It’s Star Trek Day as the first ever episode of the TV show aired on 8 September 1966. And I’ve been learning Klingon. There are plenty of ways to do this if you so wish, but Duolingo, with whom I attempted to learn Italian, has an app. So I went with them.
I didn’t get very far as I am very tay ‘it ray ‘et day (I can now spell English words in Klingon, but heaven knows what the actual Klingon word is, let alone how it’s pronounced). But I managed a couple of levels until I started to mutter expletives after mistyping qaghwl’ several times (which I think means glottal stop). I should have guessed this language wouldn’t be for me when I found myself agreeing with the lesson that kept asking me to pronounce w w, spelt way way, pronounced why why.
From what I can gather the language is very contrary. Ay as in day is pronounced Eye, whereas Ey as in key is pronounced Ay. Then there’s the mouth-full-of-saliva consonants like tlhay (clye, maybe?), and the subtle differences between hay (cat about to shoot a hairball into your shoe) and ghay (drunken cat about to shoot a hairball into your shoe). And the more charming double definitions like qay meaning Q but also use the middle finger.
Here’s me attempting to pronounce qaghwl’ ‘ot yay qaghwl’ – glottal stop, o, y, glottal stop (Duolingo goes first) and then another word which I have no idea what it means as I forgot to write it down.
I’m pretty certain it’s not the Klingon’s fault I have trouble with the language. I am pretty say hay ‘it tay with most languages, although I can still remember how to say thank you in Hungarian and the German prepositions that make up the acronym BUDFOG (mainly because my GCSE teacher kept shouting, ‘You’ve got to learn them!’ at every opportunity). I did love how Klingon lowered my voice, and learning on an app is like playing a game.
But I probably should have learned Vulcan. My love of Star Trek comes from my Dad, and Spock without a doubt is his favourite character. He’s a huge Trekkie, so much so for his 80th birthday I knitted him the USS Enterprise.
I’ll leave you to go boldly with two of my favourite Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner songs. I used to play the Nimoy album relentlessly in the mid-nineties and Shatner’s is worth it for the echo effect alone. Although his face in the moon might give you nightmares.
Live long and prosper 🖖