tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri May 08 09:04:12 2009

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RE: Slate article by Arika Okrent

Steven Boozer (

>Here's a new Slate article about the Klingon language, written by Arika

Some more information:

"There's no Klingon word for Hello: a history of the gruff but surprisingly sophisticated invented language and the people who speak it" by Arika Okrent. 
"Arika holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and a first-level certification in Klingon. She is the author of 'In the Land of Invented Languages' [2009]."

This is a good opportunity to share my (non-comprehensive) bibliographies.  Please feel free to send me corrections and additions in any language!


"A Brief History of Klingon" by Dr. Lawrence Schoen: 

Wikipedia's brief description of the Klingons is at:  
and the Klingon language: 

"The Klingon Language" by Hoovooloo (?) 

"Definition of Klingon language" (a nice introduction to the language) 

Alberto Lisiero and Gabriella Cordone discuss Klingon in their "I malati devono morire, soli i forti devono vivere" (Torino: Edizioni Star Trek Italian Club, 1991).

Paolo Albani and Berlinghiero Buonarroti's article on "Klingon, lingua dei" in their book "Aga magèra difùra: dizionario delle lingue immaginarie" (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1994; pp. 213-214).

"Klingon and Esperanto: The Odd Couple?" by Glen Proechel 
[A short article first published in 1994 in "Esperanto U.S.A."]

"A survey of the artificial language tlhIngan Hol: from creation to creativity" by Teresa Lynn Wells. Thesis (M.A.)--Arizona State University, 1996.

"Is Klingon an Ohlonean language? A comparison of Mutsun and Klingon" by Dick Grune (April 19, 1996) 
For more information on Mutsun & Southern Ohlonean languages see: 
and especially Marc Okrand's "Mutsun Grammar" (his unpublished 1977 Ph.D. dissertation at the University of California/Berkeley).

"Klingon and its users: a sociolinguistic profile" by Judith Hermans. Thesis (M.A.)--Language and Culture Studies, Tilburg University, 1999. 
  Fundamental issues in nationalism theory resurface in a discussion of Klingon users: is national identity essential and quasi-genetic, or voluntary political choice? "Klingon is an artificial language, originally created for fiction. This means that is was not designed for real use. The strange thing is that, although it was not constructed for real communication, people began to use it for communication. This makes Klingon a very special artificial language. ... How could it happen that so many people as a way of communication picked up a language that was not meant to be used for communication? ... Language is maybe the best group marker there is. There are more markers, like clothing or the mark of your car or attributes, but language is the best because an individual can influence it himself."

"Klingon as curriculum: militias, minstrel shows and other language games" (chap. 5 [pp. 127-154] of "Teaching toward the 24th century: Star Trek as social curriculum" by Karen Anijar. New York: Falmer Press, 2000.)

"Lingüística klingon: Opacidad y Transparencia" (2003) by Nicolau Rodrigues 
["This article talks about a very simple linguistic fact that tend to be undervalued: a language may show a meaning with a suffix or construction while in other language that meaning is understood by context. In this case, I regard plurality."]

"{Hol Sup 'oH tlhIngan Hol'e' - wa'maH Hut tlhIngan Hol po'wI' nughQeD} (Klingon as Linguistic Capital: A Sociologic Study of Nineteen Advanced Klingonists)" by Yens Wahlgren. Thesis (B.A.)--Lunds Universitet, 2004. 
  The Klingon language was created as a "verbal movie-prop" for Star Trek and was not supposed to be a language for human communication. But today thousands of persons have studied Klingon and 20-30 persons can be considered fluent in the language. A linguistic field of power, a linguistic market, has been formed. The purpose of this thesis is to research how the Klingon language speakers have experienced the development of the artificial language Klingon during its 20 years of existence. I will also examine the informants' opinion towards Star Trek fandom. The method used is qualitative; I have interviewed Dr Marc Okrand, creator of the Klingon language, and Dr Lawrence M. Schoen, founder of the Klingon Language Institute (KLI). I have also conducted an Internet interview with 17 advanced Klingonists. 
  As a theoretical framework I use Bourdieu's theory on symbolic capital, Berger's & Luckmann's discussion on secondary socialization and Ferguson categories of Language development. For Klingon the process of language development is a social process. It is an ongoing dialectic exchange between Marc Okrand and the Klingonists. The KLI acts as a socializing institution and plays an important role for the standardization of the language together with Klingonists with high linguistic capital. Star Trek is becoming less important for the development of Klingon as only a minority of the Klingonists consider themselves as trekkers and by the modernization of Klingon that gives the language more vocabulary not related to Star Trek concepts.

"German radio starts Klingon service" (September 2004 BBC article on Deutsche Welle's Klingon language service): 

"Klingon caribeño, ¿Quién dijo que la filología no puede ser divertida?" (2005) by Nicolau Rodrigues 
["Trying to show that Klingon language may be funny too, here I talk about etymology, word plays, and a Caribbean tale (from an OVS language) whose characters use the verb paw'.]

>Also of interest is Arika's upcoming book on constructed languages:

More information:

"In the land of invented languages: Esperanto rock stars, Klingon poets, Loglan lovers, and the mad dreamers who tried to build a perfect language" by Arika Okrent. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2009. (ISBN 0385527888). 
Publisher's description:
  Just about everyone has heard of Esperanto, which was nothing less than one man's attempt to bring about world peace by means of linguistic solidarity. And every "Star Trek" fan knows about Klingon, which was nothing more than a television show's attempt to create a tough-sounding language befitting a warrior race with ridged foreheads. But few people have heard of Babm, Blissymbolics, and the nearly nine hundred other invented languages that represent the hard work, high hopes, and full-blown delusions of so many misguided souls over the centuries. 
  In "In The Land of Invented Languages", author Arika Okrent tells the fascinating and highly entertaining history of man's enduring quest to build a better language. Peopled with charming eccentrics and exasperating megalomaniacs, the land of invented languages is a place where you can recite the Lord's Prayer in John Wilkins's Philosophical Language, say your wedding vows in Loglan, and read "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" in Lojban.


Tim Conley and Stephen Cain discuss "Klingonese" and the other languages of Star Trek in their "Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages" (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006; pp. 169-173). There's a fairly complete bibliography included.

"Esperanto, Elvish, and beyond: the world of constructed languages" [including Klingon] - an exhibit by Donald Boozer at the Cleveland Public Library (May-August 2008): 
See also SETI's "Are we alone?" interview with Don, which includes mentions and samples of Dritok, Esperanto, Klingon, Quenya, LCC2, ZBB and Don's Cleveland Library exhibit: - Show 8/7/07, "Speaking Klingon" 
Produced by SETI Institute, broadcast on PRX including BBC Radio 4, NPR, etc.: 

Canon Master of the Klingons

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