Duolingo’s Klingon Course is now available!
Klingon has arrived!
Start learning Klingon on web!
We’d like to thank the amazing team of contributors who made this course possible:
Klingon is a notoriously terse “conlang” - created for Star Trek. For example, the literal translation of “hello” in Klingon (“nuqneh?”) is “What do you want?” The nature of the language posed unique challenges during development, like how do you teach formal greetings in a language that has no use for them? Klingon also has case sensitivity which means that a word can take on different meanings if it’s capitalized or lowercase.
Whether you’re a veteran Klingon fan or a Star Trek newbie, we wish you Qapla' (success) in your language learning journey and can’t wait to hear what you think!
For those of you in the Chicago area - we’re hosting our first Klingon event on March 22nd. RSVP and details here.
The Duolingo Team
EDIT: This post initially stated that Klingon is the only language that places apostrophes in the middle of words, which is incorrect. Klingon is one of the few languages with apostrophes in the middle of words.
I quite deliberately confined my original statement to apostrophes only representing glottal stops to avoid exactly the various (and in my view, valid) arguments you are making. Ukrainian is a valid example of a language with mid-word apostrophe use not representing glottal stops, however.
Contractions are technically two words by definition.
Nonsense. Contractions are shortened forms of words, particularly those in which elided letters have been replaced with an apostrophe. For example "e'er" for "ever".
In any case, even if you want to analyse "couldn't" as two words (which it is etymologically and perhaps syntactically, but not orthographically or phonologically), the words would be "could" and "n't". The second "word" still has an apostrophe within it.
Whoa, hey, Talossan sticks apostrophes in words, too! Words like s'chis (skis), and inac'hosa (anything)... They're used to either create contractions (not like the two examples) or alter the sound of pre-existing letters.
Actually, c'h is an archaic lenition of c that got orthographically preserved.
c'h is an archaic lenition of c that got orthographically preserved.
Did it really? 'C' was lenited back in the primordial mists of 1980, when he made the language up, and subsequently preserved through literally thousands of days of language evolution? I am amazed we can even know such archaic details from a primitive people who had not even invented firefox.
Actors often don't tend to put much effort into pronunciation when it comes to fictional languages assuming that no native speakers will notice anyway. For now I would suggest this guy https://www.youtube.com/user/StarTrekIS/videos
I think he has a much better knowledge of the language and how it should be used.
I have only ever heard of one native speaker of Klingon on Earth, and as far as I know, he stopped speaking Klingon when he was five.
In the real world, there are no native speakers of Klingon, only second-language learners.
Only in the fictional universe which many Klingon speakers pretend to be in are there native Klingon speakers (who occasionally supply us with insight into new vocabulary, for example).
Even if I will probably not be able to try the course in a long while, since I have got a whole lot of other languages to take care of first (And this time I shall be following my plan through and through), I'm beyond ecstatic that Klingon is finally here.
My dad was an absolute Trekkie (The last movie we watched in cinemas together was Star Trek: Into the Darkness), and in a certain way, learning (or at least trying to learn) Klingon would be my way of continuing his legacy of love for the series.
So a big thanks to the team behind the course!
Dutch is the closest to English but has a lot of weird grammar, Scandinavian languages EXCEPT Finnish seem very benign, German's okay (seems like you have no problem with that at level 24 though lol), Italian and Spanish - idk about Catalan - are the easiest in the Romance family IMO, then French, then Portuguese, then Romanian.
After that you're onto Slavic languages and more obscure families...I heard Bulgarian/Macedonian (almost the same) has the oldest and thus simplest grammar among all the Slavic ones.
Welsh, Irish and Hungarian all really interesting but pronunciation and grammar are very tough for beginners I think. Finnish + most of the Slavic grammars sound painfully hard.
Latvian and Lithuanian are the closest you can get to the Proto-Indo-European language we all spoke thousands of years back, that's all I know of them. Estonian is close to Finnish...Maltese is a crazy mix of Arabic and Sicilian...Albanian I have absolutely no idea...Basque is impossible
finally, and thank you, everyone who has contributed to this coarse and even those who have been helpful in voting for it.
Thanks to the Duolingo team for adding Klingon; based on the other comments, it seems like it's not everyone's favorite, but I've personally been waiting for (if I can remember correctly) almost two years. I'm looking forward to learning such a well-known conlang, and I wish everyone luck! (And to think that I once thought Welsh and Polish were the hardest to pronounce!)
I love Conlangs. Especially conlangs that are part of fandoms (fan communities) like Klingon. Fandoms can be powerfully transformative for our world.
Things like fanfiction, fanvids, fan art, and fan communities give people an amazing space to envision a world different from our current one. There they can test out theories about alternative ways to structure society and economics and members of minority communities are often able to carve out universes that better reflect their inclusion.
Avid consumers of fan works and fan spaces can consume copious different theories and experience in theoretical space how they might compare and the various ways they might play out. And the effects of this fan-space world building doesn't tend to stay strictly in fan-space, these fans are also part of real space and take momentum into the policies they write and advocate for.
So, a very big THANK YOU! to Team Klingon for weathering the storms and making this language more accessible. :)
There is a verb tlho' which means to thank, so qatlho' would be "I thank you" to one person and Satlho' "I think you" to multiple people.
But Klingons themselves tend not to use "thank you" as often as English speakers do, so (over)using the verb tlho' may well mark you as an outsider.
It's fine to thank someone for saving your life, but if you ask someone to bring you a glass of water and they do so, that's not worthy of further comment.
Similarly, there's no word for "please" -- "Could you give me some water, please?" is bIQ HInob! "Give me water!". In Klingon, that's not rude -- just direct and to the point.
Call me weird, but although I've owned more than one Star Trek shirt, and even been to (more than one!) convention, here on Duolingo I study languages that aren't fictional. As I do, daily I continue to experience the same two bugs that I have seen for as long as I can remember noticing. Recently I got the hankerin' for some more Immersion, which is when I found it's been taken out. I read up on that decision, and discovered that because only half a percent of users used it, you cut that feature. I had actually been under the impression that community translation was Duolingo's underlying reason for existing and all the gamified learning was supposed to result in people graduating to Immersion. Meanwhile, while it's obvious that there is demand for this language from a sci-fi franchise, what's not as clear to me is the actual real-life benefit (to anyone on Earth) of $atisfying this demand. Do you think Klingon learners will buy Plus?
Anyway, I guess my point is, your priorities are showing.
I expected that there may not be audio, remember that it is a constructed language with few fluent speakers so I think they can be forgiven for not having it right away. I think the plan was to add it originally hopefully that has not changed. If it does come, however, I am sure it will be before Swahili audio.
There is no lowercase d. The only letter that actually appears in both capital and lowercase is Q/q. You will also see H and h, but the h is never a letter on it's own, it only appears in multigraphs (ch, gh, tlh). There is a lesson explaining the pronunciations, but perhaps we held it until too late in the course. Thank you for your feedback.
There's also a helpful page here that gives the individual letters of the Klingon alphabet, the romanization, the IPA equivalents, and a description of how to pronounce each letter/phoneme for those not familiar with the IPA:
It's not in-house, no, but a lot of the languages taught on DL are best complemented by seeking out additional external resources.
Are you asking us to convince you that you should learn it? If you're not already inclined, then I'm fine with you deciding you don't need to study it and I don't feel like I need to convince you otherwise.
Or are you asking us to justify why we want to learn it? We don't have to justify anything. We want to learn it and that is enough, even if we can't explain it. Don't you have any hobbies?
Before asking the question I searched for some information about. A language is not just a list of words that makea a phrase, it is a brain product that is created by some mechanism and procedure in human brain. Some linguists as it is Chomsky developed the theory that all languages have the same, common structure as humans have a common part of brain that language is developed. So, that is the question: What new can Klingon give me, except for the pleasure of expressing my thoughts in a famous TV and movie language? For instance, High Valyrian is created by a well known linguist based on scientific principles. Esperanto had been created to be an easy to learn language, so as to become a lingua franca for all. What about Klingon?
Ok, I know that many are real fans, so these questions are meaningless to them. But I have this question and it's real to me.
Thanks for explaining that. The way you asked the question, it sounded like a challenge, rather than an inquiry. I still find that the reasons tend to be personal and different for everyone, so I din't know that I can give a good answer. But I can say something about High Valyrian. Klingon is also created by a talented linguist, though one who was not so famous when he started. Klingon is older than High Valyrian and has a larger community of speakers. I haven't studied High Valyrian, but I find that Klingon to be an interesting study in creating a language to look, sound, and feel like a natural language. I also found there are a lot of jokes in the language that make it a lot of fun.
Woohoo! My father thought that it was funny that Duolingo even made a Klingon course, but now he can see that they were serious!
I have always thought that it would be fun to learn Klingon, and where I live it is called the language of nerds.
What can I say? I am a nerd, and proud of it.
Very excited for this, I've been waiting for about two years for Klingon on Duolingo! Please please add audio, I just don't understand why that wasn't part of it, as it seems this language would be twice as difficult to learn without it. I'm having trouble already, but I'm just happy for what we have! Thank you to the volunteers!
Audio is definitely planned, but we wanted to get the course out first in a basic version to gauge popularity and success.
If it is successful enough to warrant the additional work of integrating audio, that may happen at a later point.
Please also be aware that there are some remaining known issues with capitalisation and apostrophes (e.g. hints for words that start with an apostrophe may be blank) -- this is not a completely finished course.
But despite being a bit "rough around the edges" (no audio, etc.), we hope that it will still be useful!
Audio will hopefully come later, but there is no specific ETA we can give yet.
There are still some remaining problems, not just with missing audio but also with capitalisation and hints for words starting with apostrophe, but we're releasing the course in beta version now anyway for people who would like to try to give it ago even in this less-than-finished state.
Just please be aware that this is not a completely polished course yet.
The TV shows prior to the current one, Discovery, all had terrible Klingon. The movies did pretty well because they hired Dr. Okrand to translate the lines and be on set to help the actors. The Motion Picture, The Search for Spock, The Final Frontier, and The Undiscovered Country all of good Klingon in them. The new Discovery has hired a couple of the top Klingon speakers to do their translations and hired dialect coaches to make sure it is pronounced correctly, so it's got very good Klingon, too.
The new Star Trek series, called Star Trek Discovery has Klingon lines and Klingon subtitles for at least one episode via Netflix. (Online, I've seen some people mention that it is only episode one, and others mention it is only episode 4. So, I don't know if by episode 1 people meant only 1 episode and that episode is 4, or, what.)
I don't know if the the entire episode offers subtitles or if only the parts in spoken Klingon have been captioned. I'm hoping that with the use of the word "subtitles", they are signaling that it's the entire episode.
I'm not sure if they've subtitled more since then. You have to go into the subtitles menu to access the Klingon subtitles. Also, I'm not sure if the Klingong subs available everywhere or not. In the beginning, people were saying they couldn't access the subtitles unless they were using Canada's Netflix.
The Klingon subtitles are only available on Netflix, which means they cannot be seen in the US or Canada (since the show is on other networks in those countries). Rumor is the Netflix Klingon subtitles will be available on the Blue Ray in all countries where it will be sold. Where the Klingon subtitles are available, they are available on all the episodes and all of the dialog, no matter the language, is subtitled in Klingon.
Hi jdmcowan, thank you for letting us know that the subtitles cover all episodes!
I was wondering what the hold up was with us not being able to see the Klingon subtitles in the US. I didn't realize they were also not available in Canada! I must have mis-remembered or it must have changed for Canada. I am sad that business competition has had a negative impact on language access like this. :(
No offense Duolingo, but Klingon is useless. Literally, I know I'm not supposed to whine about it but Finnish and Afrikaans could be way useful than a constructed language. Maybe even Hawaiian, Kichwa, and Bosnian, but Klingon? Really? I'm kind of disappointed, but what can I do?
The question is how many staff have how much time taken up by it, compared to a team of volunteers who only want to create a Klingon course. A lot of the workload seems to fall on the latter + it doesn't follow that those same people would otherwise be busy helping with another language course...Duolingo itself mostly seems to just provide quite a rigid template for them to create the course around, but on the other hand I think the team of people working for the app full-time is very small
You can ask for your money back. Oh, wait.... :)
There is no reason to bash something created by volunteers who worked hard on it. If there were similar volunteers for other languages, we'd have that as well. It is unfortunate, I would also like to see Finnish over Klingon, but... it's not DL's fault that there are more star trek fans enthusiastic enough to do this than there are Finnish speakers willing to put the time in, etc.
it's not DL's fault that there are more star trek fans enthusiastic enough to do this than there are Finnish speakers willing to put the time in, etc.
There's been over 75 willing and able contributors for Finnish. It's the most requested language on Duolingo. It doesn't have a foreign writing system (Latin script) and its grammar type has been taught previously (Hungarian).
The fact that Duolingo doesn't have Finnish but has Klingon is truly madness.
I'm sorry but this actually points more to the dedication and fanaticism (I mean that only in a positive sense) of those who worked to build the Klingon course, in comparison to the "over 75" contributors for Finnish.
If you think duolingo wouldn't put a Finnish course online, if they had people volunteer to put in the full amount of work to make it happen, then that's truly madness.
Please don't misunderstand me, I agree with the overall point re: Finnish being more useful than Klingon - I'm not debating that. My point is that these courses are built by volunteers, and any criticism of duolingo's "choice" of which course to release first has to be tempered with a realization that they aren't in full control of that; the volunteers are.
No one can contribute to Finnish or any other new language course until Duolingo creates an incubation phase for it. But they aren't doing so for many languages although potential contributors have come forth.
You can apply to contribute to languages here: http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply but Finnish isn't even on the drop-down menu list, although you can type it in anyway via "Enter Other".
For what it's worth, there is an option to apply as a contributor for languages not specifically listed in the drop-down list that you refer to. Once DL deems there is adequate support, then they launch the incubation process.
I'm not sure where @OmegaGmaster got the information from (the statement of "over 75" able and willing Finnish contributors, etc).
I'm pretty confident that if enough qualified people applied to help build the Finnish course, Duolingo would have started the development phase.
My only point in all of this is that I think people forget that these courses are built extensively on volunteer labor. It's not like we're all paying some big subscription fee and we can complain about how DL is spending the $$$ to develop new course content.
I'm very thankful for duolingo and for all the volunteers that make the courses possible. Even for a (sorry kingon-ophiles) relatively silly course in the "big picture" such as Klingon.
Great, now I'll have to watch my back at the next star trek convention I attend :)
"If you think duolingo wouldn't put a Finnish course online, if they had people volunteer to put in the full amount of work to make it happen"
It just isn't as simple as that. This has been discussed multiple times over the years and clearly having enough capable volunteers is not the only requirement for getting a course on Duolingo. Every language still requires resources from the Duolingo side and they just can't take all the languages that want in.
Even if Finnish would be very popular among language enthusiasts (due to its peculiarities), it's not really a language that would draw big masses and I feel that currently Duolingo is desperate to get more money/users in and targeting more casual learners to do that.
Languages like Klingon and High Valyrian have great marketing value. Also I believe that the people working on them have already been building previous Duolingo courses so they have connections inside (and maybe require resources less from Duolingo).
First of all, don't talk to me like that please, I never said something bad about Duolingo. I said it's unfair that Klingon is here but other useful languages THAT HAVE PEOPLE TRYING TO CONTRIBUTE IN THEM can't be here.
Second, I'm not bashing the volunteers of Klingon. Working as a contributor IS HARD so I know they did a hard work trying to make the Klingon course, I'm not stupid.
Third, like @OmegaGmaster said, they are more than 75 people that are able to help in the Finnish course. It's not my fault Duolingo only cares about the media talking about how Duolingo accepted a Klingon course.
Have a nice day amigo, bye!
No offense but football, sport fishing, train spotting are useless. What people like and enjoy is their own affair and what volunteers choose to put huge effort into creating so that those who DO appreciate their work can have fun is entirely thier own affair too. If you want particular stuff so bad then make it or find somone else willing to put in the thousands of hours it takes but don't be down on others who did show up and put in the effort in just because it doesn't please you.
Excuse me? Don't talk to me like that please. Should I repeat it? Oh, yes.
I'm not bashing the volunteers of Klingon. Working as a contributor IS HARD so I know they did a hard work trying to make the Klingon course, I'm not stupid.
Like @OmegaGmaster said, they are more than 75 people that are able to help in the Finnish course. It's not my fault Duolingo only cares about the media talking about how Duolingo accepted a Klingon course.
I'm glad to have Klingon on Duolingo, and I know a lot of other people are glad too. Other languages will be added in time. And the addition of one doesn't take away resources for others. It's not an "injustice" when the creators are working on something they know; how are they supposed to do an Afrikaans course if they don't speak Afrikaans? If you want Afrikaans, support people who are trying to make it happen.