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Monday, May 18, 2009

Live Long And Geek Out

The Wall Street Journal has a nifty interview with Marc Okrand, PhD. Who is he? Well, he's professor of linguistics, director of the National Captioning Institute and creator of the Vulcan and Klingon Languages:
Q. And that led you to create the more complex Klingon language?

A. I got to work from scratch for the third film, which included creating grammar and vocabulary (for the Klingon language). I did base some sounds off the lines spoken in the first film. But I came up with some basic rules and stuck to them.

Q. Did you draw from real languages?

A. You can't help being influenced by what you know, which (for me) was a bit of Spanish, French and American Indian. I also knew Southeast Asian languages. I'd be writing something and suddenly realize that it sounded like Navajo. I'd stop and make sure the next thing sounded as different as it could possibly be. I expanded the language for the fifth and sixth film and wrote a book called The Klingon Dictionary in 1992.
The irony of this? As the unimpeachable Onion reports, more people now speak Klingon than Navajo.

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