Klingon is the language spoken by Klingons, alien characters in the Star Trek films and TV series. In the 1984 film, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the director, Leonard Nimoy, and the writer-producer, Harve Bennett, wanted the Klingons to speak a real-sounding language rather than gibberish, so they commissioned the linguist Marc Okrand to create Klingon.
Okrand based the language partly on Klingon phrases made up by James Doohan (Scotty) for the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and developed a grammar and more extensive vocabulary. Aspects of Klingon language and culture were further developed for the 1987 series, Star Trek: The Next Generation and later series.
To make Klingon sound alien consonants and combinations of consonants, particularly retroflex, velar and uvular ones, uncommon in natural languages are used, such as /q͡χ/.
There is a Klingon dictionary and a number of Klingon courses, and Klingon versions of two Shakespeare plays: Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing (paghmo' tIn mIS), and also of Gilgamesh (ghIlghameS) and the Tao Te Ching (pIn'a' qan paQDI'norgh). A journal entitled HolQeD (Klingon for linguistics), which conains articles on Klingon linguistics, language and culture, is published by the Klingon Language Institute (KLI). The KLI also publishes jatmey ("scattered tongues"), a magazine featuring poetry and fiction in and about Klingon, as well as running an annual conference or qep'a ("great meeting").
There are a small number of people able to converse in Klingon, and maybe several hundred others who have some knowledge of the language.
The Astra Image Corporation designed letters to represent Klingon writing for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and based them on symbols created by Matt Jefferies which appear on the Klingon battlecruiser in the film, and also on the Tibetan script. Random Klingon letters are used in the Star Trek films and TV series for effect, and Klingon enthusiasts have devised a way of writing Klingon with them, though Klingon is generally written with the Latin alphabet.
Hear the sounds of Klingon
A recording of the Klingon numbers by Jan Jurčík
tlhIngan Hol yejHaD jInmol chu' 'oH Qo'noS QonoS'e'. tlhIngan Hol jatlhwI'pu'vaD wIcherpu'. naDev vuDmey Daj lutmey Sagh je DalaDlaH, 'ach tlhIngan Hol DayajnIS. Hoch jar chovnatlh chu' wImuch. yIlaD. yIqeq. tugh bIpo'choH.
The Kronos Chronicle is a new project of the Klingon Language Institute, intended for Klingon speakers. Here you can read interesting opinons and articles, but only if you can understand Klingon. Each month we will have a new issue for you to read and practice your skill.
noH QapmeH wo' Qaw'lu'chugh yay chavbe'lu', 'ej wo' choqmeH may' DoHlu'chugh lujbe'lu'
Destroying an empire to win a war is no victory, and ending a battle to save an empire is no defeat.
Information about Klingon
Daily Klingon podcast (DaHjaj Hol)
Klingon dictionary for the iPhone
Klingon Language Institute
HolQeD: The Journal of the KLI
jatmey - The Literary Supplement of the KLI
Klingonska Akademien (in Swedish and English)
Klingon Imperial Diplomatic Corps
Deutsch Welle Klingon language pages (in Klingon, German and English)
Videos of Marc Okrand explaining how he invented Klingon
If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.
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