[tlhIngan Hol] The pronunciation of {Q}

kechpaja kechpaja at comcast.net
Tue Jul 11 11:54:06 PDT 2017

On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 10:40:53AM +0300, mayqel qunenoS wrote:
> In the tkd it says:
>  "{Q} This is like nothing particularly noteworthy in English. It is
> an overdone Klingon {q}. It is identical to {q} except that it is very
> guttural and raspy and strongly articulated, somewhat like a blend of
> Klingon {q} and {H}".
> On the other hand, it is my impression that whenever I hear the word
> {Qo'noS} I actually hear "Kronos"; my problem being that I hear an "r"
> being spoken, which according the tkd shouldn't be there.
> Is there something here I am missing ?

The Klingon {Q} is a uvular affricate, represented in the International
Phonetic Alphabet as [qχ] (there's usually a tie bar on top as well, but
I'm not sure how to type that at the moment). 

What's likely going on is this: if I remember correctly, your native
language is Greek (correct me if I'm wrong on that?), which has a sound
similar to [χ] ([x], which confusingly is written as <χ> in the Greek
alphabet) and a sound similar to [q] ([k]), but usually doesn't put
those two sounds together at the beginning or end of a word the way
Klingon does. On the other hand, both in Greek and in English, the
cluster /kr/ is very common at the beginning of a word, leading a native
speaker of either language to more naturally assume that that's what
they are hearing, rather than [qχ]. Add to that the fact that in
languages like German (and in the speech of many Germans speaking other
languages) the sound written as and etymologically related to /r/ is
pronounced as [ʁ], which is the voiced equivalent to [χ] and easy to
confuse with it after a voiceless consonant like [q], and it becomes
clear why Klingon {Q} sounds a lot like /kr/ to many of our ears. 

For what it's worth, Swiss German also has the sound represented by {Q},
and I distinctly remember my mother (and myself as well) interpreting it
as /kr/ when we first heard it in Swiss place names such as "Wipkingen". 

 - SapIr

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