, and has no
guarantee of succeeding. Without republishing, we'd have two
completing systems of romanization with no way to enforce the use of
one over the other. Sure, KLI could publish only in the new system,
but people would continue to use the old system on blogs and websites.
Trying to enforce one over the other on this list would probably just
create a lot of unnecessary political drama.

Remember, it took nearly fifty years for Pinyin to replace Wades-Giles
for romanizing Chinese, the official language of a country with a
population of a billion people and a major role in international trade
and security -- and it had official government support!

In principle, I agree with every point you've made. But when I weight
the costs of reform against the costs of the current system, a new
romanization seems like a solution looking for a problem.


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