Greetings from Chicago!
Communications officer Lieutenant jenbom reporting in!
This year, multiple members of the IKV batlh qa’ attended the annual Klingon Language Institute qep’a’! For those not in the know, that’s the big annual gathering of the KLI where Klingon speakers & students converge for 3 days of stories, songs, games, and learning. Beginners learn the basics while advanced speakers get to spend their weekend conversing with other fluent Klingon speakers. In attendance from the Duj (ship) were Maroq, janSIy, jenbom, and Khartan while a number of other local Chicago Terrans made the trip as well. We also met up with KAG members from Canada (Qov of the Northern Storm Fleet), Indiana (ghunchu’wI’ of the IKV pongHa’lu’), and Kentucky (qurgh and Kahless of the IKV ta’ veng)! The past 2 qep’a’mey (big meetings) were organized by our ship’s very own, janSIy (Jeremy Cowan).
The jaj wa’DIch (first day) of qep’a’ kicked off with a pamphlet of new mu’mey (words). The new word list included words for household items, vegetation, science terminology and more! After the new words were handed out, janSIy taught the first beginner’s class. This was a rundown of pronunciation and basic grammar. After lunch, mabom (we sang) and there was some official Klingon Language Institute business to discuss. From there, we teamed up for wa’ ‘ay’, where we changed a familiar sentence, usually a proverb, one bit at a time until it became a new sentence. In the evening there was 20 questions (nuq ‘oH) and a grammar game to find an arbitrary pattern in the sentence. After that, it was dinner time and then everyone hung out late into the ram (night) playing games and catching up with old juppu’ (friends).
Day 2 kicked off with more beginner work. SuchmeH Hol taught us how to use a little bit of vocabulary to do a lot of talking. By the time we were done, we completed an entire story as a class. After the lunch break, the advanced speakers took the floor for pegh mu’ (Password) and anyone who wanted to could take one of the certification tests. One of my more favorite “games” of the weekend took place after those were completed. qaDHom wa’ is a storytelling exercise where everyone is given a word and has to create a story around the word. As that wound down, it was time to head to the movie theatre! As a large group, we all went to see Star Trek Beyond along with Dr. Marc Okrand, who was the language consultant on the film. We had Starfleet & Klingons intermingling for the event and everyone enjoyed the movie.
On the final day of qep’a’, the beginner class was about learning tools and ideas for how to continue our Klingon education along with reviewing everything we had learned over the last couple of days. After lunch, there was time set aside to play in the hotel pool, more certification testing, and, a conference highlight, Ask Dr. Okrand. We learned that he created the language spoken by the movie bad guy, Krall, and he had created the initial language that was spoken by the alien that was giving the distress call near the beginning of the film. However, he informed us that the film crew decided to change how they did the universal translator. What you end up hearing in the movie is Sara Forsberg, the creator of the YouTube video What Languages Sound Like to Foreigners, doing a fake language synced to match the alien woman’s mostly English lip movements. The actress playing the character is the English voice heard through the “universal translator”.
On the final day, we had a large group picture taken and then it was pizza party time and muchHommey Sar, the Klingon cabaret! Everyone was encouraged to give a little performance, regardless of skill level. It was a time to show off what you had learned, use new words, and showcase translation efforts or new works being written. Ship commander, Maroq, told a story about one of the longstanding members of the ship, janSIy just took a break after organizing the whole affair (who could blame him), and I worked with Qanqor so he could play guitar for me and we performed a translation of Danzig’s “Mother” that I had helped translate along with another KLI member in Chicago. There was the Klingon fairy tale, HanSIl ghIrtel je’ told by Qov, James Taylor’s Fire & Rain sung in Klingon by Qanqor, a Klingon love poem told by gheyIl, awards and new words for Friends of Maltz, and pins awarded to those that passed certification tests.
Late into the night, we played with the VR equipment that qurgh ‘aj had brought along, drank beers, sang more songs, told more stories, and laughed. It was another fun qep’a’ and this year’s attendance was impressive. As a fairly recent attendee, Dunqu’ (it was super awesome) to see so many familiar faces but also to meet new people studying the Klingon language.
The one thing I have glossed over thus far are the Friends of Maltz. Becoming a Friend of Maltz is a huge honor within the Klingon Language Institute. Maltz is the Klingon that Dr. Okrand gets all his Klingon language knowledge. This year’s Friends of Maltz awards went to Chris Lipscombe (qurgh) for his work on the KLI website, Jeremy Cowan (janSIy) for his taking on the organization of qep’a’, Lievan Lietar for his contributions to the qepHom and for an upcoming book he’s writing, and Qov for her work creating the Level 1 Klingon Language Certification Study Program that is available on the KLI website. This was Qov’s second time receiving this esteemed award. Along with a certificate, those who receive this award are allowed to ask for one single word from Maltz that is not currently known to us – a mighty honor, indeed! To find out more information on the new words, I recommend heading over to the Learn Klingon Facebook page.
As we were all checking out of the hotel, the challenge was leveled at me to take and pass the Klingon Language Certification Program Level 1 test next year. That is a challenge worthy of a Klingon and I shall do my best! It would be truly amazing to see more KAG members make the journey to qep’a’ to study with us next year!
Qapla’ batlh je’!
Lt. jenbom vestai-toQqul
IKV batlh qa’
NOTE: There are 3 levels of certification testing within the Klingon Language Certification Program. By signing up at the KLI website, you can use an online tool that will prep you to pass the first level of the test! It’s a lot of vocabulary and there are tools to help you memorize.