Re: CHAT: (no subject)
|From:||Ed Heil <edheil@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, July 27, 1999, 22:46|
From _The Onion_:
KLINGON SPEAKERS OUTNUMBER NAVAJO SPEAKERS
NEW YORK--According to a report released Monday by the Modern
Language Association, speakers of the Star Trek-based Klingon language
outnumber individuals fluent in Navajo by a margin of more than
"Navajo, a 3,000-year-old Native American tonal language
belonging to the Athabaskan/Na-Den=E9 group of tongues, is clearly dying
and will likely be extinct by 2010," MLA president Frederick Toback
said. "Fortunately, though, the sad, steady decline of this once-proud
Native American tongue has been more than offset by a rising interest
in Klingon culture."
Klingon speakers said they are pleased with the report. "Every
day, more and more people are discovering the excitement and challenge
of Klingon, or, as it's called by native speakers, tlhIngan-Hol," said
Doug "HoD trI'Qal" Petersen, an official grammarian at the Klingon
Language Institute. "After just a few weeks of studying Klingon, you,
too will be saying 'qo' mey poSmoH Hol!'"
"For those new to the language," Petersen continued, "a
terrific place to start is Marc Okrand's The Klingon Dictionary,
published by Pocket Books. After that, I'd suggest The Klingon Way,
also by Okrand. A marvelous guide to all things Klingon, it contains
everything from recipes for Durani lizard skins to the proper way to
address a B'rel Scout to the complete lyrics to The Warrior's Anthem."
As membership in the KLI continues to swell, the Navajo
population, whose lands occupy approximately 25,000 square miles in
the four corners of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, has
dwindled to 150,000.
"Our people are chained to the terrible suffering of our past
like a falcon without wings," said Daniel Littlefoot, president of the
Navajo Nation. "We consume alcohol and it, in turn, consumes us."
With the surge of interest in Klingon has come a corresponding
surge in publishing. Klingon-language editions of The Iliad, Hamlet
and The Bible are now available, as well as the classic Klingon tale
The Eyes Of Kahless.
"More than 200 titles are currently available, with more on the
way all the time," said Bob "nIteb'Ha" Janowitz, editor of HolQeD, a
quarterly Klingon literary journal. "It truly is a booming industry."
Though the basics of Navajo are still taught in some
reservation schools, and the language is spoken ceremonially at tribal
council meetings, most Navajos do not bother to retain their knowledge
after leaving school.
Above: One of the many learn-to-speak-Klingon interactive CD-ROMs
currently on the market. "The number of truly fluent Navajo
speakers stands at less than a thousand," Littlefoot said. "And of
these thousand, only a handful are less than 60 years old. Within a
generation, our 4,000-year-old tongue will be dust."
"We have people from all walks of life here," said Jennifer
"pekaQ" Proehl, a member of the Klingon Language Institute's High
Council. "Students, computer programmers, salespeople--all of them
banding together in the proud Klingon tradition."
According to Proehl, the Klingon language is just one part of a
thriving Klingon culture. KLI members practice Klingon martial arts,
participate in Klingon singing and storytelling sessions, and even
perform spiritual ceremonies derived from the various Star Trek
television series and films.
"What's happening with the Klingon language is extremely
exciting," MLA associate director Stephen Hogue said. "If its
popularity continues to grow at the current rate, we may consider
giving certain Klingon-speaking groups financial support in the form
of grants and special-interest funding. Increasingly, the MLA is
diverting funds from dying languages like Navajo to vibrant, emergent
ones such as Klingon."
"I know this is my home, but there isn't anything here for me,"
said unemployed Navajo nation member Leonard Murphy, 22, who dropped
out of school at 14 and remembers little of the Navajo he learned in
elementary school. "Everyone's leaving, getting off the reservation.
Now there's nothing to do here except drink beer and watch Star Trek."
(Note: The Onion is a parody newspaper, and while it tends to hit painful=
close to home, statistics and quotes and so on are as likely as not to be
completely made up.)
Ed Heil ------------------------------- firstname.lastname@example.org