A Conversation for 'Star Trek' - the Klingon Language
Huw B Started conversation Sep 1, 2002
I have been told (by a non-Welshman) that the language includes elements of Welsh in it. Is this true?
I ask becuase there is something of a humourous pun for Welsh speakers in an episode of TNG where Riker has to spend some time on a Klingon ship and to save face has to eat a very unappetising plate of "gach" (phonetic spelling, not Klingon - 'ch' as in bach not church). In Welsh a plate of "gach" would literally be a plate of "sh*t".
Coincidence? Or does Okrand know a little Welsh?
Hoovooloo Posted Sep 1, 2002
Given that Okrand is a professor of linguistics, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that that's another very well concealed in-joke.
But other than that, as the entry says, as far as I know there is no connection whatever with any real language - but then I only speak English to any usable extent. Someone on a thread attached to the original entry said "oh, Klingon, that's just a mixture of Japanese and Yiddish, isn't it?", and while I know almost no Japanese and almost no Yiddish I can say with some certainty that that is nonsense. It might *sound*, to someone who speaks neither, like a combination of the two - but it ain't.
There is ONE word in Klingon which is similar to an English word deliberately, and that's qavIn. Klingons like coffee, so they use their pronunciation and spelling of the active ingredient, caffeine, to refer to that drink. Other than that, there are no words I know of from any other languages. But I would be very interested to hear of any other little gems like this. Thanks for reading and commenting!
EwenMc Posted Sep 14, 2003
The Welsh word for, err, excrement is cach, but it does change to gach under the right grammatical circumstances. 'Plat o gach' would be 'a plate of poo'.
The word is a good Indo-European one. Liverpudlians (and others) still have the word cack, and cack-handed is more widely known. I'm told that Khaki, the military brown colour, is derived from the Indian word for diarrhoea - which is the same sort of brown, if you ever stopped worrying about your food poisoning long enough to look.
jdmcowan Posted Oct 26, 2004
Thanks for the info. I have added to the "Puns" page at http://www.kli.org/wiki/index.php?Puns%20in%20the%20Vocabulary%20of%20tlhIngan%20Hol
As for the origin of this, it is unlikely Okrand. Most of the words spoken on the TV show were created by the writers and then added to the language by Okrand. So it was more likely one of the writers that created that pun.
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