[tlhIngan Hol] learning time

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 09:42:47 PST 2018

On Fri, 7 Dec 2018 at 08:56, Lieven L. Litaer <levinius at gmx.de> wrote:

> Hi there,
> I'm writing an article about the frequent question "How long does it
> take to learn Klingon?".
> I know that many of us had a non-defined beginning or end of learning,
> but some really started at one day and ended up quite fluently a short
> time later. I know of our greek friend (who changes his signature name
> constantly) and DeSDu', who both got quite fluent in about one year,
> proving what I'm saying all along.
> So - who is here among you or can tell about former Klingonists who may
> confirm they learned the language in a similarly short period of time?
> By the way, I'm not talking about fluent speakers of which there are
> only five in the world. It's more about those who can do a basic
> conversation, but still without any dictionary help.

This probably isn't what you're looking for, and depends heavily on what
you mean by a "basic conversation".

When I started learning Klingon, I didn't do so by myself. I started with a
small group of friends, so we could use it as a code. I'm the only one who
went to the effort of actually learning the entire language in the end.
However, one of my friends learned enough from the lines in TKD and the two
cassettes (Conversation Klingon and Power Klingon) that she could
"converse" with me by mixing-and-matching sentence fragments from those
sources. That's right: she spoke Klingon purely as remixes of existing
canon sentences, like a Wreck-Gar who listened only to Klingon-language
tapes. The process took only a couple of months (basically one school term).

Granted, she couldn't compose entirely original sentences, and a fluent
Klingon speaker listening in on our "conversations" would understand all
the words, but not the substance, because we had our own invented slang and
inside jokes that only we understood. (We had given aliases to places and
people we knew after places and characters in Star Trek, of course.)
However, the fact that this is possible makes me believe that one could get
up to a "tourist" level of Klingon (e.g., "where is the [landmark]?", "how
much?", "when?", "how do I [perform a task]?") in a matter of months, if
not weeks, just by repeatedly listening to the tapes. ("Where is the
bathroom?" is, of course, one of the sentences in TKD that she could remix,
and counting and time are also covered in the cassettes.)

I asked her years later how much she remembered, and she blurted out a
fairly complex sentence which I'm not going to say because it's an inside
joke, but it had the structure "noun-possessive-locative prefix-verb".

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