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Shawn "Speedy" Lopes

Monday, April 12, 2004


Speak Klingon with ease
by using Web


'Hab SoSlI Quch!" Or, in plain English, "Your mother has a smooth forehead!" An odd expression for most, but an insult of the highest order to a Klingon.

Ah, the Klingon -- that crass, contentious lot from the Beta Quadrant of the Milky Way galaxy. Who would have thought their influence would be felt on Earth centuries before their first encounter with humans?

These days, hundreds if not thousands of hard-core "Star Trek" enthusiasts are simply not satisfied with committing every detail of the Gene Roddenberry-imagined science fiction universe to memory. They've actually immersed themselves in a fictional language devised by linguistics expert Marc Okrand who, in 1984, was entrusted with the weighty task of creating realistic Klingon dialogue for the "Star Trek" movie and television series.

Trekkies, those infamously indulgent devotees known for dressing up as their favorite "Star Trek" characters at sci-fi conventions, are an unusual group to be sure, but Klingon speakers are another breed altogether. The most ardent of them, it seems, belong to the Klingon Language Institute at kli.org, where you'll find a variety of resources on the Klingon language -- the "warriors' tongue," if you like.

Because its vocabulary is constantly expanding, you'll find up-to-the-minute additions to Klingon-speak here as well as tips on writing Klingon and even a few helpful phrases. There are links to Klingon-related merchandise, including Klingon interpretations of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and "Much Ado About Nothing" in paperback, and a Klingon version of the epic "Gilgamesh." Five bucks will get you a copy of KLI's annual literary magazine, while computer discs containing Klingon fonts will set you back $13.

For those interested in more than a cursory introduction to the language, kli.org will point you to Okrand's "The Klingon Dictionary" and "Klingon for the Galactic Traveler," and the audiocassettes "Conversational Klingon" and "Power Klingon," narrated by Michael Dorn, who played Lieutenant Worf in "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Well done, really. Or as they say in Klingon, "majQa!"


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Note: Web sites mentioned in this column were active at time of publication. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin neither endorses nor is responsible for their contents.




See the Columnists section for some past articles.

’Net Junkie drops every Monday.
Contact Shawn "Speedy" Lopes at slopes@starbulletin.com.

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