Klingon/My first Klingon

You may find Learning Klingon difficult due to the alien nature of the language. When Mark Okrand developed tlhIngan Hol, he specifically designed it to violate typical human language rules; Klingon uses a word order rarely found among human languages, and combines sounds in atypical ways. Beginners may have more luck familiarizing themselves with basic words and phrases to get the phonetic pronunciation, than trying to memorize pronunciation rules.

Klingon cursing ranks among the most difficult linguistic activity; the most offensive words and phrases in tlhIngan Hol utilize difficult to produce sounds such as tlh or Q, as well as difficult sequences of phonemes such as toDSaH. Mastering Klingon cursing gives practical experience with pronunciation and sound formation.


The word petaQ (pronounced) serves well as an introductory Klingon word; this word functions as an epithet, similar to "bastard" or "asshole" in context. This will undoubtedly provide an enriching addition to your skeletal Klingon vocabulary.

The word petaQ present difficulty at first due to the tlhIngon Hol Q sound; you pronounce this sound somewhat like the q but harder and louder, and the difference may not be clear at first. To form the Q sound, put the back of your tongue as far back into your mouth as you can; then force the air up as if you're trying to cough something up. Pronounce the Q forcefully. You may find this similar to producing a strong English 'k' sound, but with the back of your tongue pressed to your uvula.

Qu'vatlh ghuy'cha' baQa'Edit

In the Star Trek episode, The Mind's Eye, Governor Vagh was convinced the federation was supplying weapons to Kriosian rebels. Picard replied with the phrase, "Qu'vatlh ghuy'cha' baQa'," at which point Vagh complimented him on his mastery of Klingon cursing.

Qu' (task) and vatlh (hundred) make up the basis of the word Qu'vatlh (pronounced); thus, "a hundred tasks," frustration with an excessive workload and a lack of appropriate resources. ghuy'cha' , a general invective similar to "Damn it," consists of ghuy' (an invective; "damn") and cha' (two). Finally, baQa' or b'aka (invective) indicates a frustration with one's own inability to accomplish a task.

Qu'vatlh uses the Klingon Q; you should pronounce this sound as in petaQ. It also uses the tlh sound; you may find producing this sound extremely difficult. You can produce the Klingon tlh sound by saying an English t while breathing a whispered l; you may have trouble doing this with any level of force at first. tlh may sound similar to an English th interrupted by an l, hence the notation.

The sound cuts abruptly after Qu'; you must pronounce the word Qu'vatlh properly. Many words in Klingon sound similar to other words except for the abrupt termination; Klingon places more emphasis on the enunciation of sounds than English.