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Alternate alphabet

A friend of mine pointed out (and made a handy chart, too) that Klingon has an easy transliteration into the Hebrew alphabet, and due to the nature of that alphabet, the sounds are far more intuitive than the mess of capitals and character-pairs that the English alphabet ends up with. The phonemes represented by the letters match up one-to-one!

I'm wondering if it might be possible to implement a version of Klingon that uses that alphabet, and if this place is not a good place to request this, where I should post this?

(I myself am not fluent in the least, I want to learn Klingon)

March 19, 2018



It might be, if someone wanted to do that, but I find it unlikely that it will happen. Klingon pIqaD is the perfect system to implement the sounds, but even it has had a hard time making traction over the last 30 years.

The nice thing about the current system is that it doesn't require English speakers (who were the target audience at the start) to learn a new writing system, and the "mess of capitals" can quickly indicate which sounds are "new" or "strange".

Since the vast majority of Klingon is written in the standard romanized system, it's best to learn that system first so you can communicate with others.


I don't disagree that it works better for an English speaker, but for someone who is sufficiently fluent in Hebrew (or Arabic, for that matter, that alphabet can be similarly easily adapted) it is much easier to associate the phonemes with characters that already have those sounds, precisely because those sounds are normal for those languages.

For that matter, was I not so young so as to not have have been involved in that, I would have advocated for using one of the Hebrew or Arabic alphabets in the first place, either in their entirety or merely taking their characters for the glottals and gutturals (although that could have created annoying issues with conflicts between RTL and LTR in character display).

Furthermore, as there is a bijection between pIqaD and a subset of the Hebrew character set (including the vowels), it is trivial to transliterate between them with a simple program.

Due to that, it would also be trivial to add a second Klingon version utilizing that character set - it would piggyback off of the pIqaD version, merely ctrl+f-ing character by character.


The downside of that is that most published works (including this course) are not in pIqaD, they used the romanized system. Someone who only learned Klingon using Arabic or Hebrew script would be unable to read the translations of Hamlet, Much Ado about Nothing, Gilgamesh, the Tao Te Ching, The Klingon Christmas Carol, or any of the other, nor would they be able to communicate in written form with other students.

I think your idea would be great for an individual student who is familiar with those languages and scripts and it trying to learn Klingon, but since the vast majority of Klingon communication is done via writing, I don't think the pros would outweigh the cons for the majority of students.


If we were going to go that route, we would probably implement the Klingon character set (called pIqaD). That is, in fact, something we hope to do at some point, but it isn't a priority and it'll have to wait a little longer.

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