Newsgroup message of

Subject: Re: What about Jimmy Dr Okrand?

Summary

James Doohan invented the first Klingon words

Source

Newsgroup: Klingon Usenet Forum
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 22:40:54 -0500

Quote

Klingon Amb wrote ...
>I've seen Jimmy Doohan at several conventions and he says he invented the
>the Klingon language not Dr Okrand. Could you respond Dr Okrand and tell
>us was it you or Jimmy that invented Klingon

Actually, this came up in the "expert" forum in early February. Here's (part of) what I wrote there:

The Klingon dialogue in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was devised by James Doohan and spoken by Mark Lenard, who, of course, played the Klingon commander in that film. My understanding is that Doohan recorded the dialogue on tape and Lenard then listened to the tape and wrote down what he heard in a way that would help him learn the lines. To the best of my knowledge, Lenard's handwritten transcription of this tape is the only written version of what Doohan made up. (There was more made up than actually ended up in the film. Some of this additional dialogue can be heard -- though without benefit of subtitles -- in a scene where we see the Klingon commander on a viewscreen on a Federation monitoring station. But the Federation folks are talking through all of this, so the Klingon dialogue can't be heard very clearly.) I don't know whether at the time Doohan made the recording he or Lenard or anybody else knew which phrases would go with which subtitles or whether subtitles were changed after the filming was done. (Having said that, the command meaning "fire [a torpedo]!" -- which I transcribed as {baH} but which also sounds kind of like {maH} -- must have always had that meaning, since it's there a couple of times. [The {H} is pronounced like the final {ch} in the name of the composer Bach.]) My involvement with Klingon began with "Star Trek III." In devising the Klingon dialogue for that film, I first listened to the lines spoken in "The Motion Picture," copied the subtitles, and transcribed phonetically what Lenard was saying. I also imposed a structure on the lines, deciding, for example, whether the phrase pronounced something like "June tah," subtitled as "Evasive," was one word or two. (I decided it was one, made up of two parts: {jun} "take evasive action" and {taH}, a suffix indicating that the action is of a continuing or ongoing nature.)

[end of earlier posting]

In the original TV show, we never hear examples of spoken Klingon (except for the names of some Klingon characters, such as Kang and Kor and Mara). Jimmy Doohan did indeed invent the first bits of Klingon that were ever spoken.

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