Date: Mon, 07 Apr 1997 22:30:13 -0400
From: Bill Willmerdinger [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: BabelCon 2

Because this is of interest to the whole list, I've restrained myself,
and kept to English.

I'm just back from BabelCon 2, where Marc Okrand was the special guest.
This was a small con, very relaxed and a lot of fun. I didn't hear any
numbers, but there were around 100 people for Saturday night's banquet,
so I'd guess between two and three times that number overall. (I *said*
it was small!)

Marc gave a seminar on tlhIngan Hol Saturday morning (for an extra
charge) which was an introduction to the sounds of Klingon and the basic
grammar. Before he started, he went around the room asking level of
expertise. When he got to me, I just said, "I was at the qep'a' last
year," to which he replied with a smile, "I'm not talking to *you* this

He attended many of the panels when he wasn't busy with something. For
instance, he sat in on "Alien Cuisine 101" where we got to sample
delicasies from around the galaxy (most of which seemed to be mundane
things most of us wouldn't normally eat, like the "snog" which turned
out to be escargo). Marc must be braver than I am; he tried just about
everything, while I couldn't even look at some of what was passed

Marc's Saturday public talk was well attended. He told of how he became
involved with ST II and ST III, and of his part in the later films (and
lack of input into TNG, DS9 and Voyager). (For those who attended the
qep'a' wejDIch, he didn't really say anything we didn't hear last
year.) I didn't take notes at the talk, but he didn't say anything
Earth (or Qo'noS) shattering.

He autographed after the talk, and I bought an 8x10 color photo from
him, of Spice Williams holding him in her arms while he points out
something in the blue TKD to Charles Cooper and Todd Bryant. *Very*

After Saturday evening's banquet, there was a slave auction held to
benefit the American Heart Association, and Marc was the last slave
auctioned for the evening. Prior to the start of the auction, one of
our more agressive female Klingons went up to Marc with the slave
collar, said "Excuse me" to him, and promptly looped it around his neck
to check which notch it needed to be set at. He seemed a bit lost at
that (we later found out he'd never been auctioned before) but took it
right in stride. When it finally came time to bid on him, we were
prepared, but the bidding was disappointingly light. Our table "bought"
him for only $80. He was amazed at the amount, but what really floored
him was that we were prepared to go as high as $200. He claims he now
knows just how much he'd really worth, and that he has a tale to tell
his wife.

As part of his slavery, we asked him a few easy questions regarding the
language (well, okay, *I* asked him questions, the others just enjoyed
themselves). In actuality, we considerably exceeded his required time
of service, but he was having as much fun as we were and nobody noticed.

First, I asked him about toQDuj, which is given as "Bird of Prey
(vessel)". According to Marc, a toQ is a Klingon avian analogous to a
Terran bird of prey. toQ does not *literally* mean "bird of prey",
it's merely one type of creature which exhibits characteristics similar
to that gouping of Terran birds.

Regarding the words which appear on MSN, Marc has this to say. He
provided MSN with a list of around 400 Klingon words and their English
translations, and recorded a DAT with the proper pronunciation of each.
He did *NOT* write the additional explanations. I specifically
mentioned the calendar words, where the expanded definitions give things
like "7 Earth days", and he said that he had NOT done that. For further
clarification, his MSN Klingon board would be a good place to ask.

He also apologized to anyone who uses his MSN area; he's been upgrading
to Win95 and having configuration and software problems, and hasn't paid
as much attention to it as he should. He also said he expected it to be
more popular, so anyone holding back for fear of alienating him, ask him
something! Just don't expect too much right away.

Marc's policy is not to give out new words or grammar without careful
consideration. Several people over the course of the weekend asked for
new words; he made notes on what people wanted, but made no promises.
(Knowing this already, I *didn't* ask for new words - at least, not
specific ones!)

I had my Annotated Klingon Dictionary with me, and Marc spent some time
looking through it. We discussed some stuff I had added marked
"inferred" - mostly compunds or verb+Ha' entries which seemed pretty
clear. Well, I need to go through and look at some of them closer. One
example that sticks in my head is jotlh, which is given in TKD as
"take down". I had added jotlhHa' as "put up", but Marc pointed out
that -Ha' not only negates but changes state (undoes), and that "put
back up" would be a better translation. On the other hand, I had needed
some technobable once and created "inverter" by putting -moH and
-wI' on yoy"be upside down", which Marc said was perfect.

We discussed his sense of humor, which anyone who's gone through TKD,
CK, PK, and TKW has experienced. He said that originally he could
indulge himself, but now he feels contrained not to use some of the more
blatant puns and jokes. When I mentioned 'ampaS as an example, he
said that's exactly what he meant, and he was happy somebody got that
one. So, look for some seriously subtle stuff from now on.

We asked him about the audio version of TKW, and he said that he hasn't
heard it yet (!) but he wasn't directly involved with the production.
He had recorded a tape with the proper pronunciations of the phrases,
but was not on hand to coach Michael Dorn or Roxanne Biggs-Dawson. At
this time, there are no other audio tapes in production, although he'd
like to do one.

Finally, we discussed his new book. (Ah-hah! I can see the drool from
here.... Wipe that off your monitor!) Yes, there is a new book. It is
scheduled for release in the fall. It will NOT be another TKW, more
like another full-length addendum to TKD; Marc said to think of it as
"the Klingon they didn't teach you in school." He wouldn't go into any
detail, but said it will have quite a bit of new vocabulary and grammar,
and that some people will wish to kill him for what he's doing. I
gather he's going to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult.
g Yes, it will have pictures, but he has no idea where they got the
page count in the S&S catalog from, since *he* doesn't know exactly how
long it'll be yet.

When I mentioned at one point that my KAG ship usually has to sit
through Lawrence Welk when we do our PBS station's membership drive, he
said, "Then you should get at least one of the jokes in the new book,
assuming it doesn't get cut out between now and then." I can only say,
'oy' vISIQjaj.

I've probably forgotten something, and I wish I had taken notes and/or
taped his talk, especially the parts about how he developed the
language, because there's some fascinating stuff there. On the other
hand, this is incentive for everyone to go to the next convention Marc
does, and hear it from tlhIngan Hol's "Great Maker" himself.

(Hmm. Actually, given Okrand's reliance on Maltz and the comments in
HolQeD on qon, "Great Maker" in this case is probably best translated
as qonwI''a'.)

Qob la' (tlh.w.D. quttaj ra'wI')
tlhIngan Hol yejHaD qhojwI'

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