Initial Vocabulary

When Marc Okrand was charged to develop the Klingon language, he based his work on the handful of word thats had been invented by actor James Doohan.

Words from Star Trek The Motion Picture

The first words that appeared in Star Trek - The Motion Picture were six phrases consiting of evelen syllables.

Developing the language

When Marc Okrand was working on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, before he got the final script with the lines he was supposed to translate into Klingon, he picked a number of lines from Star Trek (The Original Series) episodes mostly involving Klingons, to have examples of the sorts of things he might be expected to translate. While working on developing the language, he translated these lines into Klingon to test out his ideas.

If he was only looking for Star Trekky words, he didn't have to provide the vocabulary to translate the entire lines. He told David Yonge-Mallo that he translated some lines, but not which ones. There is no proof that he translate the following, but the presence of those words in TKD seems like good evidence.

Errand of Mercy

This episode (1.27) introduced Kor. In that episode, the character Claymere says of Spock, "A Vulcan trader, perhaps. A dealer in kevas and trillium. Harmless to the Klingons."

Words in TKD: vulqangan, mech, chaq, ngev, qevaS, DIlyum, joch, and of course, tlhIngan.

Possible translation: chaq vulqangan mechwI' ghaH. qevaS DIlyum je ngev. tlhInganpu'vaD jochbe'.

Friday's Child

From this episode (2.03) the following line seems to be one of the phrases Okrand translated:

"The rare mineral topaline, vital to the life-support system of planetoid colonies, has been discovered in abundance here."

You'll notice that every single word needed to translate this sentence is in TKD and in particular, the word toplIn appears in no other TOS episode. It's not just the word toplIn. It's qub, tlhIl, potlh, yIntagh, yuQHom, miDmey, tu', law', and naDev.

Furthermore, the word mIDmey survived the process of writing TKD to become the example for the plural suffix -mey. The word yuQHom also shows that -Hom already existed as a suffix, and although rojHom replaced it as the example in the body of TKD, it is found in the word lists in the back.

Since we know that -pu' was invented to retrofit the line I wanted prisoners, -mey was the only plural suffix at this point in Klingon's development. It's fairly likely that once he was forced to make a plural suffix for beings, he decided to add one for body parts as a joke, as there was no reason for him to do so, unlike with beings.

Elaan of Troyius

This episode (3.02) also had Klingons, and in it Elaan says, "They call them radans. The necklace is supposed to bring you luck. It is of little value. They are common stones."

Words in TKD: Dom, pong, ghIgh, Do', lo'laH, nagh, qub*/*le'*/*motlh.

Possible translation: bIHvaD Dommey lupong. DuDo'moHlaw' ghIgh. lo'laHbe'. naghmey le'be' bIH.

The Trouble with Tribbles

This episode 2.13 als had some Klingons and presents some words that appear in TKD: SermanyuQ, yIH, yatlh, tengchaH, Sorgh, loSpev. A remarkable sentence that trekkies surely remember is "I'm not saying the Enterprise is a garbage scow; I'm saiyng it should be towed away as a garbage scow." This phrase even appeared in TKD: veQDuj 'oH DujlIj'e' Your ship is a garbage scow. (1)

See also


1 : TKD, p. 171

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