“Distancing”, “doomscrolling”, “quarantinis”, “flattening the curve” – no other illness has enriched the English language with new words and phrases quite like the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Things are no different for the alien language Klingon, it would seem.
The artificial tongue invented for TV series Star Trek has also expanded its vocabulary with several pandemic-related words, says one of the few people who fluently speak this language.
“The pandemic has also been preoccupying the followers of the Klingon language,” says Star Trek language expert Lieven L. Litaer, who requested new words from the inventor of the artificial language, American linguist Marc Okrand.
Here’s your basic introduction to surviving the pandemic in Klingon.
- Covid-19: qo’vID wa’maH Hut
- Coronavirus: qoro’na javtIm
- I’m not sick: jI-rop-be’
- #StayTheF***Home: #juHDaqratlhjay
- Vaccination: javtIm raS’IS
These are among the latest to join more than 4,000 words recognised in the Klingon language, which has grown from just 1,800 words in the language’s beginnings in 1985, according to Litaer.
New vocabulary is still being added every year.
Litaer, who is now giving his Klingon courses online during the pandemic, estimates that around only 20 to 30 people on the planet speak Klingon – a language with many tricky, guttural sounds – fluently.
According the Klingon Language Institute (KLI), more than 300,000 copies of Okrand’s Klingon dictionary have been sold.
Litaer, who was born in Belgium and lives in Germany, won the German Fantasy Prize in 2019 for translating the classic children’s book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery into Klingon. – dpa