Early Morning Open Thread: Wagon Trek to Rosslyn, Fellow Nerds!

Well, probably not, but I’ll admit I was tickled to learn “How the Washington Shakespeare Company came to offer Shakespeare in Klingon”:

… [N]ow, we Terrans have an opportunity to savor Shex’pir as the Klingons do. The Washington Shakespeare Company, that Arlington outpost of offbeat treatments of classic plays, is going where no D.C. enterprise has ever quite gone before, offering up a whole evening of Shakespeare — in Klingon.
At the company’s annual benefit Sept. 25 in Rosslyn, selections from “Hamlet” and “Much Ado About Nothing” will be performed in the language that was invented for the Klingon characters of the “Star Trek” films. Actors will be speaking the verse in two languages, English and Klingon, and the lines in each will correspond to the Bard’s signature meter: iambic pentameter. The translations are courtesy of the Klingon Language Institute, a Pennsylvania group that published “The Klingon Hamlet” several years ago, in addition to composing the Klingon version of “Much Ado About Nothing.”
… The chairman of Washington Shakespeare’s board just happens to be the man who invented Klingonspeak for the films: Marc Okrand, a longtime linguist at the Vienna-based National Captioning Institute.
The Klingon Language Institute’s director, Lawrence M. Schoen, a science-fiction writer who works as chief compliance officer for a medical center in the Philadelphia area, had applied once upon a time to the Folger for a fellowship to aid in the effort to translate Shakespeare into Klingon. Although he was turned down, the group, whose members are a small global band of Klingon speakers, independently had set about the task. The effort was inspired by a line from “Star Trek VI,” in which a Klingon chancellor played by the classical English actor David Warner declares, “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.”

Ticket information, and much enjoyable detail (including YouTube vids) about Marc Okrand’s rediscovery invention at the link.

(I have the linguistic abilities of a reasonably bright dog — I can pick up individual words quickly, but concepts like “syntax” and “tense” are almost impenetrable mysteries. But I was a Trekkie when that was just an insult, and many of my dearest life companions are linguists, so I can enjoy the idea of Klingon just as I enjoy any craft-form that brings inutile joy to our utilitarian world.)

35 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    bortaS bIr jablu diH reH QaQQu ny.

    Okay I’m just showing off now, but that is my favorite phrase in Klingon. Oh and you can minor in it at Berkeley. I’m so pissed my parents didn’t move us to SFO when I was a junior in high school.

  2. 2
    morzer says:

    Syntax is not grammer. Tense is not aspect. Surely that ought to clarify everything.

    Now, back to my Quenya version of Kagemusha.

  3. 3
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Damn. Another geek thread which leaves me out. #Goes to the corner to pout and to plot morzer’s demise#

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:


    Syntax is not grammer grammar.

    FIFY. Before you really get jumped on.

  5. 5
    morzer says:


    Some go after Chomsky, I go after Kelsey. I am prepared to answer for my thought-crimes before the People’s Tribunal!

  6. 6
    Batocchio says:

    Fun! I’d check it out if I was in town. The Shakespeare Theatre in DC (another company) does some of the best classical theater on the planet. The greater DC area, including Arlington, does a pretty surprising amount of Shakespeare. (Speaking of translations, I own a copy of Gamlet by Boris Pasternak: “Bweet – elee ne bweet – vott va chem vapross…”)

  7. 7
    MattR says:

    Very cool. Even better it reminded me of MacHomer and it turns out that Rick Miller is giving a performance 10 minutes from my apt in a couple months. Now I just have to remember to check back to find out when tickets go on sale.

    (EDIT: Rick Miller doing Bohemian Rhapsody as performed by 25 of the most annoying voices in the music industry)

  8. 8
    freelancer says:


    how bout we just drunkenly stumble around, knocking over their boardgames, making fun of things we don’t understand, and generally make assholes of ourselves (You know, just like the “cool” kids in high school).

    +5 and PS, Fuck the Fucking Tea Party! (That was the first draft title.)

  9. 9
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @freelancer: Sounds good to me. Except, you do the drunken stumbling part for both of us, OK? OK!

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    @freelancer: Wifey be a wee bit allergic to booze. And I abstain for other reasons. so we let FH #1 do the vast majority of the liver destruction in the household. It seems to balance out. Although now I want a date tart dammit.

  12. 12
    MattR says:

    @Yutsano: And I want to date a tart.

  13. 13
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Yutsano: Nom nom nom.

    @MattR: Saw that one coming from a mile away.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @MattR: Don’t we all! Oh wait…

    @asiangrrlMN: I think Pedro finally done and ate him. I warned him and Bradley about getting too creative with the Vegemite.

  15. 15
    Anne Laurie says:


    Surely that ought to clarify everything.

    [Tips head to one side, focuses intently on speaker’s lips, looks attentive… ]

  16. 16
    Yutsano says:

    @Anne Laurie: It’s a papillion look isn’t it?

    BTW thanks for this thread. I haven’t gotten a chance to use any thlingan in a long time.

  17. 17
    Anne Laurie says:

    @asiangrrlMN: But you just introduced me to Girlyman! I have been playing thru YT and so far my favorite is ‘St. Peter’s Bones’…

    … so you have the satisfaction of being Ahead of My Curve in other areas…

  18. 18
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Yutsano: Not me! I am the tart!

    Or maybe FH#1 finally told his boss to take this job and shove it!

    @Anne Laurie: Another excellent song by them! And, I haz a jelus ‘coz you can embed.

  19. 19
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: That would be teh awesome, but I think he would have dropped us a line telling us. That’s not the sort of thing you really keep from your famiglia, especially when they keep hoping/praying that moment is coming.

  20. 20
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Yutsano: True that. #Nods in agreement#. OK. I got four hours last night, so I should probably hit the sack (yes, early). Night, all.

  21. 21
    roshan says:

    Ha. The geezers are going to love this!

    Over 50? You Probably Prefer Negative Stories About Young People
    ScienceDaily (Aug. 30, 2010) — When given a choice, older people prefer to read negative news, rather than positive news, about young adults, a new study suggests. In fact, older readers who chose to read negative stories about young individuals actually get a small boost in their self-esteem, according to the results.

    And what about younger people? Well, they just prefer not to read about older people.


  22. 22
    freelancer says:

    Cee-lo Green has gone viral this last week with “Fuck You!”, and I agree, it is quite awesome, but his best work, IMHO, can be found in this cover of Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You More Than I Do” and this collaboration with Bruno Mars with “The Other Side“.

    Just sayin’.


    freelancer out.

  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    @roshan: Keep fornicating that poultry dude. Keep fornicating that poultry.

    And I’m out too. Bon nuit mes amis.

  24. 24
    Snooze says:

    Has anyone asked if John Cole has received any outside funds not including ads revenue? Has anyone given him money to blog outside his blog ads?

    I guarantees your world will be rocked viewers.

  25. 25
    MeDrewNotYou says:

    I want to see Klingon Macbeth. The original is nice and gory as is, but let Lady Macbeth hand her husband a bat’leth… Now we’re talkin’!

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Erikthered says:

    The effort was inspired by a line from “Star Trek VI,” in which a Klingon chancellor played by the classical English actor David Warner declares, “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.”

    No, actually that quote came from the villain, General Chang.

  28. 28
    WereBear says:

    @roshan: That’s hilarious. And a bit sad.

    And in my geeky way, I don’t fit that mold, either…

    I swear, if I get to heaven and there’s cliquey lunch tables, I don’t want to go.

  29. 29
    roshan says:

    Immigrants are good for the economy!
    -A study by Fed Reserve of San Francisco

    The U.S. economy is dynamic, shedding and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. Businesses are in a continuous state of flux. The most accurate way to gauge the net impact of immigration on such an economy is to analyze the effects dynamically over time. Data show that, on net, immigrants expand the U.S. economy’s productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity. Consistent with previous research, there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.

    They tekk err jaabs!

  30. 30
    Emma says:

    OOOOOOHHHH…. I’d love to see that. I was one of those near-original Trekkies too…

  31. 31
    AxelFoley says:


  32. 32
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Anne Laurie@ top
    So which is your favorite trek? Mine is DS9 followed by TNG,
    My favorite Klingon, Martok!

  33. 33
    gwangung says:

    An event made for me.

    Just sayin’….

  34. 34
    Cyrus says:

    Ooh, I’m not a Trekkie myself – I’m a geek, but I’ve probably seen less than five whole episodes of any Trek show and probably less than half the movies – but my roommate is, and he works for the Shakespeare Theater Company in DC. (Thanks for the tip, Batocchio, I probably wouldn’t have known they were separate companies.) This might be fun to go to.

  35. 35
    gnomedad says:


    Consistent with previous research, there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.

    Teabaggers are doubleplusgood bellyfeelers. Don’t need no fancy elite “research”.

Comments are closed.