Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Klingon as Reviewed by the Fans

Klingon as Reviewed by the Fans

Eric Boulis

Klingon is arguably one of the most recognized and successful constructed languages developed for a fictional universe. Originally an audio prop for the Star Trek movies, it was developed by Marc Okrand into a full language. Separating the Star Trek universe into three distinct phases and examining materials from each of these three phases, the fans’ reactions and reviews of the varying materials are studied and discussed to create an image of how the language is viewed by the fans. Mining the reviews section of for several books dealing with either the Klingon language or the culture, as well as the comments section for several YouTube videos dealing with the Klingons, a cross section is analyzed of how the language is viewed by fans of Star Trek and also people who either do not like or are unfamiliar with the program. Deeper than just being about the Klingon language, this paper is also about constructed languages as a whole, what it takes to be considered a language by the public at large, and what directions constructed languages can possibly take in the future. Drawing on the works of several linguists in the field of constructed languages (Okrand, Okrent),the basics of the Klingon language and what signifies this language as constructed are discussed. The background of the creator of the language and its largest teaching center help the reader to understand what kind of thought went into creating the language and what is being done to keep it moving forward. Discussion and evidence provide the value of constructed languages as mental exercises that places them in the same category as natural languages for that purpose.

April 9, 2014 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. Very interesting. I wonder how similar or different it is to the construction of Tolkein’s languages and reactions by fans since he created the universe and the language, and Klingon was created by an outsider. (Also, I bet this was a good excuse to watch a lot of Trek!)

    Comment by Katie Korth | April 9, 2014 | Reply

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