Qapla'! Learn Klingon on DuolingoFree Klingon lessons are now available on the Duolingo app. CNET's Bridget Carey learns about the Star Trek alien language from one of the course creators.
[NOISE] I love Star Trek. [SOUND] But can I call myself a Trekky if I can't speak Klingon? [FOREIGN] Well today is a good day to learn because now duolingo offers free Klingon lessons. Duolingo is a free language learning app. You can also use it on your desktop through a web portal. I've used duolingo to brush up on my Spanish but now anyone can test their tongue with the complicated sounds of Klingon. Like [SOUND] and [SOUND]. The Duolingo system is interactive, quizzing you with images, and helping the vocab stick with repetition, making you speak and type out answers. The course was designed by five Klingon-speaking superfan volunteers. And it has the official license and seal of approval from CBS, which owns the rights to Star Trek. So how do you design a course for a fantasy language? To answer that, I spoke to the Klingon lead course contributor, Felix Malmenback. Hi, all right- Hi.. Good to see you. I gotta start off with how does one become an expert in Klingon? That is a good question. I'm not quite sure how I got here myself. I originally you know browse various sites on the Internet and then eventually ended up getting, let's see if I can find Klingon Dictionary by Marc Okrand, looks like this And that is pretty much how you get started. This book is a really comprehensive guide to grammar. If you enjoy it, then it makes for three or four nights worth of pleasant night reading. There are real grammar rules for Klingon. It was created by linguist Marc Okrand for the Star Trek franchise. The [UNKNOWN] speaking community is sort of or at least most active [UNKNOWN] speakers have this cannon policy that only Marc Okrand is allowed to make up new words and grammar rules. He didn't [UNKNOWN] that rule himself, it's actually like just us thinking If we spread this out too much it's going to start, the language is it's going to start getting too nice to us essentially. It's going to be conformed too much to our expectations. And also we're going to have We might get like these different schools of thought about how Klingon should be spoken. The course development started in 2015 and since then, nearly 170,000 Dulingo users have shown interest in signing up for Klingon. My goal has been to gradually introduce grammar, and then Hits people with lots of vocabulary. And try to make the sentences, at least occasionally, a bit fun to help them just sort of encourage them to get over that first barrier to entry when you're learning a language. I feel like it's a little bit of a mean language. Some of the examples were like. He's young and stupid. Yes. It is a tough culture, I would say. Yes. But I saw, we are big, you are small. Yes. I gotta learn the pronunciation here. That's the other thing about Duolingo. You can actually hear it, right? So, So matin, Sumach. You know, I'm probably not doing it right though. (LAUGHING) Your close, it's martin, Sumach. Do lingo needed special programming to handle Klingon? No earth language uses apostrophes in the middle of words, and Klingon has case sensitivity, so a word can take on a different meaning if it is capitlized or lower case. Is there a reason why some letters are capitalized? Is there a rule for capitalization? Or does it depend on the word? With the consonants, the sorta general rule is that if it's capitalized, then it's not pronounced the way it is in English. So for instance, the capital H is in the but rather it's a [UNKNOWN]. And the capital S is not a [SOUND] but rather a [SOUND]. What's a good starter Klingon phrase or two, or even word? A good started would be, for instance, Qapla' is the classic. It means success and it's used in all sorts of situations. It can mean Good luck. Well done. God speed. You didn't fail completely. All right, it was cuz if I read it I wanna say kapla, but it's or- Yes, as you say, a lot of people, they say kaahplaah But what you want to do is actually [FOREIGN]. [FOREIGN]? Yes, very good. How tough is the app gonna be on my pronounciation? I have to really practice this. Yeah, it's definitely, I currently I've quite a lot of trouble with the sound. I have the bit of a cold actually, so don't take my sound too seriously. Or actually it might help a bit I guess. [LAUGH] To all you language warriors looking for a good challenge, good luck and [FOREIGN] [MUSIC]