821. The Klingon Dictionary
PUBLICATION: Pocket Books, December 1985 (updated edition in January 1992)
CREATORS: Marc Okrand
STARDATE: Published in the Federation after ST III, but written before.
TOPIC: Not just an English/Klingon phrase book and dictionary, but also a full Klingon grammar and pronunciation guide. Warning: Potential speaker should check the state of the Klingon Empire before opening their mouths, as some dialects may fall out of favor.
CONTINUITY: The linguist's Klingon informant is Maltz, one of Kruge's men in ST III. The Klingon language is based on the words and sounds used in the first few films, but after its publication, it became the template for all Klingon dialogue in the films and series. The introduction explains why Klingon characters sometimes speak English - the use clipped Klingon to give orders, but like to show off their erudition in English as a class thing. (Well it worked that way in my supposedly french-speaking high school!)
DIVERGENCES: There shouldn't be any, though you may question that introduction.
PHRASE OF THE WEEK - One for Counselor Troi
REVIEW: A lot of fun. If you're a linguistics geek, even more fun. Admittedly, grammar and syntax are a pretty dry subject, but Okrand has used a good mix of making sense of what's been put to film and extrapolating language rules from the Klingon world view. So fans of the Klingons will find something valuable even there, like the clipped syntax perfect for giving orders in battle. Much more fun is making up your own Klingon phrases for daily situations around the house. Me and my roommates (both girls, score points on my geek cred) once attempted a cooking show in Klingon (Qapla!). I also like looking for ship names in the word lists (Kurn's ship, the Hegh'ta, translates as "accomplish death"). Mostly, you're left in awe of Okrand's achievement. Now wonder there are summer camps for this.