tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Jun 26 03:11:20 2009

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: Klingon IPA chart

Michael Everson (

On 26 Jun 2009, at 01:06, ghunchu'wI' wrote:

> On Jun 25, 2009, at 5:55 PM, Michael Everson wrote:
> "...[É] is a slang variant of [u]."  I think you might be referring  
> to the {qUlegh} example from KGT page 139.  The vowel being relaxed
> is {a}, not {u}.

Ah yes, that was a hypercorrection since Okrand writes it U. Thanks.

> And it's not a "slang" variant, it's a lazy and  incorrect one. :)

Laziness and incorrectness betoken "slang". I could say "informal".

> If you wish to represent childish speech, you should include the  
> voiced variant of {j},

You mean "the fricative {zh} variant of {j}".

> the more "k"-ish version of {q},

"the velar {k} variant of {q}"

> and the "nyet"-like pronunciation of syllable-initial {ng}, all  
> described on  KGT page 32.

"the palatal {É} variant of syllable-initial {Å}"; you missed out  
"the alveolar {n} variant of syllable-final {Å}" and "the affricate  
{ch} variant of syllable-final {tlh}".

I'm not sure that child phonemes belong in the chart, though they do  
belong in the description.

> "In Morskan dialect, [Él] is an initial and medial, and [ts] a final,
> variant of [tÉ]." What do you mean by "medial"?

In the middle of a word between two vowels. I was thinking that  
{tlhutlh} 'drink', Morskan {ghluts} would be {jItlhutlh}, {jIghluts}.  
I suppose that I considered that {jItlhutlh'a'} would be Morskan  
{jIghluts'a'} (and not *{jIghlughl'a'} because -'a' begins with a  

I think on reflection that there's only one way to know whether the  
distrubution if {ghl} is syllable-initial or initial/medial would be  
to know whether {chatlhoy} 'soupkin' (KGT p. 201) would be realized in  
Morskan as {chatsoy} or {chaghloy}. Okrand describes the distribution  
of {ghl} and {ts} in terms of morpheme boundaries, but the sound  
change would be effectuated in terms of the phonological environment.  
Since the prefixes all end in vowels, it is possible to describe this  
as (V)tlhV -> (V)ghlV in Morskan; {chaghloy} would fit into this  

Could you please ask Marc Okrand to clarify this point? It is beyond  
obscure, I know...

> KGT page 22 says that the variation depends on whether the sound is  
> at the beginning or end of a syllable, not of a word.  The only  
> thing in the middle of a Klingon syllable is a vowel.

See above.

> You've ignored the untrilled "r" in the consonant cluster {rgh} at  
> the end of some syllables.  I mention it because your chart notes  
> seem to be striving for completeness of description.

Can you point me to Okrand's description of this? I couldn't find it.

> I thought "h" was a fricative, not an affricate.

As indeed are x and É. Pasting error.

> I'm only going to say this once:  Klingon does not have diphthongs  
> as distinct phonemes.

Well, it does have limitations on which pairs are found (no *ow, no  
*uw). Indeed he gives a whole section of these in the section on  
vowels, which is just where one would expect to find diphthongs  
described. So I am not sure why you are so adamant that Klingon does  
not have diphthongs.

It appears that the analysis of the diphthongs is VC('), and that  
apart from {'} other *VyC and *VwC combinations do not occur.

By the way, Okrand transcribes the voiceless [w] as {Hw} which would  
be [xw]; I have transcribed it as [Ê] because that is what I have  
heard in actual use.

I have uploaded a revised chart at

Michael Everson *

Back to archive top level