Number of Klingon words

The rough number of Klingon words used in most media and conversations mentions between 3,000 and 4,000 words(1). After the strong increase of new words after 2013, these numbers had quickly become obsolete and are a lot higher.

The exact numbers varies depending on what is considered a "word". One might say that there are about 2,500 root words, but to these words can be added several suffixes creating new words. For instance, while there are three different English words for the verbs "take form", "create", and the noun "creator", the Klingon counterparts chen, chenmoH, and chenmoHwI' are actually one root word using multiple suffixes. On the other hand, there are some homonyms that have multiple meanings like jIH can be the pronoun "I (me)", it can be a verb "monitor" and the noun "viewing screen". Last but not least, there are about 87 suffixes and 25 prefixes that should also be counted as a root word.

Regarding from the amount of definitions, a good approximation to use is saying there are about 4,500 to 5,000 Klingon words.

See part of speech for the exact numbers of each word type.

Ways of counting

There are several ways of counting Klingon vocabulary.

Canon entries

One way of counting, which is not so precise, is simply by counting each entry written in the canon sources. To do this simply count each single entry in the word lists of TKD and KGT, just from top to bottom. Because of that, the following list should be regarded only as a good approximation without claiming to be accurate:
Year Source Words Cumulative
1985 The Klingon Dictionary 1,586 1,586
1985 TKD suffixes + prefixes 87 + 25 1,698
1992 Addendum of TKD 219 1,889
1997 KGT 567 2,538
2005 other sources like HolQeD 434 2,972
2006-2010 qepHom Saarbrücken 21 2,993
2011 paq'batlh 11 3,004
2011 Monopoly 24 3,028
2011 TalkNow 52 3,146
2011-2014 different sources (rough count) 250 3,396
2014 qepHom Saarbrücken 14 3,410
2015 qep'a' 22 9 3,419
2015 qepHom Saarbrücken 60 3,479
2016 qep'a' 23 64 3,543
2016 qepHom Saarbrücken 130 3,673
2017 qep'a' 24 92 3,765
2017 qepHom Saarbrücken 33 3,798
2018 Netflix Subtitles 18 3,816
2018 Others 3 3,819
2018 qep'a' 25 128 3,947
2018 The Little Prince 24 3,971
2018 qepHom Saarbrücken 57 4,028
2019 Miniatur Wunderland 9 4,037
2019 qep'a' 26 160 4,197
2019 qepHom Saarbrücken 67 4,264
2020 Hamletmachine 20 4,284
2020 qep'a' 27 172 4,456
2020 qepHom Saarbrücken 72 4,528
2021 qep'a' 28 136 4,664
2021 Alice In Wonderland 41 4,705
2022 qepHom Saarbrücken 29 4,734
2022 qep'a' 29 45 4,779
- Summary: 4,779

Single word count

As Klingon is an agglutinative language using suffixes, words can be compound of multiple parts. This gives you the opportunity of creating lots of non-canon words, which are still correct and acceptable. The other way around, many canon definitions give us separate entries in a dictionary, although they do not contain any new words. For instance, when the verb ghoj learn is followed by the suffix -moH, the translation of ghojmoH is teach. The noun ghojmoHwI' is translated as teacher. There are many words that have multiple meanings, many can be both a verb and a noun, others just have two meanings depending on context.

When counting with this method, one gets a total of 90 affixes and 3,431 basic Klingon word stems (December 2021).

The following numbers are outdated (from year 2015). These syllables include about 60 proper names (as wo'rIv and pIqarD), 25 planets, 40 fictive animal names (targh), roughly 100 Star Trek related vocabulary and 77 transcribed words for Terran food (pItSa') and place names (i.e. mostly countries). If one claims those as not useful for speaking, it cuts down the number to about 1,800 "real" basic words.

Entries counting

Many people are keeping their own dictionaries, like the app boQwI', in which they add their own definitions, or extract definitions from what we are given in canon. For instance, tuq is defined as tribe, house, ancestral unit (2), hence creating three similar entries. When counting all these entries, the number rises up to roughly 3,800 or even more. Personal, undefined additions based on usage, may increase this number.

This wiki's dictionary part has about 4,313 single entries (i.e. "words") with over 4,798 different definitions (August 2022). See the index page for the exact number (note long loading time).

The dictionary table of Hol 'ampaS has 4,106 entries (proper names excluded, April 2021). (3)

Number of words over time

Combining the numbers of the Pocket Dictionary (4) (which latest entry is from 2013) with the list on http://www.kli.org/about-klingon/new-klingon-words/, the following result can be found for the years 1979 (ST1) to 2021:
anzahl woerter.png
Number of new words over time

The following graph shows the total number of words over time, starting with 11 words of Star Trek - The Motion Picture:
anzahl woerter kumulativ.png
Number of new words accumulated

See also

References

1 : "Klingonisch für Einsteiger", 2017, Lieven L. Litaer, p. 8

2 : Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, p. 228

3 : private message from Chris Lipscombe, April 20, 2021

4 : Pocket Dictionary database on http://klingonska.org/, retrieved on 15th May 2016

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 04 Aug 2022, by WikiAdmin    Created: 22 Jan 2016 by KlingonTeacher
History: r27 < r26 < r25 < r24 - View wiki text
 
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