Can you speak Klingon?

The Klingon Dictionary

As a devotee of all things Star Trek, I would absolutely consider this for the collection.  So what do we need to consider?  This book is copyrighted by Paramount, the mother ship of all things Trek.  It was published in 1985.  Is this a concern?  Has the Klingon language and culture changed?  The last reference in the book sources Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  (Hardly the best movie, but I will accept the authenticity of this dictionary)    These kinds of items are fun and appropriate for a library to collect.  However, we should be on the lookout for more current interpretations.  I don’t want to show off my uber nerdy knowledge of the original series, but the Klingons did change in appearance to the current “look” with the craggy head, and without suitable explanation.  Can I trust this dictionary to treat the Klingons with respect?

Live long and prosper and don’t forget to click here and enjoy some of Spock’s wonderful poetry since you are working a Star Trek theme today.


The Klingon Dictionary

Klingon easy phrases


  1. Although one could argue whether it was “suitable,” they actually did finally put forth an explanation for the change in Klingon foreheads in the last Star Trek series, “Enterprise.” The long and short of it was that it was a virus that was created by researchers trying to develop something based on the super-humans in the Eugenic Wars. The human elements to the virus virus eliminated Klingon ridges until a cure was found, and they also suggested this was why the original series-era Klingons were more human-like and less honorable.

  2. There was a pamphlet issued in conjunction with the fifth or sixth ST movie (perhaps as part of the press kit), but this is the “official” book. The Klingon spoken in episodes since the book was published do not necessarily conform to the book, however; some of the authors of those episodes chose to create new constructions of words that already exist in this book or new syntax, disregarding the book’s rules.

    Still, if one has Hamlet (in the original Klingon), this might be a handy book to have.

  3. I remember the show “Teen Angel” (1998) on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup for a season–one of the lead teen guy characters could speak Klingon.

    Another Trek fan! I grew up watching “Next Generation” and the later “Star Trek” series and did see the original cast in the movies.

  4. Aw, my library system’s copy is marked LOST! I do note the LC subject tracing: “Klingon (Artificial language) — Dictionaries — English.

  5. I own this and all the other Klingon books. There has been a lot of vocabulary creation since this was published, but what is in it is still, basically, sound.

    (Perhaps this is the right place to mention the Halloween where I worked the ref desk in full Klingon warrior costume. We had the plaid invasion from the local Catholic school every day at 2:30, and I wanted to intimidate the little darlings.

    They came running in and came to a silent halt in front of ref. I looked up and barked, “nuqneH!” After a few more beats of silence, one of them said, “You are so cool.”

    Not the effect I was looking for [I’ve never been cool in my life], but at least I had an impact on their lives.)

  6. I am currently learning Lithuanian language. It’s almost the same. Maybe there are even more Klingon-speakers than Lithuanians, in fact.

  7. I think I checked this book out in tape form years ago. I wanted to learn to say “I want you” in as many languages as possible.

  8. I think its hilarious that, on FRASIER, Patrick Kerr’s character Noel is such an ardent sci-fi fan that he can speak fluent Klingon!

  9. I bought this back when I was way more into Star Trek than was advisable for a young man going into middle school and noticing ladies as something more than cootie factories. I’ve checked it out when I see it on bookstore shelves since and I’m pretty sure this book has’t changed since its original publication. Probably still a safe curiosity to keep on the shelves in the science fiction section.

  10. A fellow who speaks Yiddish pointed out to me one day that a lot of Klingon (and Ferengi) words are actually Yiddish.

    I made up my mind that if I ever get married, I want to elope in Las Vegas, but I want the guy doing the ceremony to be a Rabbi who does Sammy Davis Jr impressions and can do the ceremony in Klingon. So – imagine Sammy Davis Jr speaking Klingon.

    I’ll settle for a Vulcan Elvis but only if my fiancé can get, instead of a ring, a complete set of hard cover Alfred Hitchcock & The Three Investigator books for me.

  11. There was an article in a magazine not long ago (I think it was TIN HOUSE? but maybe HARPER’S) about the Klingon language. Apparently, two groups of people study Klingon: Trekkies and linguists. (Linguists are interested because it’s an invented language.) They even have conferences at which they speak Klingon, and there are examinations to prove you’re proficient in the language.

    I think the only reasons to weed are: if it never circulates, or if the dictionary has been updated to the point where this version is obsolete.

  12. I would love it if the likes of Google Translate and BabelFish could translate words into Klingon. Send my nerd-esteem rocketing sky high!

  13. I’ve seen Klingon mentioned in the same breath as Esperanto and a number of the more prominent invented language; it is definitely taken seriously by linguists.

  14. In fact, Klingon *did* change after this book was issued, largely for Star Trek VI. The changes were fairly modest, and the various shows went out of their way to remain consistent with the language described in this book.

    The biggest change is that the STIII version of the Klingon language doesn’t have a verb for “to be”. The Star Trek VI revisions were made so that the Klingons could quote Hamlet!

  15. Somehow I doubt that a real Klingon would say “It’s not my fault!” If you unjustly accused a Klingon of something he would probably unsheathe his bat’leth and slice your head off.

  16. I’d love this book. Did anyone else know that people are translating the Bible into Klingon. I heard they had the book of John done but it’s slow.

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