TlhIgan Alphabet

Yeah, some of you didn’t need the caption to know what the image is, did you? It’s okay if you didn’t, I won’t tell anyone. The language-loving Trekkie in me recognizes the language-loving Trekkie in you, friend. Qapla’!

I am hereby outing myself as trying to learn Klingon. Yes, that is the language created for one of the fictional races in Star Trek. Yes, it does have a lot to do with the fact that Lt. Commander Worf is one of my favorite characters from Roddenberry’s creation. But there are two other reasons, one that should be plain if you know me and one that might not be so plain, but will make sense, again, if you know me.

Reason the First: I love languages. When I was little, I had a book – it was called The Book of Knowledge – and the book had listings of most of the nationalities of the world and their languages, and gave a few sample words in each language. It fascinated me to know how you say “Hello!” in Spanish or “Pardon me,” in French. And then there were the languages that did not use the same alphabet that English does – languages that use Cyrillic characters, for example – it was like code! Trying to see similarities that weren’t there between those characters and the Latin script that makes up the languages I understand filled my afternoons as a kid. It was a true tragedy that my school system didn’t teach languages before high school as so many do today, or I would have taken every single one I could fit into my schedule.

It is no wonder that I do what I do for a living – one of my best memories of the time I have been in my current job was a day that my co-interpreter and I were watching music videos in American Sign Language on YouTube and being just overcome with the choices the performer was making. We were out of our first language altogether and just allowing the beauty of our second language to live and breathe on the screen and then on our own hands as we tried to recreate what he had done first – the efficiency of his sign choices and the beauty of the meaning that he conveyed was just more than I could take. ASL to me is like magic – linear language becoming three dimensional and alive.

Who is surprised? No one, I’m sure.

Reason the Second: I am a very mousy person. Very few people have experienced truly ANGRY me who is so ANGRY that she expresses that ANGER. I am introverted and shy, and I hate that about myself because it seems that it is NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO BE, according to most of the people in my life. I am more expressive in ASL than I am in English, oddly enough, because ASL lends itself well to that sort of communication. There is no whispering in a visual language.

Klingon is harsh. It is a gutteral language. It is loud. There aren’t words for Hello or please or thank you. I still won’t speak it out loud unless I am asked how to say a particular word. It is a language whose culture is completely opposite of who I am every day, and I love that. But y’all, the best thing that has happened since I started this process has been the ability to understand some of the Klingon used on the different programs in the Star Trek world.

This new understanding of aggressiveness and harshness is helping me with some of the races that I have created in my novels – and it is helping me create languages for those races. While Sath may seem like a pussy cat, he has another side to him that is more rough and animalistic, yet developed – that is how Qatu’anari should be, and to date, it isn’t really. Maybe the Klingon will help me with that, as well as with other races that live on the Dark Side of the World that has yet to be discovered, or with D’leesh spoken by the dark elves, or even Eldyr. This makes my heart so happy.

Conclusion: Am I nerdy? Oh, no question. Most definitely.

Will I be able to fire back at you in Klingon when you call me a nerd, with that derogatory tone in your voice? ‘oH net poQbej Har SoH!

In which I may have to give up my nerd card…

I don’t care which fandom you follow, this is funny.

Last night, Hubs and I were watching (finally) Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access. Initially, I had refused to watch since CBS was forcing us to pay to watch something that had always been over the air, but then the 7-day trial with Amazon Video became available. So we now have five days to watch 12 more episodes. Easy Peasy.

During the episode, it occurred to me why Star Trek was more accessible (nevermind the pay-to-view status of ST:D) and easier to fall into and get stuck than Star Wars was or would be. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Star Wars fan. I don’t acknowledge 1-3, and only marginally accepted 7. Rogue One (which is what…3.5?) and 8 renewed a bit of my faith. Chewbacca is my spirit animal. Han shot first. A woman’s place is in the resistance. Etc.

But last night as I was watching this brand new iteration of a very familiar universe, I started thinking about why it was so familiar. It has to do with good storytelling, something Star Trek has in spades and Star Wars doesn’t always (minus 4-6 as I stated earlier, which are perfection). It also has to do with being able to take a franchise, a story, characters, a universe – and re-create it over and over, adding to canon without re-writing canon. If you can do that as well as Star Trek has, then you can even re-write canon (the reboot of the movies) without sending millions of Trekkies screaming back into their parents’ basements.

It could also be the familiarity of the Star Trek universe. It includes our earth. I said to Hubs last night that even though the Klingons at the beginning of the pilot don’t really look as much like Klingons as they do like something out of the Underworld movies, I still have no trouble accepting them as Klingons because the language is right, the cadence of speech is right…and the message of Klingon First is right. The Starfleet uniforms change in small details, but at the end of the day, they are all still basically the same thing with different touches to indicate rank or discipline.

What does this have to do with anything other than me declaring myself a Trekkie? It’s storytelling. It’s world-building, even when the world already exists and you have to go a few million lightyears out into space to build onto what you already have. It’s what I do as a writer, and I find myself utterly fascinated with the craft and the ability. It’s bringing the galaxy far, far away into the realm of my possibility, while still taking me where no one has gone before.

Yeah, okay, maybe I will hang onto that card.