[tlhIngan Hol] hard truths about the future

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Dec 21 08:34:48 PST 2021

On 12/21/2021 11:02 AM, Will Martin wrote:
> I respectfully disagree with both of you.
> I think that Tolkien and Okrand are simply two different geniuses who 
> deserve respect with none of us really having the authority to 
> disrespect one while deferring to the other. Neither Okrand nor 
> Tolkien would have had anyone interested in their languages if not for 
> the fictional worlds in which those languages were spoken. Tolkien 
> certainly went broader in terms of developing multiple languages for 
> multiple cultures in the same fictional universe, basing them on his 
> personal research into earlier languages in the British Isles, and in 
> creating that universe, but none of those languages have the useful 
> vocabulary of Klingon because Tolkien never dove that deeply into any 
> of the languages he created. He was too busy creating novels to create 
> robust, extensive dictionaries.

Too busy creating novels to create robust dictionaries. You haven't got 
the slightest idea what Tolkien was doing with his languages, do you?

Tolkien's purpose wasn't to create speakable languages, or to create 
languages in which he or anyone else could translate texts. He was 
creating languages as works of art. The aesthetics were entirely the 
point, not the ability to communicate in them. They were mostly used for 
naming things. He wasn't too busy writing novels to develop the 
languages; the novels were written /because/ of the languages. All of 
it, the stories, the languages, the scripts, it was all part of the same 
thing. His languages were continually changing and growing in detail for 
his entire adult life. Tolkien was a professor of English literature and 
language and a philologist. Philology is the study of the origin and 
change of language over time through literature, history, art, music, 
etc. It is hardly studied anymore, because it is /damn/ hard, and 
Tolkien used it as the basis for his /hobby./

No one is disrespecting anyone here. I simply said that Klingon is not a 
work of genius. It's good, but as constructed languages go, it's not 
/amazing./ Okrand is a linguist who happened to be in the right place at 
the right time to produce something influential, and I'm sure he would 
be the first to agree with that.

This isn't a popularity contest. I speak and write Klingon, not Sindarin 
or Quenya. I know a bit about the elvish languages, but not enough to 
write a single original sentence in any of them. I also like /Star Trek 
V,/ even though I know that it's inferior in many ways to most other 
Star Trek films. Embracing something is not the same as saying it's a 
work of genius.

> I dealt with one Tolkien language fan who boasted of how superior 
> Elvin was to Klingon by translating a sentence he gave me into Klingon 
> and then asking him to translate something into Elvin for me. His face 
> froze, and he backpedaled to say that he didn’t PERSONALLY know the 
> language well enough, but OTHERS certainly could… and so forth.

And I've been to science-fiction conventions, walked up to people 
pretending to be Klingons, and said, *tlhIngan Hol bojatlh'a'?* and 
they've looked at me like I was speaking an alien language, which I was, 
and which they didn't understand at all, no matter how many times they 
shouted /kuhplah!/ The quality of the fans is not related to the quality 
of the work.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.kli.org/pipermail/tlhingan-hol-kli.org/attachments/20211221/898542bd/attachment-0005.htm>

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list