(covers information from several alternate timelines)
Klingonese (also known more commonly as "Klingon") was the language used throughout the Klingon Empire. It was boasted that half the quadrant was learning the language by the mid-23rd century. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles")
The Klingon language contained eighty poly-guttural dialects constructed on an adaptive syntax. The first Human to become fluent in it was Hoshi Sato, who learned from a linguistic database provided by the Vulcans. (ENT: "Broken Bow") Sato once remarked that a book given to her by Tarquin, written by a civilization over a thousand years dead, was in a language very similar to Medieval Klingon. (ENT: "Exile")
The Klingon language was not an immutable language. It was constantly changing to meet the needs and aspirations of the people. In the mid-24th century, the word peacemaker appeared for the first time in Klingonese after the negotiations mediated by Riva between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets took place. (TNG: "Loud As A Whisper") However, as of the late 24th century, there still did not seem to be a Klingon word for jolly. (TNG: "Parallels")
By the late-23rd century, several Federation authors wrote books on learning the Klingon language. Uhura had several on hand aboard the Enterprise-A in 2293, when she had to convince a Klingon patrol post that they were the Klingon freighter Ursva, including Introduction to Klingon Grammar. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Kathryn Janeway stated to Arturis that, while Arturis could speak over 4,000 languages, she could barely speak basic Klingon. B'Elanna Torres stated that she found the language a little too robust for her taste. Despite being half-Klingon herself, she was only able to speak a few phrases of Klingonese. (VOY: "Hope and Fear")
Klingon vocabulary Edit
|adanji||a type of incense used only for Mauk-to'Vor||DS9: "Sons of Mogh"|
|baH||fire! (as in torpedoes, disruptors, etc.)||Star Trek: The Motion Picture|
|baktag||an insult||TNG: "Redemption II"|
|bat'leth||sword of honor; a two-handed sword-like Klingon melee weapon||TNG: "Reunion"|
|Bekk||an enlisted rank in the Klingon Defense Force||DS9: "Sons and Daughters"|
|d'akturak||ice-man||DS9: "Blood Oath"|
|d'blok||an insult (it is unclear what exactly d'blok means.)||In 2372, Chancellor Gowron compared Worf to a mute d'blok, when Worf didn't answer Gowron's offer to come with him to Cardassia Prime, immediately.||DS9: "The Way of the Warrior"|
|Dhak'tah||wall/barrier/hull||ENT: "Sleeping Dogs"|
|d'k tahg||a traditional Klingon warrior's knife||Star Trek III: The Search for Spock|
|Fek'lhr||the demonic guard of Gre'thor, according to Klingon mythology||TNG: "Devil's Due"|
|Forshak||a substance which smells bad when it rots||In 2373, Worf insulted Thopok by suggesting he smelled like a pile of rotting forshak.||(DS9: "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places")|
|gik'tal||to the death||TNG: "Lower Decks"|
|Gre'thor||the mythological place where souls of the dishonored go after death||TNG: "Devil's Due"|
|he'ymar||energize (voice command to transporter activation)||DS9: "Past Prologue"|
|HIjol||energize (voice command to transporter activation)||ENT: "Marauders"|
|hur'q||outsider||DS9: "The Sword of Kahless"|
|jak'tahla||Klingon time of adolescence||Star Trek: Insurrection|
|jat'yIn||spiritual possession, lit. "the taking of the living by the dead"||TNG: "Power Play"|
|Jelik||a word, phrase, name, place, or event mentioned by Klaang to Hoshi Sato in 2151; along with Sarin, Rigel, and Tholia, Sato could not translate the word or understand its meaning||(ENT: "Broken Bow")|
|jinaq||a pendant given to a young Klingon female old enough to take a mate.||TNG: "Birthright, Part II"|
|J'khat bah||fusion manifold||ENT: "Sleeping Dogs"|
|kellicam||a Klingon measurement of distance||Star Trek III: The Search for Spock|
|Kolat chack tabak||Plasma Containment||ENT: "Sleeping Dogs"|
|Kortar||in Klingon mythology, the first Klingon created by the gods and who destroyed them||VOY: "Barge of the Dead"|
|kos'karii||pale, serpent-like creatures from Klingon mythology, who roam the waters of the underworld||VOY: "Barge of the Dead"|
|kut'luch||a traditional knife used by Klingon assassins||TNG: "Sins of the Father" VOY: "Real Life"|
|Kyamo||Beautiful||DS9: "Blood Oath"|
|Mauk-to'Vor||a ritual in which one kills a wrongfully disgraced sibling to restore their honor in Sto-vo-kor||DS9: "Sons of Mogh"|
|mek'leth||a Klingon blade weapon||DS9: "The Way of the Warrior"|
|mevak||a traditional knife used for Mauk-to'Vor||DS9: "Sons of Mogh"|
|Mok'tah||bad match||VOY: "Drive"|
|nIb'poH||déjà vu||TNG: "Cause and Effect"|
|Nuq'nuh||A traditional greeting.||DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach"|
|par'Mach||love, but with more aggressive or violent undertones||DS9: "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places"|
|petaQ||an insult||See below||TNG: "The Defector", et al.|
|Pu'DaH dak cha||Photon torpedoes||ENT: "Sleeping Dogs"|
|Qapla'||success||Star Trek III: The Search for Spock|
|qhonDoq||a type of assassin's blade||TNG: "Sins of the Father"|
|Quee nagah||Impulse drive||ENT: "Sleeping Dogs"|
|Qui'Tu||the place where all life began, according to Klingon mythology||Star Trek V: The Final Frontier|
|shuVak||a servant||DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach"|
|Soch||the number seven||(citation needed • edit)|
|soh-chim||step-sibling, god parent (roughly); legal guardian assigned by a Klingon warrior prior to battle||TNG: "Parallels"|
|Sto-vo-kor||the afterlife of the honored dead, where Kahless the Unforgettable resides||TNG: "Rightful Heir"|
|Suvwl'||Warrior||TNG: "The Icarus Factor", "Redemption"|
|taHqeq||a being known for telling lies; used as an insult when questioning another's honesty||TNG: "The Mind's Eye"|
|tohzah||an insult||TNG: "The Defector"|
|toruk-doh||an insult||DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited"|
|yan||a sword||TNG: "Redemption"; DS9: "Apocalypse Rising"|
Klingonese quotes Edit
- bortaS bIr jablu'DI' reH QaQqu' nay'
- Revenge is a dish best served cold or literally When revenge is served cold, the dish is very good (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
- "My beloved"
- matlh! jol yIchu'!
- "Maltz! Activate beam!" (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
- taH pagh taHbe'
- to be or not to be (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
- jIlajneS. ghIj qet jaghmeyjaj
- "I accept [with honor]. May your enemies run with fear" (TNG: "Redemption")
- 'ej HumtaH 'ej DechtaH 'Iw
- And the blood was ankle deep
- 'ej Doq SoDtaH ghoSpa' Sqral bIQtIq
- And the River Skral ran crimson red
- 'e' pa' jaj law' mo' jaj puS
- On the day above all days
- jaj qeylIS molar mIgh HoHchu'qu'
- When Kahless slew evil Molor dead (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior"; VOY: "Barge of the Dead")
- wIy cha'
- show tactical display (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
- Chak wa kah Deesh paklah! Kah Deesh paklah 'kiV Duj Duj-to!
- We've been attacked by an unknown ship, designation Enterprise NX-01. Any warships in range, respond. (ENT: "Sleeping Dogs")
- QonoS Thrott! Nej jos mIch ka Xanant 'ach pagh
- an extract from a captain's log entry (ENT: "Sleeping Dogs")
- SoHvaD pagh vIjatlh, Human!
- I have nothing to say to you, Human!
- 'ay'vamDaq nuHmey tIQeq
- target weapons on this section (ENT: "Affliction")
- quv lughaj Archer HoD beqDaj je
- Captain Archer and his crew are honorable people (ENT: "The Augments")
- maj ram
- "Good night", as said by both Jadzia Dax and Kor as the former headed for bed. (DS9: "The Sword of Kahless")
- In 2371, the USS Enterprise-D arrived at Veridian III and hailed the cloaked Bird-of-Prey used by Lursa and B'Etor. A Klingon officer told B'Etor of the Enterprise's hailing, but B'Etor responded with "Du'cha. We're still cloaked. They can't see us." (Star Trek Generations)
One Klingon term used as an insult on numerous occasions was petaQ (also spelled "Pahtak", "Pathak", "p'tahk", "p'takh", "patahk", "pahtk", or "p'tak"). It was also used by the Klingons of the mirror universe.
- When trapped in a ring of fire by an exposed well head for a deuterium pump, Korok called Tessic a petaQ. (ENT: "Marauders")
- Romulan Admiral Alidar Jarok asked Commander William T. Riker how he'd allow "a Klingon petaQ to walk around in a Starfleet uniform" referring to Worf. (TNG: "The Defector")
- J'Dan called Worf a pahtak when he didn't want to help him escape with a shuttlecraft. (TNG: "The Drumhead")
- Klingon Chancellor Gowron told Captain Jean-Luc Picard that the former was "referring to the filthy patahk who's using his name" when discussing the Clone of Kahless. (TNG: "Rightful Heir")
- A Klingon officer aboard the Duras sisters' Bird-of-Prey called Tolian Soran a petaq when the El-Aurian returned to the bridge of the vessel after torturing Geordi La Forge. (Star Trek Generations)
- Governor Torak replied to Lt. Worf calling him a lo'Be Vos: " At least I do not wear the uniform of the P'tak! " (TNG: "Aquiel")
- After Quark mentioned D'Ghor, Tumek told him "that pahtak's name is not spoken in this House". (DS9: "The House of Quark")
- Morka called several Romulans in Quark's "filthy pahtaks" in 2371. (DS9: "Visionary")
- Kor called Worf a "traitorous p'tak" when he believed he was going to steal the Sword of Kahless from him. (DS9: "The Sword of Kahless")
- In 2372 in the mirror universe, Regent Worf called Elim Garak "the p'tak who lost Terok Nor to the rebels". (DS9: "Shattered Mirror")
- Worf called a Dopterian a p'tak after he discovered the alien had broken into his quarters and had stolen several items belonging to him. (DS9: "Bar Association")
- A Klingon stationed on Deep Space 9 called Laas a p'tak after the Changeling told him his hands would have a stench on them if they were "stained with the blood of Klingon warriors", as the Klingon had told him. (DS9: "Chimera")
- After The Doctor added a "daydream" subroutine to his program, and started malfunctioning, B'Elanna Torres reminded him of an old Klingon saying while she was trying to fix it: "A Doctor that operates on himself has a pa'taQ for a patient." (VOY: "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy")
- The fully-Klingon B'Elanna Torres called her separated fully-Human self a petaQ several times after rescuing her Human counterpart from a Vidiian prison barracks. (VOY: "Faces")
- B'Elanna Torres used to call Max Burke pahtk while they were attending Starfleet Academy. (VOY: "Equinox")
- B'Elanna Torres called Ensign Vorik a petaQ when they were both under the influence of Vorik's Pon farr. (VOY: "Blood Fever")
- B'Elanna Torres called Tuvok a petaQ during a vivid dream before discovering she was on her way to Gre'thor. (VOY: "Barge of the Dead")
- The Doctor's holographic son, Jeffrey, called his father a petaQ when he tried to tell Jeffrey to stop hanging out with Klingons. (VOY: "Real Life")
Non-Klingon speakers of Klingonese Edit
- Curzon Dax
- Ezri Dax
- Jadzia Dax
- Emergency Medical Hologram
- Sito Jaxa
- Elim Garak
- Kathryn Janeway
- James T. Kirk
- Melora Pazlar
- Jean-Luc Picard
- William T. Riker
- Hoshi Sato
- Montgomery Scott
- Benjamin Sisko
- Nyota Uhura
Background information Edit
The Klingon language was originally called "Klingonese" in the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" (by Korax) and again in "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" (by Quark). Most later episodes refer to the language simply as "Klingon," and non-canon names include Klingonaase and tlhIngan Hol. Some people assert that Michael Pataki actually said "Klingoni" in "The Trouble with Tribbles", possibly a result of his character's drunken state, but this conflicts with the script and the Star Trek Encyclopedia.
Michael Okuda, who led the TNG-era art departments in creating the Klingon language as seen in graphics or script, starting from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home onward, has admitted they are randomly arranged symbols, which he based on the small number of Klingon writings visible in Star Trek: The Original Series and the first three Star Trek films. The original script was designed by Matt Jefferies, also responsible for the very first visual representation of the definitive Klingon emblem, for use on the D7 class model as used in the Original Series. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 6, p. 70) These graphics and writings do not reflect any possible spellings or translations in what Okrand's non-canon works call pIqaD, the native Klingon writing system. (NOTE: An unofficial guide to pIqaD is included on the box insert of the Star Trek Klingon Edition Monopoly game.)
The Klingon language as spoken was originally developed by UCLA dialectician Hartmut Scharfe, James Doohan and Jon Povill for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Doohan, who had expertise with various dialects, became involved in developing the Klingon language after he had a discussion with Gene Roddenberry over lunch. Decades later, Doohan remembered, "[Roddenberry] didn't like what [the dialectician] created. I said, 'Well, I'll do it for you after lunch.' I was doing something close to Mongolian." Povill has related in more detail, "When we switched from TV to motion picture, we had decided to make sure that the Klingons weren't speaking English, so we now asked our language expert, Hartmut, to help us construct a Klingon language. Whereas he had given us just what we needed for the Vulcans, his Klingonese didn't sound alien enough. Hartmut is Indian [sic: Scharfe was of German descent, but a languages specialist as spoken on the Indian subcontinent], and he was using it as a combination of Sanskrit and Germanic, it sounded in some ways recognizable, so we were not completely satisfied. Jimmy Doohan has always been good at just kind of making up dialects and languages, so he volunteered his services to help us. After Hartmut had done his thing and worked it all out logically, Jimmy and I just sat down one day and made up stuff. We created the Klingonese by using some of what Hartmut had done and then combining it with our own: we strung together nonsense syllables, basically, totally made up sounds with clicks, and grunts, and hisses. Jimmy actually taught it to Mark Lenard and the others just prior to the shooting of that scene, which didn't take place until many months later." At the time, Doohan told his co-workers, "We have to cut out vowels as much as possible." (Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, pp. 260-261; Star Trek Monthly issue 80, p. 16)
At that time the language was first featured, it essentially consisted of only a few exclamations, and the Klingon language was expanded for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock by Marc Okrand, who enlarged the lexicon and created a grammar around the original dozen words Doohan had created. It has spawned several reference works, beginning with The Klingon Dictionary. Scotty once remarked, "reading Klingon, that's hard." (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
The sounds of the Klingon language as developed by Marc Okrand are harsh and guttural. This transliteration system was used in preparing scripts and phrases when Okrand supplied dialog and coached pronunciation.
Below is a table providing a rough guide on how to pronounce Klingon and the standard transliteration of the sounds of Klingon. Please note that this table corresponds to the sounds of the standard dialect used when Okrand created the language; other writers have introduced other sounds and concepts into the language.
|a||as in father or balm||o||as in go or close|
|b||as in ball; in some dialects it is pronounced mb as in amber or m as in mess||p||as in pass|
|ch||as in chess||q||similar to "k" but pronounced further back in the throat|
|D||as in dead but with the tongue rolled further back; also like "nd" or "n" in some dialects||Q||pronounced like q but choked, a very raspy sound, very forceful,very similar to the initial "cr" phoneme in croissant.|
|e||as in bed||r||as in rotary, but trilled|
|gh||similar to "g" but softly gargled, sounds a bit like the French "r"||S||half-way between "s" and "sh", like "s" but with the tongue rolled back|
|H||as in Scottish loch or German Bach||t||as in tops|
|I||as in in or lift||tlh||like tl in bottle or Aztec tetl|
|j||as in jump||u||as in snooze but shorter|
|l||as in land||v||as in valve|
|m||as in mole||w||as in walker or where|
|n||as in nostril||y||as in young|
|ng||as in sing, never like the "ng" in finger||'||glottal stop, as in uh-oh or cockney bo(tt)le|
Basic phrases Edit
Below is a short list of some useful basic phrases in the tlhIngan Hol dialect, the most commonly-heard dialect used in the Empire.
|English (Human Hol, DIvI' Hol)||Klingonese (tlhIngan Hol)|
|Do you speak Klingon?||tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh'a'|
|I don't speak Klingon.||tlhIngan Hol vIjatlhbe'|
|Do you speak English?||DIvI' Hol Dajatlh'a'|
|Beam me aboard!||HIjol|
|Buy or die!||bIje'be'chugh vaj bIHegh!|
|Pay now!||DaH yIDIl|
|I am a ...||... jIH|
|Klingon, Romulan, Human||tlhIngan, romuluSngan, tera'ngan|
|Vulcan, Ferengi, Cardassian||vulqangan, verengan, qarDaSngan/qarDaSya'ngan|
|Ready torpedoes!||cha yIghuS|
|Surrender or die!||bIjeghbe'chugh vaj bIHegh!|
|It is a good day to die!||Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam|
The tlhIngan Hol dialect is featured most prominently in the Star Trek movies and intermittently in the series. Some writers on the television series followed The Klingon Dictionary fairly closely, while others did not.  Ronald D. Moore, noted for his major contributions to developing the Klingon culture, commented "Whether or not we use the language as spelled out in Marc's dictionary is up to the individual writer. I personally find the dictionary cumbersome and usually find it easier to make it up phonetically." (AOL chat, 1997) Marc Okrand noted that despite these departures, "[A]ny Klingon spoken during TNG counts as legitimate Klingon, whether I made it up or not, and I've incorporated all of it into the language." 
Such departures from Okrand's version included the following:
- The writers made up their own Klingon words: e.g kuva'magh or pfiots, against Okrand's pronunciation rules of standard tlhIngan Hol
- They used established Klingon words but in such a way that they were strung together without following Okrand's grammar rules, for example SoH batlh jI' for "you honor me", even though this sentence means something like "I am a honor you are". The correct translation of "you honor me" would be choquvmoH or tuquvmoH, depending on whether you referred to one person or multiple people.
- They gave new or extended meaning based on the English translation of a word, for example pu'DaH (pronounced poo-dakh) - phasers and cha (pronounced chah) - torpedoes, becomes pu'Dah dak cha (pronounced puh-dar dack chah) meaning photon torpedoes, when Okrand had already devised ' otlh cha.
- Okrand specified that Klingons do not have any rituals for ending conversations, since courtesy was not part of their culture. A conversation simply ends when either participant leaves. However, Qapla' ("success") is often used in dialog where English-speaking humans would say, "good-bye".
Composers have also used Klingon lyrics in their leitmotifs for the films. Cliff Eidelman, who composed Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country used taH pagh taHbe', a translation of "to be or not to be", for the choral parts for the score on Rura Penthe, in reference to Chang's love of William Shakespeare. 
For Star Trek Into Darkness, music editor Alex Levy incorporated Klingon lyrics into Michael Giacchino's score, mainly using Klingon insults to represent their fury at Kirk's intrusion of their planet. 
See also Edit
Episodes in which Klingonese is spoken Edit
- Star Trek films
- "Heart of Glory"
- "The Icarus Factor"
- "The Mind's Eye"
- "Cause and Effect"
- "Birthright, Part II" (sung by the Klingons in the Romulan prison camp after Worf returns from "the hunt")
- "Rightful Heir"
- "Parallels" (by the USS Enterprise-D bridge crew, at Worf's birthday party)
- "Lower Decks"
- Klingonese at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Klingon Language Wiki - a wiki to teach and learn Klingon
- The Klingon Encyclopedia (only in Klingon)
- The Klingon Dictionary
- Klingon Language Institute
- Klingon language at Wikipedia
- Klingon portal at Google - Kloogle?
- Klingonska Akademien - Swedish Klingon Academy