Flag of the Klingon Empire
No matter where you travel, even halfway around the galaxy, even to say…Switzerland, you never know when you might be called upon to pronounce Qapla’ – the Klingon word for “success.” Don’t worry! Should the need arise, someone there can teach you.
Andre Muller, 32, is one of some 200 people worldwide who speak fluent Klingon – the fictional language of Star Trek‘s alien warrior race. Spoken Klingon was created by American linguist Marc Okrand in the mid 1980s, and it’s now being taught (in person, as opposed to online) at the Migros Club School, Switzerland’s largest adult education center, where $80 gets you a three-hour crash course in Klingon history, grammar, pronunciation and basic sentence structure.
Andre Muller, Klingon language instructor teaching in Switzerland (Photo: Migros Club School)
“The grammar is quite complex and exotic but it’s still easier than most natural languages,” says Muller, who learned Klingon himself at age 13 from Okrand’s Klingon Dictionary. “However, the vocabulary is hard to memorize, because we can’t relate to it to any other language.”
Migros’ coordinator of foreign language projects Mirjam Jaeger says, “We are overwhelmed by the interest in these courses. It exceeded all our expectations…It’s nice to see that the students are very mixed, from 14- to 61-year-olds, from Trekkies to IT professors.”
Indeed it’s all proving to be very popular — May classes in Zurich and Bern were both filled to capacity, and more are set up for this coming fall – including an intensive 20-lesson session to be held, appropriately, on Zurich’s Vulkanplatz.
Perhaps Muller’s descendants might one day find themselves teaching at…Starfleet Academy?
Source: USA Today, 6/02/17
Editor’s Notes: Can’t make it to Switzerland? Both Berlitz and Rosetta Stone offer courses. Visit the Klingon Language Institute at https://www.kli.org or wikiveristy (https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Klingon/Lesson_1). Take lessons via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL556CDA5C65B6C760). Interest in Speaking Klingon is certainly real and growing!