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. 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] At this conference, an annual $500 scholarship is bestowed upon an undergraduate or graduate linguistics student. The KLI is running several projects, including the translation into Klingon 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 named 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 talk about Klingon and in Klingon in a school-like style, with lessons, lectures and exercises. It is usually at a professional level and cannot be compared to a standard science fiction convention. Parallel to this annual meeting, many members of the KLI also organize their own "small meetings", in Klingon called qepHom, which are informal and local small 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 at theaters few years after.


The director of the KLI is its founder Lawrence M. Schoen, Ph.D.

At intervals ranging from three to eighteen months, a Beginners' Grammarian is elected among the most experienced speakers. His duty is to help teach the beginners of the Klingon language, especially in the Klingon email discussion group, which is also accessible for non-members. When his duty is over, he keeps his title of Grammarian. The KLI has about 20 of those former Beginners' Grammarians.

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 this occasion, he receives a wishlist of requests for missing Klingon vocabulary, which he frequently answers. These new words are first published in HolQeD, and then on the KLI's website.

Notable speakers[edit]

Some Klingonists have gained relative notoriety for various accomplishments. The KLI can award the title Friend of Maltz to a Klingonist who has furthered the language in various ways.

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), and "yIH bom" (music).

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.

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). With only two exceptions, he has been the organizer of the KLI's annual summer conference, or qepʼaʼ.

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.


  • 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.


Having some of the most experienced Klingon speakers, the KLI is often contacted for or involved in translations before these 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 the KLI.
The Klingon version of 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.


External links[edit]