Introducing My Teenage Daughter to the Klingon Language

My teenage daughter and I share a lot of hobbies like Marvel comics, Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars and such, but she tends to draw the line at Star Trek, especially the original series.

Not too long ago, I busted out my old Klingon Dictionary (yup, that Klingon Dictionary) and gave her a bit of an introduction to the Klingon language, including my bad pronunciations of Shakespeare:

General Chang’s pronunciation of the original Klingon is so much better

The Klingon language holds a certain fascination for me, even though I’ve never really done much to study it beyond some real basics. Compared to other language I like to study such as Japanese, it isn’t very useful. But on the other hand, it embodies a lot of nostalgia for me.

My fascination with Star Trek began in my early teens when The Next Generation was still on air, and the original cast were still making movies (Star Trek VI was a lot of fun to watch in the theater), and the rivalry between the Federation and the Klingon Empire was a big part of that. They were the fascinating other, and as a kid growing up in the tail end of the Cold War, I am sure that had something to do with it too. On the other hand, Star Trek: TNG did a lot to make them more three-dimensional figures and not just cheap villains (i.e. “space Soviets”) like they were in the original series

Anyhow, I remember being 13 and buying a copy of The Klingon Dictionary at the local bookstore. I was so excited to have it, and spent the following weekend reading it over, even though the linguistic terms made no sense to me. When I brought it to school, though, I got teased mercilessly, and I never brought it again. It remained dormant at home for many years, forgotten.

Finally a couple years back, I cracked open the Klingon Dictionary (along the way I somehow also picked up Klingon For The Galactic Traveler as well) and I could still remember some parts of the book, and pages. It was like being 13 all over again, fascinated by the world of Star Trek and Klingons.

My daughter grew up under different times and circumstances, so I can see why Klingon culture, language and Star Trek in general1 would obviously have no appeal to her, but I imagine someday she’ll be looking back on things she enjoyed when she was 13 with the same sense of nostalgia, and baffle her own kids. 😋


1 To be fair, the original series and even TNG to a point were pretty sexist. It’s a shame given the positive, idealistic future that Star Trek normally embodies. Still, I wonder if she’ll ever like newer series like Star Trek: Discovery which I think is a pretty good.

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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