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  5. Why Learn Klingon?


Why Learn Klingon?

What's the point?

November 19, 2018


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I laughed at the last one...

"...if they don't consider you a nerd already, they probably will when you start playing D&D games in Klingon."

That's pretty much my end-game right there. That and putting it in my CV.


Fun! Lots of people are fans of Star Trek, plus it's a language that's really different from most natural languages. Could also serve as a secret language between friends that has almost no chance of being understood if overheard.


Although I am a Trekkie, I never planned to get very far with the Klingon language: I thought I'd try it for a few weeks, learn a few sentences and sayings ... then I figured I'd quit. But several months later, I'm fully hooked! I have a B.A. (plus graduate work) in Linguistics, and have always been fascinated by languages, and Klingon is so very different from most other languages I've learned - which number several - and it's completely fascinating! It's not just a bunch of made-up words thrown together; a lot of work has been put into structuring this like a natural language, even if many facets of it may seem alien to us. It's built that way on purpose. I see bits and pieces of other languages and linguistc concepts and constructs I've learned elsewhere in it, and I can often recognize the bits that are 'intentionally alien' as well.

My hat's really off to Dr. Marc Okrand, the creator of Klingon; he could easily have just thrown a few pretend words together, and few people would have cared, as it was originally created for use in a movie and sporadic use in a handful of TV episodes. But he really put his heart and soul into creating something REAL and intellectual, that has rules that make sense, and is really interesting. And he continues to support it, to the delight of its many students. I think that's why it endures, and has so many devotees, despite having no actual native speakers.


And I’m impressed by how long you’ve stuck with the course and how far you’ve come, TARDISToni!

You provide useful and thoughtful comments and help others as well.

Keep it up!


qatlho', mizinamo! I know I've made some dumb errors, and asked more than my share of stupid questions. :-) But, I am still a linguist, and I've found a real gem of a language to study here. I'd be an idiot to quit now!


What's the point of most hobbies, really? Some people bowl - what's the point of that? Some people memorize sports statistics - what's the point of that? Some people race tiny little cars around tracks - what's the point of that? Use your imagination and I'll bet you can think of reasons someone might personally find benefit in learning Klingon. But mostly some people find it a fun way to kill some time or even relax.


Like a few other courses on DL, it would be a lot more enjoyable if there were audio. Can you tell us if there has been any progress on this front?


There has been a tiny bit of progress. We have been informed that the programmers are working on a system for the contributors to add their own audio to courses that lack it. But we have not been given a date for when that might be complete and I know they are also working on other things at the same time, so it might be a while yet before that is available for us to begin adding audio.


We have been informed that the programmers are working on a system for the contributors to add their own audio to courses that lack it.

That sounds like an excellent idea. I wonder whether the bits of Hawaiian audio we have might be the result of trialling this system, as they sound a bit ad-hoc.

Anyway, I do look forward to hearing Klingon audio at some point. DL really doesn't work well for me without audio, and this is compounded in the case of a language that was intentionally designed to be as unintuitive as possible in its phonemes.


Klingon is ahead of several languages and may soon even beat Esperanto in the list. I am glad that there may actually be audio one day as audioless courses are tough and off-putting.


Remember that for Esperanto, you should probably count Esperanto from English + from Spanish + from Portuguese together.


By "their own audio", do you mean actual recordings? Or will the TTS be used?


The information I have is incomplete and unofficial, but it seems like the contributors will be able to record their own voices.


Thanks for the info.


That's great! I know you lot have the motivation and the dedication to get it accomplished! I personally don't mind not having the audio, as I started out on Duolingo with Ukrainian, which at that point had little to no audio. So I was actually surprised to find it when I ventured into other languages. Still, I know I'm pronouncing Klingon words/phonemes wrong at least from time to time, and it would be nice to be able to be corrected in a timely manner. The fact that it will be actual speakers, and not TTS, is a bonus. :-)


I have tried the Hawaiian course to see how it works. The voice support is spotty -- there are a few words spoken only, but: they seem to use different voices and they seem to be from living humans, not synthesized.

They also seem to have worked around the qarghwI' problem by using a different character (maybe ) I don't know how difficult that would make things to handle though. The course is tiny compared to the Klingon one.


I am probably never gonna learn it. (Maybe just a tiny bit...out of a curiosity.) But I think most of all it's fun language. I was a fan of Star Trek when I was little and to be honest - I still am, not just that hardcore as I was back then. And there are still real hardcore fans out there. I understand them: Star Trek (although a fairytale sci-fi) is simply cool.

Live long and prosper!


You don't need to learn Klingon out of being a fan of Star Trek. Star Trek could disappear tomorrow and I would still enjoy speaking Klingon. It's fun in itself.


To talk to people in my local Comic/game shop.


I am learning Klingon because someone said it was too hard and I won't be able to. My advice is if you are swearing at the thing or if you feel like a failure, 1, you're taking it WAY too seriously and 2, you need to go lay on a floor and, 3 you need to find a laid-back guy with an Afro who will let you touch it.

Learn Klingon in just 5 minutes a day. For free.