[tlhIngan Hol] Sound of o

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Sat Jun 27 07:48:17 PDT 2020

Just to be clear, I never had a personal conversation with Okrand about the sound of {o}. I had one private interview with him many years ago, transcribed and published in {HolQeD}, and otherwise had the same access to him at qep’a’mey over its first ten years as everybody else.

Okrand and I also exchanged Email once in order to communicate between him and someone who made a meqleH and wanted to know how to spell it. He had a recording of Okrand pronouncing it at the public event where they had met, and I confirmed with Okrand via Email about the spelling before responding.

But we never discussed {o} and my probably exaggerated respect for his privacy prevented me from ever contacting him for any other purpose over the years. It occurs to me that I might have his Email address packed away somewhere if it hasn’t changed, but I still have no interest in using it because he has given me so much with this language, he owes me nothing. I have no interest in annoying him.

I’m just talking about the recordings of Okrand pronouncing {o}. In the recordings, I don’t hear *{ow}.

It’s odd that he would give a description in TKD that would accurately apply to syllables ending with {o} and not to the far more common case of {o} between two consonants. Since {‘} is a consonant, {Qo’noS} is a bad example. That pretty much leaves the prefix {gho-} as the only example I can think of in the entire vocabulary.

Did he really give us that description ONLY for the syllable {gho-} and not give us a description for every other use in the language? REALLY?

Do we have a recording of him pronouncing the syllable {gho-}?

I can maintain my respect for the decades of dedication you have applied toward making yourself one of the world’s best experts in the language while suspecting that this idea that the TKD description of the {o} sound applies only to the syllable {gho-} as far fetched.

It seems more logical that his description in TKD is not perfectly accurate, but good enough as an introduction to stop people from making the mistake of pronouncing it with a “short o” sound, and that the recordings of Okrand pronouncing {o} should give us a more detailed example of how to pronounce it.

Even if he explicitly wrote somewhere that you never see an {o} followed by a {w} because the first implies the other, that simply isn’t the way he pronounces it.

Unless there are examples I either haven’t heard, or don’t remember.

Without such examples, I’m tempted to think the description given that started this thread is at least as accurate as the cited example in TKD, and would lead to more people pronouncing Klingon better.

Sent from my iPad

> On Jun 27, 2020, at 9:45 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 6/27/2020 2:44 AM, Lieven L. Litaer wrote:
>> (All of this is very hard to describe using written words only, and many 
>> people even speak differently depending on their dialect.) 
>> Listen to the sounds on the Klingon CD. When Okrand speaks a syllable 
>> like {bom} it rhymes more "bomb" than it does with "bo-u-m"
> As an example of dialectical differences, no American English accent rhymes bomb with Klingon bom. Bomb has the same vowel as father.
> I think the solution here may be that it's not that every Klingon o is a diphthong, just the syllable-final ones. The vowel in gho is a diphthong, identical to ghow; but the vowel in ghop is not a diphthong, and it doesn't sound like ghowp. Likewise with u: ghu sounds like ghuw; ghup does not sound like ghuwp.
> This would allow what Okrand told you to be correct, with the exception of the syllable-final vowels described in the dictionary, an exception he wasn't addressing with you.
> -- 
> SuStel
> http://trimboli.name
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