The joy of learning Klingon

Let’s just skip over the customary jokes about 40-year-old virgins who still live in their parents’ basements. Klingon speakers have heard them all. But the insults don’t bother them, because they know something you don’t. They know that Klingon is a sophisticated, extremely complex language that very few can master. I first came to Klingon as a linguist doing research for a book on artificial languages. My intention was to observe from a nice, distant, scientific perspective, but somehow I ended up with a little bronze pin indicating that I’d passed the first-level certification exam. The grammar offered an irresistible linguistic challenge. Klingon is difficult but not impossible, weird yet totally believable. Anyone can put on a pair of pointed ears or memorize some lines of dialogue, but learning to speak Klingon requires genuine hard work…

Klingon isn’t about practicality, or status, or even about love for the original Star Trek series. It’s about language for language’s sake, and the joy of doing something that’s not easy, without regard for worldly recognition. Hence the Klingon Hamlet, which took years to compose and which maybe 100 people can appreciate. What a piece of work is man indeed.