Okrandian Notation

Script ST6.jpg
ST6 klingon lines script

Klingon onscreen.jpg
Okrand's spelling in ST6

ST12 kronos2.jpg
Okrand's spelling in Into Darkness

The Okrandian notation (or Okrandian spelling) is the way of transcribing the sounds of the Klingon language as invented and used by Marc Okrand in The Klingon Dictionary. This term itself is not canon but has become common usage among klingonists.

Okrand explains as follows in the introduction of The Klingon Dictionary:
There is a native writing system for Klingon (called pIqaD) which seems to be well suited to the various dialects. This writing system is not yet well understood and is, therefore, not used in this dictionary. Instead, a transcription system based on the English alphabet has been devised. An article is being prepared for the "Klingon Encyclopedia" which will explain the details of pIqaD.
(Underlining added for emphasis)

Klingon sound [a] [b] [c] [d] [e] [g] [h] [i] [j] [l] [m] [n] [f] [o] [p] [k] [q] [r] [s] [t] [x] [u] [v] [w] [y] [z]
Okrandian notation a b ch D e gh H I j l m n ng o p q Q r S t tlh u v w y '

Numbers and Punctuation

Since this writing system was intended only as a pronunciation guide for the actors, Okrand did not devise a system for numbers or punctuation.

Actors notes

Before The Klingon Dictionary was published, this Okrandian spelling had already been used to coach the actors. Okrand used hyphens separating the syllables, because it appeared easier for the actor to memorize their lines. The documentary Credit As Conlangers showed a piece of the script used for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Robyn Stewart used the same system for coaching the actors of Star Trek: Discovery, but having more possibilities with modern computer, she could add bold fonts for emphasis.

On screen usage

It has never been addressed directly on Star Trek whether Okrand's spelling is the official way to do it, but there have been two situations where it was seen on screen, hence making it canon inside the Star Trek universe.

If one sticks to the definition of "on-screen canon", then this only counts for those few words used there, but not for all of Okrand's Klingon in general.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

During the scene where the crew of the USS Enterprise flies by the Klingon outpost Morska, two sentences of the Klingon dialogue were displayed on the monitor in the background.

Marc Okrand has explained several times during qep'a' that in the first version of the movie script, it was intended that the computer would do the translations, but the director thought it would be more fun to have the crew check it through their antique books. (1)

The screen in the background is split in two parts: English on top (labeled "Federation Standard"), Klingon below (labeled "phonetic Klingon").

First screen:
Dujvetlh 'oH nuq. rIn.

Second screen:
nuqDaq ghoS. rIn.

Star Trek Into Darkness

When the crew of the Enterprise headed to the Klingon homeworld, its name was displayed on the main viewing screen in all caps, so presenting the name as QO'NOS. Since then, all following books and other related sources have kept using the spelling of Qo'noS, although Marc Okrand had presented an English transliteration for the name as "Kronos" in The Klingon Dictionary. That spelling was also displayed as a subtitle in the movie, but it's not clear why there are two different spellings used there. It's likely that the designer of the monitor screen dis not cooperate with the subtitles editor.

➞ See main article Kronos for more details.

Star Trek: Picard

In Star Trek: Picard a person is wearing a T-shirt with a Klingon phrase written in roman letters.

See also


1 : information provided by Chris Lipscombe on Facebook, 16 June 2018

Category: Canon    Latest edit: 04 Feb 2022, by WikiAdmin    Created: 18 Jun 2018 by KlingonTeacher
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