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Shakespeare In Klingon? 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-have-not-experienced-Shakespeare-until-you-have-read-him-in-the-original-Klingon dept.
stevegee58 writes "As if the Klingon opera described recently here at Slashdot weren't enough, here's an interesting offering for Shakespeare buffs. The Washington Shakespeare Company (based in Arlington VA) will soon be performing selections from Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing in Klingon."
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Shakespeare In Klingon?

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  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by multipartmixed (163409) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:16AM (#33414630) Homepage

    I heard a rumour that BOTH people who speak Klingon are going!

    • Yeah, and they'll probably end up in a duel for life or death (Hay'chu') over that "to be or not to be?" question..
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      You'd think that the two people who speak Klingon would be the ones performing in the play.
      • by Abstrackt (609015)

        You'd think that the two people who speak Klingon would be the ones performing in the play.

        That's why they're going!

    • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:40AM (#33414942) Homepage

      As opposed to all the North American opera-goers who speak Italian? :)

      • by Exitar (809068)

        I heard that Klingon is a very musical language, can you confirm that?

        • by GigG (887839)
          It sounds like very large cats be raped with very large baseball bats.
          • by Abcd1234 (188840)

            It sounds like very large cats be raped with very large baseball bats.

            No no, you're thinking of German!

          • Really, how does that sound? Maybe you have a recording of your experiment? It would be interesting to hear, but I do not have a baseball bat or a cat.

      • by roc97007 (608802)
        Chi non capisce l'italiano?
    • by yyxx (1812612)

      Klingon is supposedly the most frequently spoken artificial language. Never underestimate the power of nerddom.

      • It has a long way to go before it reaches the levels that Esperanto and Lojban have. It is estimated that there are over a million people who use Esperanto casually, and tens of thousands who are fluent in it. There are some thousand people for whom Esperanto is their mother tongue. Esperanto is also recognized by UNESCO and there are regular television and radio broadcasts done in the language.
        • by Pseudonym (62607)

          The most used artificial language (as opposed to the most spoken) is arguably the Morse abbreviation sublanguage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fgodfrey (116175)

      You know, that's kinda what I thought would happen but.... I've done "The Klingon Christmas Carol" (http://cbtheatre.org/Klingon-Xmas-Carol.html) as a sound/light designer for 3 years (and I'm about to do a 4th) and we've basically sold out every year. Plus, we got a gig for Paramount doing a few excerpts from Klingon Hamlet that are on the Star Trek VI BluRay.

  • Fantastic! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MarkRose (820682) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:18AM (#33414658) Homepage

    Ahh! This is great! I've always wanted to see Hamlet in the original Klingon!

    • Ahh! This is great! I've always wanted to see Hamlet in the original Klingon!

      Pfft! All ripped off from the original Romulan sources.

  • "You haven't heard Shakespeare until you've heard it in the original Klingon."

    Takh bakh o takh bekh? (Apologies to those who actually do know Klingon...)
    • by mackil (668039)

      Takh bakh o takh bekh? (Apologies to those who actually do know Klingon...)

      For audio reference... [moviesoundclips.net]

    • Yes a little joke put into Star Trek VI, Just to give the audience a chuckle, during the movie to break up a politically tense moment. Has gone out of hand and gone overboard.

      I am surprised that they didn't redo mythology to make Hobgoblins actually Vulcans to have visited earth in the middle ages.

      • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

        I am surprised that they didn't redo mythology to make Hobgoblins actually Vulcans to have visited earth in the middle ages.

        Don't be absurd. Those were clearly agents of the Shadows.

  • taH pagh taHbe'. (Score:1, Interesting)

    DaH mu'tlheghvam vIqelnIS. quv'a', yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu' je SIQDI'? pagh, Seng bIQ'a'Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI','ej, Suvmo', rInmoHDI'? Hegh. Qong --- Qong neH --- 'ej QongDI', tIq 'oy', wa'SanID Daw''e' je cho'nISbogh porghDaj rInmoHlaH net Har.
    • Unless you can translate this to English, mods, how do you even know if it's offtopic? It COULD be questions about the venue, followed by an enthusiastic statement of intentions to attend... would that be "Offtopic" ?

    • C'mon, it's Hamlet's soliloquy in Klingon. Did nobody watch Star Trek VI?
    • FYI, if you paste this text on Google translator and use the "detect idiom", it will say that this is Swedish.

  • by muyla (1429487) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:26AM (#33414770)

    will be proclaimed their king!

  • What?! I thought the only reason I could not understand Shakespeare was because it was written in Klingon.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "To kill or not to kill, that is the question".

    "Alas poor Yorrik, he died without honor".

    "All the world's a battlefield, and all the men and women merely warriors".

    "As he was valiant, I honour him. But as he was a Romulan, I slew him."

    "Cowards die many times before their deaths; a Klingon never taste of death but once."

    "Life every man holds dear; but the Klingon holds honor far more precious dear than life."

  • by StuartHankins (1020819) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:42AM (#33414984)
    I am just waiting for someone to come out and say "All right, that's enough! This is just silly. Silly, silly, silly!"

    Mad props to the Monty Python gang for many laughs over the years.
  • Why does every invented/imaginary language have so many apostrophies?

    • I believe it's because Klingon uses a lot of glottal stops, (the blank spot, for example, in "uh oh!") and represents those by apostrophes. Many languages that have very new and contrived writing systems (like St'at'imcets [wikipedia.org]) use Latin characters in different ways than we might normally be used to.
    • Yeah Klingon is worse than Ada in that regard, but easier to debug I reckon.

  • much free time. The time necessary for these "fantasy languages" -- Elvish, Klingon, French.....is better spent on Spanish, Chinese, Japanese or something even quasi legitimate, like Esparanto....
    • Ouch, there's a hook in the roof of my mouth!

      Some folks have free time because they design their lives such that they do.

      Further, I disagree that any structured language is less valuable if you focus on improving the health of the brain.

      If you want to get all statistical about it, anyone who can't speak Chinese is doing it wrong.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      Says a /. commenter.
    • by JWW (79176)

      I agree with you to a point. All those other lanugages would be more beneficial to learn than Klingon. Well, execpt Esparanto, I'd have to take exception at that.

      If I had a choice between learning Klingon and Esperanto, it'd be Klingon all the way.

    • by somaTh (1154199)
      Obligatory xkcd: http://xkcd.com/191/ [xkcd.com]

      That being said, what's wrong with learning fictional languages? It's almost a given that you'll have something in common with other people who learn it beyond the fact that you know the same language. If you enjoy doing something, you'll find time to do it. Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra?
      • Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra?

        Best. Episode. Ever.

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        Funny how that alien can speak English words when it's convenient to describe the various situations that his metaphors describe. :-)

        'Shaka, when the walls fell'

        WTF now you can speak enough English to talk about walls falling? Haha.

    • The act of constructing the Klingon language was itself an aid in understanding how other languages were constructed, and perhaps even contributed to understanding "dead" languages?

      While I have no evidence to support the claim, it certainly made sense to me when I heard it.

      • by Phrogman (80473)

        The act of constructing Klingon was based on our understanding of how many other languages work, or have worked in the past - i.e. Linguistics as a study - I highly doubt it contributed anything to Linguistics as a whole. Its a clever language in and of itself, but not revolutionary. I highly doubt there is very much in Klingon that hasn't occurred elsewhere in another human language. The sheer variety of ways that humans have chosen to develop their languages is just staggering, and almost anything you can

    • by ZankerH (1401751)

      Elvish

      The adjective form of the noun "Elf" is "Elven". However, there are many different languages spoken by Elves, Quenya being the most prominent. There is no such thing as an "Elvish" language.

      • by neminem (561346)
        Then I suppose there's no such thing as Chinese, either? After all, there are multiple dialects of the language spoken by people in China, which differ quite dramatically.
  • Hamlet has been out for about 10 years., Klingon has been spoken by thousands for a long time. They even have Klingon language camp and activities like that that one may attend
  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Monday August 30, 2010 @10:26AM (#33415452)
    Time for someone to really get their geek on and translate "Ode To A Small Lump Of Green Putty I Found In My Armpit One Midsummer Morning". I'd imagine it's military applications would greatly interest the Klingons, although they'd probably consider it a dishonorable method of combat.

    .
    • After much thought and consulting the experts I came up with:
      tujbogh pem nI' po 'I'wIjDaq SuDqu'bogh DochHom'e' tlher vItu'bogh gha'tlhIq
      the ode of respect of a small green lumpy thing which I found in my armpit on the morning of a long, hot day.
  • Hamlet in Klingon was published about 10 years ago.
    ISBN-13 - 978-0671035785 (Amazon [amazon.com]

    Much Ado about Nothing was published in 2003
    ISBN-13: 978-1587155017 (Amazon [amazon.com]).

    There's also Gilgamesh, also published in 2003.
    ISBN-13: 978-1587153389 (Amazon [amazon.com]).

    As for why - well, why not? It's an activity they're interested in, and if people can communicate meaningful information, is it less a language than the artificial ones we use to program our computers with? C/C++/Java/PHP/Perl/Python/Ruby/Assembly/Machine Code/etc are all

    • by AdamThor (995520)

      "A Christmas Carol" has also been translated into Klingon.

      Commedia Beauregard - translated works is their shtick - performs it every year. This year they're doing it in Chicago, in addition to the regular Minneapolis.

      http://www.cbtheatre.org/CHI-works/KCC2010-CHI/KCC-CHI-2010.htm [cbtheatre.org]

      Props on their effort, they do a good job with it.

    • by sorak (246725)

      I think the novel part about the Klingon language is that it is an unnecessary language invented by people who intentionally decided to learn a language that it unlikely to ever be useful.

      The programming languages exist because compilers cannot speak English, and computer programmers cannot agree on one perfect means of communicating one's wishes to the compiler. A better programming language analogy would be with the non-mainstream [computersight.com] languages, such as LOLCode and Brainfuck. Those languages are not meant to

  • Wake me when someone performs it in Vogon...

  • I rather think Hamlet in Sindarin might be quite nice.
  • It's hard enough to translate Shakespeare into another natural language without losing a great deal (see Doug Hofstadter). Given the limited vocabulary of Klingon (see your Klingon dictionary), you will get a lengthy, tedious baby-talk retelling.

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      It's hard enough to translate Shakespeare into another natural language without losing a great deal (see Doug Hofstadter). Given the limited vocabulary of Klingon (see your Klingon dictionary), you will get a lengthy, tedious baby-talk retelling.

      Since it's Klingon, you're more likely to get a lengthy, tedious baby-talk reyelling.

    • by DrNoNo (976214)
      But Shakespeare has well defined meaning to a considerable level of sophistication. The way to do it is to extend the language logically from what is already available and where this is not enough, invent more Klingon to express the concepts. Done well, this project has great potential to develop the Klingon language into something fully functional. Not that there is much point, of course.
  • ...but what is it about Klingon language fan things that right away make me laugh?

    Don't get me wrong - I like Star Trek and consider myself a fan, but damn this just screams "I am a dork, give me an atomic wedgie!"

    Conversely, if someone were to say redo Ride of the Valkyries featuring costumes that were all inspired by Mandalorian Armor, I would consider that "mighty" and "badass".

  • So it is now only the modern English who do not have Shakespeare in their own language.
  • Seriously, so what? As a Shakespeare lover this does not interest me in the least.

    Is there something magical about Klingon that adds a new dimension to Shakespeare? I doubt it.

    I think Shakespeare used the proper language (of the time) to present us with a view and a philosophy of life.
    It is not something that can be translated.

    How will Klingon add to this and therefore, why bother?

    Ok, I have another idea. How about we re-write the Odyssey as a rap song.

    Novel? Yes. Odd? Definitely! Adding new meaning to Home

  • by Frankie70 (803801)

    Yes, this is true.

  • I've been into Klingon and Esperanto and Tolkien's languages and linguistics generally since I was about 10 years old. I think jokes about the nerdiness of Klingon speakers are funny too, but having met at least a dozen of the best Klingon speakers in the world, I can attest that most of them are highly accredited professionals who are married and have kids. A disproportionate number also seem to be colorblind Jewish programmers, for some odd reason, but my point is these guys are intelligent, productive

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