Klingon, Quenya, Esperanto, Dothraki – Constructed Languages Around and Beyond the Globe: Part 2

HU constructed lan2 intext1

taH pagh taHbe’. DaH mu’tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
quv’a’, yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu’ je SIQDI’?
pagh, Seng bIQ’a’Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI’,
‘ej, Suvmo’, rInmoHDI’?

[To be or not to be, that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea or troubles,
And by opposing, end them?]

-William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Translated into Klingon by Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader

In the previous article we cleared the definition of ‘constructed language’ and also saw some examples for languages that were created to be universally used international languages. In this part I would like to mention some examples for languages that were created with the reason to complement a fictional world.


1. Klingon: is the language of a fictional alien race in the Star Trek television series. It was first heard in Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. Paramount Pictures hired linguist Marc Okrand to fully develop the language with a complete grammar and vocabulary. Okrand was heavily influenced by Native American languages.  The first Klingon dictionary was printed in 1985 and other books such as Klingon phrasebooks have been published since. The Shakespeare plays Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet have been translated into Klingonese after a famous line in Star Trek: ‘Shakespeare is best read in the original Klingon’. While this was meant to be a joke, the project itself was taken very seriously.  As of 2006, it held the world record for the fictional language spoken by the most people.


2. Languages of Arda: This term is used to describe the languages invented by J.R.R. Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings and other works taking place in Middle-Earth. The two most developed of these languages are Sindarin and Quenya which were both heavily influenced by Welsh and Finnish. Tolkien’s work with the many languages of Middle-Earthis a great example to show the potential of fictional language.  According to Tolkien, Elvish was ‘intended to be definitely of a European kind in style and structure’. The creation of these languages was done out of a desire to give real linguistic depth to names and places that according to Tolkien were lacking in fantasy and science fiction.


3. Dothraki: is a constructed fictional language in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and its television adaptation Game of Thrones. It is spoken by the Dothraki, the indigenous inhabitants of the Dothraki Sea. The language used in the TV-series was developed by David J. Peterson. In 2011 there were 3.163 words in the Dothraki vocabulary. When creating the language Peterson drew inspiration from George R.R. Martin’s description of the language as well as from such languages as Turkish, Russian, Estonian, Inuktitut and Swahili. In 2012 there were 146 newborn girls in the U.S. named Khaleesi the term for the wife of the khal (ruler).


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