[tlhIngan Hol] one of the earliest sentences translated into Klingon

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Fri Nov 26 05:27:33 PST 2021

I was chatting with Lieven and it came up that I'm apparently in possession
of a piece of Klingon language folklore which hasn't been documented
anywhere that I could find. So I'm going to post it here for posterity.

Years ago, Marc Okrand told me that when he was working on Star Trek III,
before he got the final script with the lines he was supposed to translate
into Klingon, he picked a number of lines from TOS episodes mostly
involving Klingons, to have examples of the sorts of things he might be
expected to translate. While working on developing the language, he
translated these lines into Klingon to test out his ideas. (Since he likes
to tell the same stories over and over again, maybe there's a recording of
him telling this story.)

He didn't explicitly say which lines, but he provided enough information
for me to work out one of them, namely the following line from "Friday's
Child": "The rare mineral topaline, vital to the life-support system of
planetoid colonies, has been discovered in abundance here." You'll notice
that every single word needed to translate this sentence is in TKD ("no
bloody A..."), and in particular, the word {toplIn} appears in no other TOS
episode. Furthermore, the word {mIDmey} survived the process of writing TKD
to become the example for the plural suffix {-mey}. The word {yuQHom} also
shows that {-Hom} already existed as a suffix, and although {rojHom}
replaced it as the example in the body of TKD, it is found in the word
lists in the back.

(Since we know that {-pu'} was invented to retrofit the line {qama'pu'
jonta' neH}, {-mey} was the only plural suffix at this point in Klingon's
development. I also think it's fairly likely that once he was forced to
make a plural suffix for beings, he decided to add one for body parts as a
joke, as there was no reason for him to do so, unlike with beings.)

Does anyone want to take a shot at reconstructing the Klingon version of
this line, using words only found in TKD 1st edition (i.e., no Addendum)?
(Since Klingon grammar and vocabulary was changed by the filming of Star
Trek III, it's possible that the reconstruction won't be the same as the
proto-Klingon version Okrand would've written, but I think the changes to
Klingon don't affect the translation of this sentence and we can actually
reconstruct the original, or something very close to it.)

Once again:
"The rare mineral topaline, vital to the life-support system of planetoid
colonies, has been discovered in abundance here."

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.kli.org/pipermail/tlhingan-hol-kli.org/attachments/20211126/043a4f1f/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list