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Science Fiction Association of Bergen County

From the Archives: Excerpts from past issues of the

Starship Express

Volume 10, Number 18, 1996

Klingon Language Institute

By Mark Leeper

(Editor's Note: This is an abridged version taken from a convention report by Mark Leeper which originally appeared in the newsletter of the Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society, The MT Void Volume 14, Number 18 Copyright © Mark Leeper, and is reprinted with permission of the author/editor.)

. . . Schoen said it all started when he was down-sized out of his previous teaching job. Looking for something to occupy his mind while waiting for responses on resumes, he decided to learn Klingon, based on the dictionary developed by Marc Okrand. Schoen said he had been in the Mythopoeic Society and first thought, "Is Klingon like Elvish? Can we study it as we study a dead language?" At some point he found others on the Net who were interested and so founded the KLI. When "jobs failed to appear," he stayed with it. . . .

The first major project undertaken by the KLI was the translation of the Bible into Klingonese because, according to Schoen, there is a linguistic tradition to translate the Bible into all new languages that are discovered.

. . . There is also the "Klingon Shakespeare Restoration Project, inspired by a line in the sixth film (regarding how HAMLET must be read in the original Klingon to be appreciated). As Schoen said, "HAMLET is about honor and revenge and everyone is dead in the last scene--that's a Klingon play." The KLI translation of Shakespeare is . . . aiming for quality work: hardbound, case-bound, and on acid-free paper. They are currently in the fourth revision of the translation of HAMLET, and the Klingon is in iambic pentameter where the English is and in rhyme where the English rhymes. They will be printing 1000 numbered copies, priced at $20 each (and undoubtedly scarfed up by dealers who will inflate the price), and twenty-six copies lettered (in the Klingon alphabet) in lexohyde reserved for major contributors. Schoen says the goal is to take HAMLET onto the Letterman Show.

After this comes out they hope to publish a play a year. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is already done. They will publish the major plays individually, but the minor ones will be bundled in pairs.

There is also a Klingon postal course modeled after the Esperanto postal course: You send a self-addressed, stamped envelope and they send you Lesson 1. When you complete that, you send back your answers to the exercises and another self-addressed, stamped envelope. They grade the exercises and send you the results, along with lesson 2. And so on. There is no charge except for postage-paid envelopes. As Schoen notes, "You can't learn the language without the dictionary, but you can't learn the language with just the dictionary" either. He would like to use the Internet, but he feels it's important to stretch the course out rather than let the student run through all the exercises at on time and then forget it all in a week. They do have a Web page, though: http://www.kli.org.

. . . The address for the Klingon Language Institute . . . is P. O. Box 634, Flourtown, PA 19031. The postal course is available from Klingon Postal Course, P. O. Box 37, Eagle, ID 83616. The self-addressed, stamped envelope should have sufficient postage for two ounces.

. . By the way, the KLI is registered as a non-profit organization, but not a, Schoen noted, as a church! . . .

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