Marc Okrand

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Marc Okrand
Marc Okrand.jpg
Okrand in Leipzig in 2008
Born (1948-07-03) July 3, 1948 (age 69)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Linguist
Known for Creating Klingon and Atlantean
Academic background
Education
Thesis Mutsun Grammar (1977)
Doctoral advisor Mary Haas

Marc Okrand (/ˈkrænd/; born July 3, 1948) is an American linguist. His professional work is in Native American languages, and he is well known as the creator of the Klingon language in the Star Trek science fiction franchise.

Biography[edit]

Linguistics[edit]

Okrand worked with Native American languages. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1970. His 1977 doctoral dissertation from the University of California, Berkeley, was on the grammar of Mutsun, a dialect of Ohlone (a.k.a. Southern Costanoan), which is an extinct Utian language formerly spoken in the north central Californian coastal areas from Northern Costanoan down to 30 miles south of Salinas (his dissertation was supervised by pioneering linguist Mary Haas). He taught undergraduate linguistics courses at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1975 to 1978, before taking a post doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., in 1978.[1] In 2001, Okrand created the Atlantean language for the Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

After that, Okrand took a job at the National Captioning Institute, where he worked on the first closed-captioning system for hearing-impaired television viewers. Until his retirement in 2013, Okrand served as one of the directors for Live Captioning at the National Captioning Institute and as President of the board of directors of WSC Avant Bard (formerly the Washington Shakespeare Company) in Arlington, Virginia. The WSC planned to stage "an evening of Shakespeare in Klingon" in 2010.[2][3]

Star Trek[edit]

While coordinating closed captioning for the Oscars award show in 1982, Okrand met the producer for the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.[1] His first work was dubbing in Vulcan language dialogue for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, since the actors had already been filmed talking in English. He was then hired by Paramount Pictures to develop the Klingon language and coach the actors using it in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He was later also hired for the 2009 Star Trek film in their use of the Romulan and Vulcan languages.[4] He also created a Klingon dialogue for the 2009 movie, but the scenes were cut from the movie.[5] He was also involved in Star Trek Into Darkness, but only during post-production.[5]

Okrand is the author of three books about Klingon – The Klingon Dictionary (first published 1985, revised enlarged edition 1992), The Klingon Way (1996) and Klingon for the Galactic Traveler (1997), as well as two audio-courses: Conversational Klingon (1992) and Power Klingon (1993). He has also co-authored the libretto of an opera in the Klingon language: ’u’, debuting at The Hague in September 2010. The tlh sound that he incorporated into Klingon, unusual to speakers of North American English, is common in other English dialects, and North and Central American indigenous languages, in which it is usually transcribed as tl, or ƛ (a voiceless alveolar affricate with lateral release); this is the sound at the end of the word "Nahuatl". He speaks Klingon, but notes that others have attained greater fluency.[6]

References[edit]

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