Feeds

Speak geek: The world of made-up language

Pointy ears, bumpy foreheads and obscure tongues

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Fantasy Islands

Languages created nowadays are typically made for occasional use in a Film, TV series or book collection. Practicality is often ignored. Created to fit the fantasy in mind and not potential linguists, the languages can be deliberately difficult, with awkward pronunciation and limited vocabulary.

The latest communication fad among movie fans is Na’vi - the language spoken in James Cameron’s Avatar. This shows conlanging is on the rise again and with the support of modern tech, it now has a platform to survive.

Klingon also fits this bill: this conlang has seen considerable success and was even used recently in Australian cave tours as well as a full-blown Klingon opera.

Klingon Opera

Klingon Opera
Photo by Guus Rijven

Linguist Dr Marc Okrand was commissioned by the Star Trek writers to take a handful of phrases coined by James Doohan (Scotty in the original series) and turn them into a fully-fledged language for Klingon use in future Trek films and episodes. Although purpose of creation is thus clear, reasons for attempting to learn the language are not. Aren’t subtitles enough?

Perhaps there’s a possible element of superiority involved - to express complete devotion for a work of fiction, one has to push the boat out further than the rest. To follow suit becomes a must for serious fans who otherwise risk appearing less enthusiastic than others. With so much time already invested, there’s too much pride at stake to appear second best.

Klingon Alphabet

The Klingon Alphabet

I struggled to find a Klingon speaker who was prepared to talk to me, so perhaps that pride has its confine. Okrent writes how Klingons can be reserved - a result of the mockery they have to deal with on a regular basis. It appears that imitating an alien race known for its brash demeanour opens the doors for humans to act undignified in return - who'd have thought? Ms. Okrent provides the perfect example of this when checking into a hotel alongside a fully equipped Klingon:

They looked at us, immediately noticing, of course, a costumed member of our group. One of these so-called normal people walked right up to him and, without asking for permission, took out his cell phone to take a picture, saying to no one in particular, and certainly not to the Klingon in question, ‘If I don’t get a picture of this, no one will believe me.’ The Klingon stood tall and posed like a true warrior. At that moment, I knew whose side I was on. The world of Klingon may be based on fiction, but living in it takes real guts.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.