I forward this to the JAC list (only members of the list are permitted to
send messages to the list).


H�vard Hjulstad    mailto:[log in to unmask]
all outgoing mail is scanned using Norton AntiVirus

-----Original Message-----
From: Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: 28. oktober 2003 22:03
To: ISO639 JAC list; H�vard Hjulstad
Subject: Re: [Fwd: New ISO 639 alpha-3 identifier: Klingon - DISCUSSIONuntil

I confess I'm not certain of the propriety of my responding, but given the
rather unique nature of this request, and the fact that I was included in
the email loop, I'll go ahead and bring up a few points which might not
otherwise enter into your consideration of the request.

Contrary to the concern implied below, this is not simply a case where "50
people get together and invent a language." Nor for that matter can it be
viewed as the actual origin in which a movie studio executive acting on some
unknown whim chooses to hire a linguist to create a language for a popular
film and its sequels. Neither the studio exec nor the linguist/creator ever
anticipated that, given the impact of the Star Trek franchise on popular
culture, individuals (both with and without formal linguistic training)
would take up the task of learning this artificial language.

But that's what has happened. Moreover, two additional factors need to be
considered when evaluating the linguistic community that describes Klingon

First, unlike with other constructed languages which historically have
appealed to a relatively narrow band of the socio-economic spectrum (e.g.,
well-educated individuals seeking a universal tongue, linguaphiles,
political-science students, and philosophers), because of its association
with Star Trek, Klingon benefits from speakers drawn to it from the same
broad social base that has been the target audience of the televisions
series and films.

Second, Klingon is the first constructed language to arrive on the scene at
a time when internet access and electronic mail are relatively inexpensive
and commonplace throughout much of the world, thereby fostering a linguistic
community that communicates in this language across geographic distances and
with rapid exchanges that traditionally have limited both natural and
constructed languages in the past.

My point here is that while indeed, Klingon was not created "for the purpose
of international communication" that original intent is moot. The studio
executive who originally commissioned the language does not speak Klingon,
and indeed the language as it is currently used -- in daily communications,
email exchanges, online discussions, quarterly journal articles, original
poetry and fiction, and book length translations -- has far outstripped the
original intent of providing some "alien color" for a film. Instead, it has
most certainly become a method (albeit not the most effective method) of
international communication.

The Klingon Language Institute has been promoting this language for the past
twelve years, and can point to more than 1500 members from more than 50
nations. In fact, the original publication which serves as the initial
sourcebook for Klingon study and practice, THE KLINGON DICTIONARY, has been
translated into four other languages (Portuguese, Italian, German, and
Czech), and I have been informed that more are on the way.

Please, do not simply dismiss this as a trivial or frivolous request from a
group of Sci-Fi geeks. I confess, the Klingon language community certainly
contains individuals who aptly fit such a description. But it also contains
main language professionals, individuals with terminal degrees, who perceive
Klingon as something new and unique. Klingon is a constructed or artificial
language which is growing in speakers at a time when too many naturally
occurring languages are already endangered and more become extinct each
year. Through Klingon and the popularity of the Star Trek franchise, we
bring people to the study of language who otherwise most likely would never
learn to look at their own language in terms of grammar and pragmatics,
semantics and syntax.

Take these factors into consideration, and grant Klingon the chance to reach
more scholars; provide us with the ISO identifier we seek.


Lawrence M. Schoen, Ph.D.
KLI Director

> We have received a request to add an ISO 639 alpha-3 identifier for 
> Klingon. The original request and some clarification done at the LoC 
> are found below.
> Please see for inside information. We are talking 
> about an "invented language" (although I suppose we will classify it 
> as an "artificial language").
> A sufficient number of documents seem to exist. But I still think that 
> we have a case where we need to discuss other criteria. If 50 people 
> get together and invent a language, and each write one document in the 
> language; do we register it? This language has not "native speakers" 
> (50 native speakers and 50 documents, and I wouldn't hesitate at all). 
> It has also not been developed as an artificial language for the 
> purpose of international communication. The language was developed for 
> a film. It may be a "good" invented language. Is that a criterion?
> My job is to ask questions at this point. DISCUSSION PLEASE!
> H�vard
> -------------------------
> H�vard Hjulstad    mailto:[log in to unmask]
> -------------------------
> all outgoing mail is scanned using Norton AntiVirus
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rebecca S. Guenther [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: 7. oktober 2003 21:59
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: New ISO 639-2 code (fwd)
> We received this request for a new language code for Klingon. See also 
> the revision of number of documents at the Library of Congress. 
> However, if his other calculations are correct, it still fulfills the 
> criteria for number of documents.
> Rebecca
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 11:05:57 -0400
> From: Milicent K Wewerka <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: New ISO 639-2 code (fwd)
> I don't think individual issues of a serial should count as separate 
> publications.  According to my count, LC has perhaps 10 items (a 
> combination of print materials and sound recordings).  Millie
>>>> "Rebecca S. Guenther" <[log in to unmask]> 09/25/03 10:56AM >>>
> I guess this looks like it's an artificial language? He claims we have 
> 51 (but maybe some are about, not in the language). So I suppose it's 
> in scope?
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 18:57:45 -0400
> From: WWW generic account <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: New ISO 639-2 code
> This data was submitted on: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 at 18:57:45
> lang_in_eng = Klingon, tlhIngan-Hol
> lang_in_fre = Klingon
> ref_where_found_1 = The Klingon Dictionary, Marc Okrand, 1992 
> lang_in_vern = tlhIngan Hol ref_where_found_2 = The Klingon 
> Dictionary, Marc Okrand, 1992 trans_lit = See above reference.
> evidence = Klingon Language Institute (Flourtown, PA) -- thousands 
> (including email letters, web pages, literature in _jatmey_ journal, 
> _The Klingon Hamlet_ (two versions), _Gilgamesh_, _Much Ado About 
> Nothing_, several manuscripts in Klingon, four Master's theses on 
> Klingon (three in English, one in French), thousands of separate 
> pieces of correspondence in and about the language, over 100 works of 
> fiction containing characters claiming to speak the language, Klingon 
> reference works in Klingon and German, Portuguese, Italian, Czech, 
> etc)
> Library of Congress -- at least 51 (average of at least one per issue 
> of _HolQeD_ journal, which is archived there (47 to date), four issues 
> of _jatmey_ literary supplement (5-10 Klingon documents each), copies 
> of _The Klingon Hamlet_, _ghIlghameS_ (Klingon version of the epic of 
> Gilgamesh), _From the Grammarian's Desk_ (several Klingon documents in 
> this), _paghmo' tIn mIS_ (Klingon version of Much Ado About Nothing))
> UCLA Research Library -- at least 51 (average of at least one per 
> issue of _HolQeD_ journal (47 to date), plus, four issues of _jatmey_, 
> each with many (5-10 or so) Klingon documents)
> The International Museum of Peace and Solidarity, Samarkand, 
> Uzbekistan
> --
> same as at UCLA
> addinfo = Studied by language enthusiasts in the hundreds (at least), 
> some dozens of whom can and do speak it conversationally.
> request_addition = ISO 639-2 only
> 2_code_suggestion =
> 3_code_suggestion = tlh
> submit_name = Mark E. Shoulson
> submit_email = [log in to unmask]
> submit_status = Assistant Director of the Klingon Language Institute; 
> speaker of the language in question (fairly fluent but non-native; 
> there are no native speakers); Grammarian of the tlhIngan-Hol email 
> list.