Friday, May 29, 2009

Klingon - the language of Linguists!

Well OK, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but it's quite interesting.

I thought that for the last post of May it would make sense to close the month with something linguistics related given that this semester was all linguistics all the time :-) I was reading this article on Slate called There's No Klingon Word for Hello. I honestly didn't expect it to be so interesting! For instance I did not know that Klingon was a completely developed language, grammar an all!

The following really surpised me:

But Klingon uses prefixes rather than suffixes, and instead of having six or seven of them, like most romance languages, it has 29. There are so many because they indicate not only the person and number of the subject (who is doing) but also of the object (whom it is being done to).


Klingon has 36 verb suffixes and 26 noun suffixes that express everything from negation to causality to possession to how willing a speaker is to vouch for the accuracy of what he says. By piling on these suffixes, one after the other, you can pack a lot of meaning on to a single word in Klingon—words like nuHegh'eghrupqa'moHlaHbe'law'lI'neS, which translates roughly to: They are apparently unable to cause us to prepare to resume honorable suicide (in progress)


The article is worth a read. It was interesting that people are just going to the dictionary section of the Klingon dictionary and completely skip the grammar section - this kinda sounds like every other language I have ever encountered. People string together words without caring about declensions and tenses and so on :-)

My interest is peaked, I want to learn Klingon!


blog comments powered by Disqus