Anecdotes about Klingon

I met my wife.jpg
common image with the text
There are several strange and incredible stories about Klingon around on the web.

I met my wife at a Star Trek convention...

Not a true story • 2012. This is a story quoted lots of times, first written in 2012 by a person named "Max" on Dorkly.com (1) The text was published as an image in 2014 and went viral after that.

I met my wife at a Star Trek convention. She was study abroad from France and spoke little English, and I didn't know a lick of French. So, for the first few months of our relationship, we communicated by speaking Klingon. -Max

The story is most likely absolute nonsense:
  • There are very few people in the world who really speak Klingon in a useful, fluent manner (see fluent speakers).
  • There is no way a native French speaker could be more fluent in Klingon than in English, since none of the material for learning Klingon is available in French.
  • The Star Trek fandom is very small in France, so it is really unlikely that a French person is so enthousiastic that they would learn Klingon as much that they would speak it better than English.
  • In addition to the previous point, a person who decides to "study abroad", would probably at least speak a little bit of English, probably more.
  • Regarding the possibility that she had learned Klingon through a different language (there are some translations of TKD) all by herself, that would mean that she speaks multiple languages, hence it's unlikely she does not speak English.
  • Nearly all experienced Klingon speakers know each other, or at least have heard of one somewhere. It is very unlikely this story really happened without *anyone* hearing about it.

The only way they could communicate was Klingon

Confirmed as not being true • 2003. Similar to the previous story, this one really happened, although just reported incorrectly. There was a newspaper article of 2003 that mentioned that when Agnieszka Solska met Marc Okrand at the 8th qep'a' in Brussels in 2001, they could only communicate in Klingon. Solska confirmed that that was not true: Solska is definitely able to speak English (she even teaches it) and Okrand does not speak Klingon fluently. Besides, just like with the French story mentioned above, at that time, most Klingon teaching sources were written in English, so any Klingon speaker had to know at least some English. (2)

From the article:
"When Marc Okrand created the Klingon language for a movie back in 1984, he never thought anyone else would use it. But when he met a Polish linguistics professor at a conference in Belgium two years ago, the only way they could communicate was by speaking his invented language."

The child at the nursery school who spoke only Klingon

Not confirmed but not plausible. • In 2018, a reddit user named HelpfulButterscotch2 revealed a story claiming that he was a worker at a nursery school in California where he met a 4 year old boy who spoke only Klingon.(3) The explanation was that his father wanted to recreate the experiment that d'Armond Speers had done with his son, raising the first fluent speaker of Klingon. (4)

This story seems quite implausible for several reasons:
  • The person publishing this information remains all anonymous and has only one single post on reddit.
  • Most Klingonists, especially the fluent speakers, know each other, so it's strange that nobody has ever heard of this experiment.
  • Nobody else has ever reported about this, which is strange after four years.

The man who raised his child in Klingon

True story • 1994. There was a linguist who told people that he was going to only speak Klingon to his kid, and that did get some press in the 90s. He stopped the project after about three years. This is a true story. The name of that linguist is d'Armond Speers. The web is full of detailed newspaper articles about it.

The American in Japan

This story is not confirmed.

There is an old story where there was an American guy on a vacation in Japan. He was walking somewhere along the street when he saw a person who had a problem with his car, maybe a flat tire, or engine problems. He walked over to him offering his help, but the Japanese person did not speak a single word of English. He then noticed that the American was wearing a pin of the KLI so he realised that he would understand Klingon, which he did speak, so they continued their conversation in Klingon.

One other variation of this story is the two businessmen in Japan, one American, one Japanese. The assigned translator or interpreter never shows up and as a joke one of them asks the other if he speaks Klingon. When he answers Yes in Klingon, they start negotiating and have the beginnings of a deal.

McDonald's restroom story

This story is confirmed This is not a story that went viral, but is frequently told among Klingonists.

One version of this story goes like this:

There was a guy who wanted to fool a servant at McDonald's by asking for the bathroom in Klingon. He was quite surprised when the waiter understood the Klingon question and answered by saying "right over there".

In a message on Facebook Edmund W. Charlton(5) confirmed that this really happened to him, although it was not in a McDonald's restaurant, but at a Klingon event in the mid 1990s in Northern Kentucky. A woman in Klingon uniform asked: nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e'? (Where is the bathroom?), so he recognized the phrase and answered "...down the hall on the left."

Other Klingonists, like Chris Lipscombe, confirmed that they have encountered similar situations. This is quite obvious, as the above mentioned phrase is a quite common one.

References

1 : Pwn Up: The Language of Love, dorkly.com, published 27 July 2012

2 : http://www.kli.org/tlhIngan-Hol/2003/November/msg00152.html Message to the mailing list of 23 Nov 2003

3 : A student at the preschool I work at is only being taught a fictional language on Reddit, published 24 September 2018

4 : Nursery worker stunned to learn boy is actually speaking fluent Klingon, published 25 Septempber 2018

5 : Message on Facebook by Edmund W. Charlton

Category: General    Latest edit: 27 Jun 2019, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 20 Sep 2015 by KlingonTeacher
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