Contradictory rules

After more than thirty years of developing the galaxy's fastest growing language, its creator Marc Okrand has sometimes come to a point where he has contradicted some of the rules he had set up several years before. This may cause some confusion among Klingonists while learning and teaching Klingon.

Explanations by Okrand

Students and Klingonists need to be reminded what Marc Okrand says in the introduction to The Klingon Dictionary(1):
It should be remembered that even though the rules say "always" and "never," when Klingon is actually spoken these rules are sometimes broken. What the rules represent, in other words, is what Klingon grammarians agree on as the "best" Klingon.

Chapter 2 of TKD explains(2):
The grammatical sketch is intended to be an outline of Klingon grammar, not a complete description. Nevertheless, it should allow the reader to put Klingon words together in an acceptable manner... It is not possible, in a brief guide such as this, to describe the grammar of Klingon completely. What follows is only a sketch or outline of Klingon grammar. Although a good many of the fine points are not covered, the sketch will allow the student of Klingon to figure out what a Klingon is saying and to respond in an intelligible, though somewhat brutish, manner. Most Klingons will never know the difference.

During an interview, Marc Okrand has said that there is no "correct" in any language(3):
You don't want to go too fast and loose or too far afield because then nobody will understand what you are doing. You won't have any rules at all. You don't want to be too rigorous, either. It's not math. One of the things that I think about when I read what people have to say about Klingon sometimes is when someone argues that things have to be one way, I think, "No, it shouldn't always be like that." It should be like that in maybe 75% or 80% of the cases, but not 100%. Languages don't work that way.

In KGT, it is explained that Klingons occasionally break grammatical rules as well(4):
Agreeing is not a trait typically associated with Klingon nature, however, and apparently, at least under certain circumstances, this may extend to grammar as well.

Famous quotes

In the 16th century the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund once made a grammatical mistake in his Latin. When told of this, he replied, "Ego sum imperator Romanorum, et supra grammaticam." ("I am the roman emperor and stand above all rules.")

Any fool can make a rule. And every fool will mind it.
(Henry David Thoreau)

See also


1 , 2 : The Klingon Dictionary, p. xx

3 : Interview with Marc Okrand HolQeD 7.4

4 : Klingon for the galactic traveler p. 172

Category: Grammar    Latest edit: 31 Aug 2021, by DughonItlh    Created: 20 Jul 2014 by KlingonTeacher
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