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Chong nagh beQ De'wI

01/04/2002. Contributed by Stephen Hunt

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Or from the Klingon, what a beautiful web site.

Let's postulate a question.

If you were a Star Trek fan site, what would be the ultimate accolade your online work could pick up? (well, apart from winning SFcrowsnest's Wizard Site Award, of course).

How about being asked by the world's favourite general search engine - Google - to help produce their Advanced Klingon Search Interface (always good for a laugh over at http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=xx-klingon when you've got a spare moment).

Well, that's the kind of kudos you can expect when you're the Klingon Language Institute (hereafter referred to as the KLI). It's not wonder the Google crew fell over themselves to worship at the altar of whatever weird radiation these serious-faced Trek scholars were throwing off.

Klingon opera and insult-throwing competitions and the like are the kind of Fan activity that inevitably gets featured by Big Media for a cheap laugh whenever the activities of science fiction and fantasy fans get trotted out for a bit of nerd baiting.

But those warrior race academics at the KLI just can't be stopped from FTP'ing up audio files of Klingon pronunciation hints, Terran-Klingon dictionaries, information on the funny foreheaded one's writing system & alien script, running mailing lists, and posting the obligatory translations of Shakespeare in the 'original' Klingon.

Well, with the UK going into Europe, and the USA going latino, you can never speak too many languages, we suppose. For those of you not in the know, language professor Mark Okrand was paid to invent a 'real' Klingon language for the first Trek movie (you remember, when the NASA space probe comes back like Hal with a Terminator's temper).

And the bible Mark created has been further swelled by the output from the many new Trekkish TV series - from Voyager to DS9. A lesser known fact is that there are also official Paramount bibles for the Vulcan and Romulan languages (apparently very similar) knocking about, but the popularity if these never seemed to take off in the same way.

Another lesser known fact, that will no doubt have aficionados like SF author Harry Harrison reaching for his revolver, is that there are now actually more global speakers of Klingon than there are of Esperanto, the official world language.

The KLI was formed pre-Net in 1992 and has now grown to over 1,500 paying members ($15 a year, if you want to join). For your money you get correspondence courses and their printed journals (Jatmey and Hol'Qed), as well as full access to the web site.

Apart from the odd cunning linguist among the group, the majority are simply rabid Star Trek fans.

Well, we better go before we start suffering from ngav (Klingon writer's cramp).

Visit the Klingon Language Institute over at http://www.kli.org/

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