Trekkies attend Klingon language lecture in Taipei

via @ryusei

[I don't care much for the pop culture aspects, or about linguistics of the Klingon language, but this is very interesting to me from an anthropological point of view, because of the continued existence of Klingon a constructed language around the world]

If the Klingon language took off around the time that Star Trek The Next Generation aired, that means that in the span of approximately 24 years since the TV series last aired, it has been wildly successful as a constructed language, covering the entire world, disseminated as part of a subculture where it's applied as part of a mythology and the cultural phenomenon of a collaboratively constructed universe (independently of the fiercely controlled IP rights of Rodenberry's successors)

Recent estimates say that Esperanto has anywhere between 2 million and 10 million speakers as a second language. And Esperanto has been around since 1887. How long until Klingon matches the success of Esperanto, in a much shorter timespan?

It seems that one possible formula for the creation of a truly international, non-eurocentric constructed lang would be to create a mythology first --just like modern nation-states did--- and then build a constructed lang on top, that is apt to communicate the shared experiences of the communities that have an interest in a common mythology.
it may always be an uphill battle against the circular self-referential motive that haunts communities built around general purpose constructed languages.

If community and mythology go first, a constructed language appears to have a much better chance of long term viability.

(so you don't die of boredom talking to people whose only common experience is using Esperanto to talk about Esperanto)


One of things that has me so caught up in learning #tokipona is the philosophy of positivity and simplicity behind it.

While admittedly different than pop culture, it gives you a lot more than set of rules to dig into.

@h I have never before realized this, but Klingon, by not sharing a direct heritage with any pre-existing human language, rather subverting the most common aspects of them, may have a greater claim to internationality than the Internacia Lingvo itself.

@clacke in my view, tracing a parallel with computer languages, it could be said that in some way Klingon is a specific purpose constructed language, whereas Esperanto is a general purpose constructed language. That abstract openness without a cultural substrate to stand on makes Esperanto less accessible. I don't think that 2-10 million people in 130 years, in a world with 7 billion people is a breakthrough. But Klingon may be showing one possible alternative way forward.

@h @ryusei I would be interested to know what Klingonists think of the Klingon pronunciation and prosody sounds in ST:DIS.

I can't say that I know any Klingon, but to my untrained ear it sounds slow and guttural compared to e.g. how Christopher Lloyd spoke it.

@clacke @ryusei No idea, and I'm really not very interested in the linguistics of it as I said before. More curious about the anthropology of it. If "anthropos" even applies to alien culture 😃

Sign in to participate in the conversation is a cooperatively-run corner of the Fediverse. The instance is democratically governed by its members, who generally share an interest in the co-op model, but topics of discussion range widely.

If you are interested in joining our community, please review our Bylaws and Code of Conduct. If you agree with them, you may apply for membership on our instance via this link

Our instance is supported by sliding scale contributions of $1-10/mo made via Open Collective. You must have an active Open Collective account to apply for membership; you may set one up here