tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Oct 17 09:50:25 2013

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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Na'vi' piece

Steven Boozer (

>> I find it interesting that Na'vi' enthusiasts were at first working
>> only from the subtitles with no grammar to guide them.
>> That's another layer we Klingonists don't have.
> That's how I started with Klingon: I transcribed the Klingon dialog in
> Star Trek III and compared it with the subtitles. I went back and listened
> to the words in the first Star Trek movie, too. I managed to work out a
> few bits of the language from that.
> I was amazed when I later found out there was a dictionary that made all
> my work superfluous.

That's almost the way I started.  I first stumbled across Mindscape's "STAR TREK V: The Final Frontier" 1989 computer game and its "Official Klingon Phrase Book" (full of typos and what I later discovered were grammatical errors).  I tried working out the grammar for myself, then discovered the "Conversational Klingon" audiotape which I immediately ordered.  I nearly wore out the tape transcribing it, but I was able to work out a bit more of the grammar.  Only later did I discover TKD.

This probably explains why I'm not obsessed with grammatical "rules", preferring to take a descriptive and contextual approach to the language based on canon.  Another reason is that as a graduate student I worked for a year with Dennis Pardee (at the Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago) and Pierre Bordrueil (by email in Paris) on their "A Manual of Ugaritic", compiling and comparing the extant texts of this North-West Semitic language spoken on the Mediterranean coast of Syria in the Late Bronze Age in order to work out its vocabulary and grammar.  Pretty much the same game "Federation linguist" Marc Okrand plays... except that we didn't have a captive native informant to interrogate!

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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