Klingon and Elvish 101, with Google Books

Tuesday, May 03, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Tlhlngan Hol Dajatlh’a’? Or as the French would say, Parlez-vous Klingon? Google Books empowers you to learn new languages -- even fictional ones, like the Klingon alien language from Star Trek, or the Elvish dialects found in The Lord of the Rings.

There is no longer any excuse to get tongue-tied at your next Klingon mixer -- unable to even summon up a simple nuqneH (what’s up) or a jIyajbe’ (I don’t understand). After reading through The Klingon Dictionary, you'll be fluently pulling off phrases like, HIjol, Scotty! (Beam me up, Scotty!) in no time.

More advanced Klingon speakers will want to put their skills to the test with The Klingon Hamlet. That's right, taH pagh taHbe’ (to be or not to be). You haven't fully experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in Klingon.

If you've read J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic series, The Lord of the Rings, or have seen the movies, you may remember that different races (i.e. elves, orcs and dwarves) each had their own languages. To say that Tolkien loved languages is an understatement. In real life, he spoke or studied dozens of different tongues, from French to Old Norse.

J.R.R. Tolkien

He was nearly as prolific at inventing new languages. The world of The Lord of the Rings was in large part created out of the many languages Tolkien invented for it.

A couple of the most developed languages Tolkien created were two Elvish tongues, Quenya and Sindarin. While Tolkien himself left extensive writings and notes about these languages -- see for instance Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names in his work The Silmarillion -- others have also created resources to help you polish your Elvish.

Make sure to check out Ambar Eldon’s Elvish dictionaries for both tongues: Quenya-English and Sindarin-English. Are you francophone? They've got you covered there too, with Dictionnaire Elfique Quenya-Français and Sindarin-Français. David Salo's A Gateway to Sindarin is a comprehensive book about the history, sounds and grammar behind the fictional language.

If you want to start with the Elvish ABC's, check out The Lord of the Rings Comprehension Guide's section on how to write words using the Quenya alphabet. For instance, my name in Elvish writing is:
"Oliver" in Elvish

Or maybe you just want to woo an Elvish maiden or an Orlando "Legolas" Bloom. You can send along this little love letter:

Come see the night sky with me, fair maiden/knight.

You’ll be star-gazing in no time.


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