Category Archives: Film and Television

The Klingon Language

The Klingon are a fictional extraterrestrial race from the American TV Franchise Star Trek, and have been given their own formal language (rather than speaking nonsense on screen) by linguist Marc Okrand. Although the Klingon language has its own writing system, words are commonly written in the Latin alphabet (which is used extensively by most Germanic and Romance languages including English and French). In Latin script different sounds are represented by varying capitalization (q has a different pronunciation from Q), so beginnings of sentences are, unlike English, not capitalized. A 2010 book by Arika Okrent suggests that there are about 20-30 fluent Klingon speakers, possibly since most of its known, or rather, invented, vocabulary refers to objects common in the Star Trek universe. There have been various works that have been translated into Klingon, including Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Epic of Gilgamesh, a version of A Christmas Carol and the Tao Te Ching. Finally there’s ‘u’, an opera performed in the “Klingon style”, first performed in September of 2010 in the Hague.

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