Orthographic Reform

The phonetic writing system used in The Klingon Dictionary uses capital letters as some kind of phonetic guide. This has often lead to misunderstanding among outsiders who regard Klingon as a bunch of random letters, and therefore do not see as a serious language. Another problem is that some Klingon letters are written with two or three latin characters, representing on Klingon "letter" (and therefore phoneme). These are ch, gh, ng, tlh. It may be easier if these were represented as one single letter, as many earth language do. Michael Everson has set up a list of several possible easier ways to write Klingon(1).

Theoretical examples

The following is a theoretical explanation for an orthographical reform, based on Everson's essay.
The used phrase was developed by Agnieszka Solska for a wordplay contest in HolQeD. It uses all Klingon letters with only repeating two of them.

Standard Klingon Latin orthography:
  • qajunpaQHeylIjmo' batlh DuSuvqang charghwI' 'It.

The same phrase with all-lowercase writing:
  • qajunpaqheylijmo' batlh dusuvqang charghwi' 'it.

This version creates problems for the distinction between q and Q. This can be avoided by replacing q with k:
  • kajunpaqheylijmo' batlh dusuvkang charghwi' 'it.

To avoid reading H as an english [h], it is replaced by the IPA like symbol [x].
  • kajunpaqxeylijmo' batlh dusuvkang charghwi' 'it.

Going one step further, the doubled-letters are replaced entirely, since there is no possible confusion: ch becomes [c], gh is [g]. ng and tlh are difficult, because they are sounds which have no corresponding latin letter. As a convention, [z] is used for tlh and ng remains as it is, since the sound is known like that in many other languages. It is intended to avoid seldomly used letters like ŋ or ł in this example. Everson does also use those (and others) in his script.
  • kajunpaqxeylijmo' baz dusuvkang cargwi' 'it.

A longer text can show the difference more clear, and makes it look more like a "real" language:

Standard Klingon Latin orthography:
taH pagh taHbe'. DaH mu'tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
quv'a', yabDaq San vaQ cha pu' je SIQDI'?
pagh, Seng bIQ'a'Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI',
'ej, Suvmo', rInmoHDI'? Hegh. Qong.

reformed writing
Tax pagh taxbe'. Dax mu'tlheghvam vikelnis.
Kuv'a', yabdak san vaq cha pu' je siqdi'?
Pag, seng biq'a'xey suvmex nuxmey sukdi',
'ej, suvmo', rinmoxdi'? Xegh. Qong.

simplified reformed writing
Tax pag taxbe'. Dax mu'zegvam vikelnis.
Kuv'a', yabdak san vaq ca pu' je siqdi'?
Pag, seng biq'a'xey suvmex nuxmey sukdi',
'ej, suvmo', rinmoxdi'? Xeg. Qong.

See also


1 : pdf Some options for Klingon orthographic reform (PDF) by Michael Everson, 24 Jun 2009

Category: General    Latest edit: 05 Dec 2016, by MarcZankl    Created: 05 Dec 2016 by KlingonTeacher
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