Klingon Language Institute

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The Klingon Language Institute (KLI) is an independent organization located in Flourtown, Pennsylvania, United States. Its goal is to promote the Klingon language and culture.


The KLI has members from all over the world.[1] For 13 years, it published a quarterly journal HolQeD (Klingon for "linguistics"), before discontinuing the paper mailings and changing to an electronic version which quickly stopped entirely. It also published the fiction and poetry magazine jatmey for three volumes. It now publishes a number of translated works including The Wizard of Oz, The Art of War, the Tao Teh Ching, and more. Each year, the KLI hosts a five-day conference called qepʼaʼ (Klingon for "great meeting"), which is open to both members and anyone interested in the language.[2] The KLI is running several projects, including the translation into Klingon of a number of award-winning science fiction short stories, books of the Bible, and works by Shakespeare. The motto of the institute is "qoʼmey poSmoH Hol", which means "Language opens worlds".

The KLI is a nonprofit corporation and exists to facilitate the scholarly exploration of the Klingon language and culture. It has the permission of CBS Studios to use trademarks such as "Star Trek" and "Klingon".


The KLI was founded in 1992 in Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

Each year, in midsummer, the annual meeting called the qepʼaʼ takes place. It is open to anyone who is interested in the Klingon language, and usually takes place in the United States. The eighth meeting, the first and only ever outside the USA, was held in Brussels, Belgium in 2001 and organized by Lieven Litaer. At these meetings, attendees discuss and use the Klingon language in both formal lessons and panels, as well as informal activities and events. It is held at a more professional level compared to a standard science fiction convention. During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020-21, the KLI held the qepʼaʼ online on their Discord server. These events have had some of the highest attendee rates, with the 28th qepʼaʼ having over 100 participants. Parallel to this annual meeting, many members of the KLI also organize their own "small meetings", in Klingon called "qepHom," which are informal and small local gatherings to practice the Klingon language.

At the qepʼaʼ of the year 2003, a documentary movie about the KLI was produced. Its name is Earthlings: Ugly Bags of Mostly Water. This movie was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and was shown in theaters few years after.


The director of the KLI is its founder Lawrence M. Schoen, Ph.D. He currently has three assistant Directors who coordinate different parts of the KLI. Alan Anderson, primary Grammarian, Jeremy Cowan, qep'a' Coordinator, and Chris Lipscombe, IT and ecommerce Coordinator.

During the '90s and '00s, at intervals ranging from three to eighteen months, a "Beginners' Grammarian" was elected from among the most experienced intermediate level speakers on the tlhIngan Hol mailing list operated by the KLI. Their duty was to help teach the beginners of the Klingon language who used the email discussion list. The process was designed to help new students of the language while also helping improve the knowledge and skills of the Beginners' Grammarian. When their duty was over, they kept their title of Beginners' Grammarian. The KLI has about 20 former Beginners' Grammarians. Due to the rise of social media and the decline of email discussion lists, Beginners' Grammarians are no longer chosen.

The KLI administers a website, https://www.kli.org/activities/klcp/, that is designed to recognize KLI members for their achievements in learning Klingon. The program defines four levels of certification, from Beginner ("taghwI’") to Grammarian ("pab pIn"). Certification is awarded based upon performance on written tests, administered by representatives of the KLI. Testing is available for free to all active KLI members. Currently only the first three levels have a test, and no one has been awarded the pab pIn level as of 2021. Beginners' Grammarians from the email list are not considered pab pIn.

The KLI is in close contact with Marc Okrand, the creator of the Klingon language, who has visited each qepʼaʼ since the third one. At those meetings, he receives a wishlist of requests for missing Klingon vocabulary, which he frequently answers. These new words were first published in HolQeD, and then on the KLI's website, but are now published directly to the website during the event.

Notable speakers[edit]

Some Klingonists have gained relative notoriety for various accomplishments. The KLI has awarded the title "Friend of Maltz" to Klingonists who has furthered the language in various significant ways. This award has only been give out to twelve people since the formation of the KLI. It's recipients include: Alan Anderson, William Martin, Mark Shoulson, Rich Yampell, d'Armond Speers, Nick Nicholas, Robyn Stewart, Eric Andeen, Jeremy Cowan, Chris Lipscombe and Lieven L. Litaer

Rich Yampell[edit]

Rich Yampell (known to Klingonists as HoD Qanqor or "Captain Krankor"), a software engineer currently residing in Bellevue, Washington, is probably the world's first ever conversational speaker of Klingon. He is the author of the book The Grammarian's Desk, published in 1996 by the Klingon Language Institute, a collection of the columns he wrote for the Institute's scholarly journal HolQeD. Yampell is also the author and co-author of numerous songs, such as the Klingon Anthem "taHjaj woʼ" (music and lyrics), "ʼIv maH" (music and lyrics), "yIH bom" (music).

Lawrence M. Schoen[edit]

Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen is the founder and current director of the KLI. He is the editor of the Institute's scholarly journal HolQeD and co-creator of the Klingon song "yIH bom" (lyrics). He had been the organizer of the KLI's annual summer conference, or qepʼaʼ, until 2015 when he handed coordination of the event over to Jeremy Cowan.

He obtained a bachelor's degree in Psycholinguistics from California State University, Northridge, and then master's and doctoral degrees in cognitive psychology from Kansas State University. He has worked as a professor, teaching and doing research, at New College of Florida, Lake Forest College, Chestnut Hill College, and West Chester University. More recently he serves as the director of research and chief compliance officer for the Wedge Medical Center.

He is also a professional science fiction author, a lifetime member of SFWA, and in 2007 was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

He resides in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania USA, where he also maintains a post office box, the international headquarters of the KLI.

d'Armond Speers[edit]

Dr. d'Armond Speers is an American computational linguist and a member of the KLI.

He graduated from Georgetown University in the Spring of 2002. His dissertation topic was "Representation of American Sign Language for Machine Translation".[3]

Speers is known for having undertaken the endeavor to raise his child bilingually in English and Klingon; Speers spoke in Klingon and his wife in English.[4] A few years into his life, the child began rejecting Klingon and gravitating towards English, as he could use English with many more speakers. At the time of Speers' attempt, Klingon even lacked words for many objects common around the house, such as "table". The experiment ultimately failed when the child refused to use Klingon when he got older,[5] and Speers abandoned the project in 1997.


  • HolQeD, the quarterly journal of the KLI containing grammatical discussions, new Klingon words, Klingon literature as well as internal information for the members. [Ceased publication ca. 2003]
  • A Pictorial Guide to the Verbal Suffixes of tlhIngan Hol (1995, ISBN 0-9644345-0-4) [no longer available in printed form, but is available as an Ebook] A book with drawings explaining the use of different suffixes.
  • ghIlghameS (2000, ISBN 1-58715-338-6). The Klingon version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Roger Cheesbro, with an introduction by Lawrence M. Schoen.
  • The Klingon Hamlet (full title: The Tragedy of Khamlet, Son of the Emperor of Qo'noS) The Klingon translation of Shakespeare's most famous work, translated by Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader supported by the KLI. This project was initiated after the Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) stated in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, "You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon." The KLI printed and published a limited edition hardback version in 1996, entitled Hamlet Prince of Denmark: The Restored Klingon Version (ISBN 0-9644345-1-2). Star Trek publisher Pocket Books published the work as a trade paperback (ISBN 0-671-03578-9) in 2000.
  • Much Ado about Nothing in Klingon (2003, ISBN 1-58715-501-X). Translated by Nick Nicholas.
  • From the Grammarian's Desk (ISBN 0-9644345-3-9) [no longer available] A collection of grammatical wisdom from the HolQeD column by Captain Krankor, the first grammarian of the KLI.
  • Tao Te Ching (2008). A Klingon translation and a new English translation of Lao Tzu's classic, by Agnieszka Solska, published as a trade paperback (ISBN 978-09644345-5-4) and a hardcover version (ISBN 978-09644345-2-3).
  • Sunzi's Art of War (2018). A Klingon translation and a new English translation of the Chinese classic, by Agnieszka Solska, published as print on demand (ISBN 096443458X) and ISBN 978-0964434585).


Having some of the most experienced Klingon speakers, the KLI is often contacted for or involved in translations before they are published. This work may include reviews or even complete translation work.

  • Star Trek: Klingons - "Blood Will Tell"
The production of the comic publisher IDW was translated by KLI members Roger Cheesbro, Chris Lipscombe, and Jeremy Cowan.
The Klingon version of the board game Monopoly was translated by Marc Okrand and the KLI.
  • paq'batlh (2011)
The book for the opera ʼuʼ was reviewed before publication.
A book about a Klingon space ship was reviewed before publication.
  • How to Speak Klingon (2013)
This audio phrase book with Klingon daily-use sentences was translated by the KLI and the audio samples were spoken by its director, Lawrence M. Schoen.
This rock song written by Jason Charles Miller and sung by Mary Chieffo, (who played L'Rell in Star Trek: Discovery) was translated by KLI members, primarily Chris Lipscombe.


External links[edit]