Are there trekkies that are conversationaly fluent in Klingon?

NPR had a bit this morning that the Washington Shakespear Company is presenting various scenes from many of Shakespear’s works in Klingon. It made me wonder, if there fans of the series that have become completely conversational fluent in the created Klingon language.

You got me curious enough to find out.

Turns out that there’s a “Klingon Language Institute”. Wikipedia states that one of its founder, Rich Yampell, was the first to become conversationally conversant in the language.


I have heard repeatedly that Klingon is the most widely spoken “artificial” language in the world – that it surpassed Esperanto years ago. The Wiki Page (obligatory link) on Klingon doesn’t seem to support this, but does answer the OP’s question:

Who did he talk to?

I suspect that these people spend most of their time talking to themselves.

Here are some Klingons discussing whether or not to go to the opera.

I just read a book on artificial languages. The author (a linguist) went to a couple Klingon-speaking conventions (and passed the test herself).

From what I gather from her chapter on it, there are a handful (i.e. <100) of people who can and do go a whole day speaking only Klingon, but you may or may not consider them ‘fluent’. There’s a difference between asking where the bathroom is or ordering dinner, and being able to carry on complex negotiations or relationship discussions. I’m not sure there are many people who can do much of the latter in Klingon (yes, yes, of course a real Klingon doesn’t negotiate nor do they discuss relationships…)

Whereas there are at least some Esperanto speakers who spoke it at home growing up, as (one of several) native languages. I am sure they are more fluent than any Klingon speaker. And I doubt there are actually more Klingon speakers (however you define ‘speaker’) than Esperanto speakers. Though I don’t doubt that Klingon is faster-growing.

When I googled “foreign translations Jabberwocky” and this came up (Kligon and atranalation), I was flabbergasted.

“Jabberwocky” is simultaneously extremely easy to translate and extremely difficult, due to the high density of new-coinage words in it. Translating “sword” into Klingon is easy, but what’s the Klingon word for “vorpal”?

Iay ouldway xpectay atthay erethay ereway oremay eakersspay ofay igpay atinlay anthay anyay otheray ictitiousfay anguagelay.

Two minutes it took. What has this place come to?


Good point, apart from it being neither fictitious nor a language :wink:
Are there any fictional languages developed enough to converse in? The only ones I’m familiar with are Tolkien’s, and none of them are complete.

If you’re interested, there’s wiki’s list, and * In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language* (by Arika Okrent). Going on those two sources, then for ‘fictional’ meaning ‘languages developed for a work of fiction’ (as opposed to ‘artificial languages constructed for a purpose other than fictional entertainment’), then it appears that besides Klingon, Ladaan probably qualifies, possibly Atlantean (though I bet vocabulary is sparse), maybe Na’vi and probably a few more.

There are a LOT of more-or-less complete artificial languages invented not for fiction (Esperanto, Loglan/Lojban, etc. etc.), though probably only the two named have more than one or two people that could converse at all in them (and from what I understand, conversing in Lojban is slow even for experts)

I thought Elvish from LOTR was considered a “complete language.” I often hear it cited next to Klingon as “languages people who have too much time on their hands are roughly fluent in.” Is this not correct?

There’s no language simply called “Elvish”. Tolkien developed a few languages to various degrees, Quenya and Sindarin being the most developed, but he worked on them constantly until his death. Books have been published since then with more complete languages, but they’re not canon.

Trekker is what they’re called now. Trekker.

'elev Holqoq 'oghlu’pu’bogh ghojmeH vum neH 'Iv?

Now THAT ain’t true. I don’t know about Klingon women, but Klingon men give every indications of being very into romance.