Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thing 135 Speak Klingon

Despite the fact that Worf is in the picture up there - this is not a good Thing. In a Project which is characterised by a list which contains many, many stupid random tasks, it's really saying something to be able to put my finger precisely on the most stupid one I've done so far. And this is it.

I'm a Trekkie (for anyone who has a life, and doesn't know what this means, it's a Star Trek fan, except kind of intense). I've been one since I was small and wee. The Next Generation got me hooked, but I'd happily watch the originals (William Shatner is hilarious, even when he's not playing a fat racist lawyer), Voyager and even Deep Space Nine. If you're not aware (and I'll be judging you a little if you're not), Klingons are an important part of the Star Trek universe. A violent alien race who were the bad guys in the original series, but good guys when the new series came out. Mr Worf up there is Klingon. And also awesome.

Now, as I said, Trekkies are a rather intense bunch. And a little obsessive. So obsessive in fact, that they took the smattering of "Klingon language" that turns up in the show, and gave it grammar, syntax, oral history, a lexicon of verbs, nouns, pronouns and definite articles. They assigned tenses, conditional tenses and just about everything you need to have a fully functioning language. A fully functioning language for an alien race that doesn't exist, and was invented for television... and I give out about reality TV eh?

In a way it's a serious testament to how far some people go for their love of a show or brand. And I kind of respect it, probably just because I'm a Trekkie too. I do however acknowledge that it's massively stupid.

I had it in my head that when I sat down to do this, I'd impress the hell out of some of the nerds that I call friends with my Klingon, but I forgot that none of them are that nerdy. So when I told Spoon in Klingon that his mother has a smooth forehead (a massive insult in Klingon), he kind of nodded at me with a look that suggested that I should probably lie down for a while.

You see I'd dived into the interweb and found a dictionary, and a little sound recorded translator and I was all set to give a running commentary on the Simpson's episode in Klingon, except, well, that would be lame. Very lame.

So I decided to try it out on the pizza delivery man. Except I couldn't find a word for "thanks" so I just told him "happy birthday" in Klingon. Phonetically it looks like this: gosliv dativjav. Our pizza man had a Poland football jersey on, so I'm guessing he's Polish. I'm also guessing that he thought I was trying to speak Polish. Nope. I was wishing him a happy birthday in Klingon. Extra big tip for him, otherwise he won't come back to the house with the weirdo.

And there's the other problem. There's no way anyone else would ever know if I was speaking it or not. I could have walked around muttering random syllables at whoever was walking past me, and telling them that I just cursed their sock odour in Klingon, and who'd dispute me?

So to recap: Stupidest Thing on the Project so far.

By the way, if you're interested, have a gander at the Klingon English Dictionary.

I really need to try to be less of a giant nerd...


  1. Today is a good day to die of embarassment.

  2. I love this. SO glad I welched on you!

  3. Also, I have a book on invented languages that I will lend you. It has a big section on Klingon. You giant nerd :)

  4. It was worth it all for the stuffed crust alone.

  5. What! only the klingon, what about vulcan?