Created By: Jordan on November 20, 2012 Last Edited By: StarSword on February 3, 2015
Troped

Nerds Speak Klingon

Nerds being fluent in a Conlang (usually Elvish or Klingon)

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Robert Miller: Hab SoSli’ quch!
Timothy McGee: Boss, he just said your mother has a smooth forehead. It's a Klingon insult.
Tony DiNozzo: You speak Klingon?
McGee: Not fluently, but yes.
— "Witch Hunt", NCIS

Works of fiction by creators talented in linguistics often include constructed languages, or Con Langs, complete enough that it's possible to learn the language in real life. In fiction this is typically a trait reserved for the Hollywood Nerd.

Due to Small Reference Pools it's rare in fiction to see Con Langs other than Star Trek's tlhIngan Hol (the Klingon language developed by Marc Okrand) or the Elvish tongues Sindarin and Quenya from Tolkien's Legendarium, although due to the success in The New Tens of HBO's Game of Thrones TV series, Dothraki from A Song of Ice and Fire has recently gained prominence.

Truth in Television, though it takes a particular kind of fan to actually pull it off: you need to not only have knowledge of the work, but good foreign language skills.

See also Gratuitous Foreign Language. May cross over with Pardon My Klingon if what is said shouldn't be translated in polite company.

Note to editors. For the more obscure Con Langs out there, please state the work the language originates from.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • A Verizon ad showing people with, erm, nonstandard ways to answer the phone had a clip of a pair of rather pudgy Klingon cosplayers answering in tlhIngan Hol.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 17 Again: The wealthy but nerdy Ned tries several lavish schemes to win over the heart of the principal, but all fail. He finally captures her heart when he speaks Elvish to her... and she replies in the same way.
  • One of the kids in Daddy Day Care inexplicably only speaks in Klingon, fortunately they meet a nerd and hire him to translate.
  • Fanboys: The main characters run across a group of Trekkies and then try to start a fight with them.
    Hutch: What's the Klingon for "I'm going to die a virgin"?
    Admiral Seasholtz: (Replies in fluent Klingon before he catches himself and yells an expletive.)
  • Garden State: Mark is displeased to see that his mother has a new boyfriend, Tim. It doesn’t help that he wears knight armour and speaks Klingon. The best part is that Tim was played by Jim Parsons AKA Sheldon.
    Mark's Mom: Don't be shy, Tim, tell them what you said to me last night.
    Tim: No...
    Mark: Tell us what you said to her last night!
    Tim: (Speaks Klingon)
    Mark: You have got to be kidding me.
    Mark's Mom: It means "I like to mate after battle."
    Tim: That isn't what I said.
    Mark's Mom: Yeah...
    Tim: NO, that isn't the one I said! This one means "Kill Kirk".... and also, "hallelujah", depending on the context...
  • Graeme and Clive from Paul are sci-fi geeks making a pilgrimage across America to UFO sites and comic conventions, naturally they both speak Klingon. It becomes a Chekhov's Skill when Clive uses it to tell Graeme to punch the unsuspecting Big Guy.
    Paul: (After Clive wakes up and tries to choke him) Was that Klingon? You psychotic nerd!
  • The Spy Next Door: While snooping around on Bob's computer, Ian finds some interesting files.
    Ian: Farren, do you realize what this is?
    Farren: It's got you all worked up. Let me guess, a Klingon dictionary?
    Ian: You have me confused with an entirely different class of geek.

    Literature 
  • In Moon Over Soho, Peter puts a copy of a Tolkien-Elvish phrase he'd found on a magical booby-trap on the Internet and asks for a translation. LotR fans quickly come up with the English version, which says that whoever is reading it is both a nerd and lucky not to have been killed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A frequent joke in The Big Bang Theory.
    • "The Bad Fish Paradigm": Sheldon asks Penny a few questions about her compatibility with Leonard and one of them is "Do you speak Klingon?"
    • The episode, "The Panty Pinata Polarization" starts with the guys playing a game of Klingon Boggle.
      Sheldon: Excuse me, Penny, but we’re…
      Leonard: No, no, don’t tell her.
      Sheldon: …playing Klingon Boggle.
      Leonard: Aw!
      Howard': What do you mean, aw? Like she didn’t know we were nerds?
    • "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary": Howard says he speaks six languages if you count Klingon, Leonard and Penny agree that "Girls don't count Klingon". Later, after Sheldon wins a game in a Mystic Warlords of Ka'a tournament, he shouts at Wil Wheaton in Klingon.
      Wil: Did that guy just say 'Revenge is a dish best served cold' in Klingon?
      Stuart: I believe so.
      Wil: What is wrong with him?
      Stuart: Everyone has a different theory.
    • "The Vacation Solution" Penny thinks that Bernadette has talked Howard out of having their wedding invitations in Klingon, but Bernadette tells her that the Klingon text is on the back.
    • "The Hawking Excitation": Howard tells Sheldon no in several languages, including Klingon and Binary coded Ascii.
    • "The Countdown Reflection": Sheldon keeps trying to preform his part of the wedding ceremony in Klingon.
      Bernadette: Sheldon! I told you no Klingon!
    • In "The Romance Resonance", Howard sings to Bernadette and on of the things he lists that he would do without her is "speak a lot more Klingon".
    • "The Proton Transmogrification": While attending a funeral, Penny and Leonard both get pensive about dying and any regrets they might have.
      Penny: What would you regret?
      Leonard: Mm, you know, that I didn't travel more, take more risks, learn another language.
      Penny: You know Klingon.
      Leonard: That's true.
      Penny: No, I meant that as a regret.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Seeing Red", Buffy finds a bunch of documents in the lair of the nerdy Trio. Willow and Tara are not able to all decipher all the documents, but Xander recognises it on sight.
    Xander: It's Klingon. They're love poems. Which has nothing to do with the insidious scheme you're about to describe.
  • Chuck: In "Chuck vs. the Nemesis", Bryce gets Chuck to speak some Klingon to verify that it is actually him.
  • Farscape: John is not your typical Hollywood Nerd but he is still a brilliant engineer and astrophysicist, and in "Crichton Kicks" he shouts some Klingon at the aliens attacking the ship.
  • In the Frasier episode "Star Mitzvah", Frasier's son Frederick is about to have his bar mitzvah, and Frasier wants to give him a speech in Hebrew. Since Frasier doesn't know Hebrew, he asks his co-worker Noel, a stereotypical middle-aged nerd, to translate the speech. Noel agrees, but later on he gets angry with Frasier when Frasier fails to get him the signature of Scott Bakula, the actor playing Captain Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise. Noel retaliates by translating the bar mitzvah speech into Klingon, a language which he apparently knows well, but which Frasier can't distinguish from Hebrew. Hilarity Ensues.
  • How I Met Your Mother
    • "The Duel": Robin goes on date with a nerdy guy to prove a point to Barney. After it starts to go bad, she gets a phone call about Lily being in hospital. The nerd believes that it is a fake call to get her out of the date and insults her in Klingon.
    • In the "Double Date" episode, Marshall (a huge fan of Star Wars, along with the rest of the male cast) expressed interest in finding a Wookiee-to-English dictionary (or even just an everyday phrasebook). While wearing a Wookiee costume en route to a Wookiee convention.
  • NCIS: McGee is portrayed as a Hollywood Nerd and in "Witch Hunt", he translates when a guy wearing a costume for Halloween will only speak Klingon. Gibbs just gets annoyed and shoves the guy against the wall.
  • The Office (US) "Andy's Ancestry": When Erin starts learning a language to impress Andy's family, Dwight convinces her to stop learning French and start learning Dothraki under his tutelage. She doesn't realise that it is a Con Lang and is dejected when Andy tells her that she was doing something he considers so nerdy. Pete gives her a Dothraki farewell at the end, another hint of his crush on her.
    Erin: I'm learning how to speak Dothraki! Color you impressed?
    Andy: That you’re learning a made-up language from HBO’s Game of Thrones? I have a lot going on today...but this was a great nerd-out!
    Erin: Dwight, you didn't tell me you were teaching me a fake language.
    Dwight: People laughed at Klingon at first, and now you can major in it.
  • Hollywood Nerd Ben Wyatt on Parks and Recreation speaks Dothraki.
  • Leverage: In "The Nigerian Job", Elliot is posing as a geeky IT technician. When the secretary he is distracting comments on how strong he is, he says he works out because he likes to go to conventions as a Klingon. He then says something to her in Klingon, which she replies to.

    Music 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Foxtrot: At a showing of a Star Trek movie, Jason (in Klingon costume) demands fresh gagh from the beleaguered movie worker. Another strip has him ask Peter to check whether he's memorized the Klingon-English dictionary.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In "All About Steve", Stan hunts down a domestic terrorist hacker who sends taunting messages that the CIA cannot decipher. Snot recognizes the writing as Elvish and sure enough, the hacker turns out to be a nerdy LotR fan.
    They're doing a Klingon wedding, followed by a Klingon divorce.
    Rok-pra!
    You said it! Get a prenup.
  • The Cleveland Show "Love Rollercoaster": When a trio of nerds mock Junior's model rocket entry in the Science Fair, he asks them what their entry is. The lead nerd tells him that they "translated Monty Python and the Holy Grail into Klingon, and we're going to do a shot-for-shot, Stop Motion remake using vintage, new-in-box, eight-inch, Mego DC Comics action figures", combining a lot nerd stereotypes into one.
    Trio: (High five each other) Nerds!
  • The Simpsons
    • "Three Men and a Comic Book": Comic Book Guy mentions that he has a Masters in Folklore and Mythology, part of which involved translating The Lord of the Rings into Klingon.
    • "Worst Episode Ever":After he gets thrown out of Moes, Comic Book Guy ask himself "Is there a word in Klingon for loneliness?", looks in his pocket dictionary. "oh, yes. Garr'dock!".
    • "My Big Fat Geek Wedding": When Comic Book Guy tries to get married to Edna Krabappel it is conducted in Klingon; apparently the guests (sci-fi convention attendees) can all understand it.
      Comic Book Guy: Edna, the Klingons have a romantic saying. (speaks Klingon) Roughly translated it means I would kill the children of a thousand planets just to see you smile.
      Edna: Oh, that is the most romantic thing I've ever heard. Which is kinda sad if you think about it.
    • "Moms I'd Like to Forget"
      Comic Book Guy: The answer is no, and I can say it in Na'vi and Klingon, which are pretty much the same. I have some theories about that, which I will share with you never.

Indexes: Indexed and Nerdy, Language Tropes, Stereotype

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • November 20, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Film
    • One of the kids in Daddy Day Care inexplicably only speaks in Klingon, fortunately they meet a nerd and hire him to translate.
  • November 20, 2012
    SharleeD
    • In Moon Over Soho, Peter puts a copy of a Tolkien-elvish phrase he'd found on a magical booby-trap on the Internet and asks for a translation. LotR fans quickly come up with the English version, which says that whoever is reading it is both a nerd and lucky not to have been killed.
  • November 20, 2012
    Xtifr
    • A frequent joke in The Big Bang Theory. For example, Howard tried to have his own wedding ceremony be done in Klingon until the bride put her foot down.
  • November 21, 2012
    Koveras
  • November 21, 2012
    Tuomas
    • In the Frasier episode "Star Mitzvah", Frasier's son Frederick is about to have his bar mitzvah, and Frasier wants to give him a speech in Hebrew. Since Frasier doesn't know Hebrew, he asks his co-worker Noel, a stereotypical middle-aged nerd, to translate the speech. Noel agrees, but later on he gets angry with Frasier when Frasier fails to get him the signature of Scott Bakula, the actor playing Captain Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise. Noel retaliates by translating the bar mitzvah speech into Klingon, a language which he apparently knows well, but which Frasier can't distinguish from Hebrew. Hilarity Ensues.
  • November 21, 2012
    mdulwich
    Regarding the example from The Simpsons: Comic Book Guy once mentioned that he has a Masters in Folklore and Mythology, part of which involved translating The Lord Of The Rings into Klingon. His (cancelled) wedding to Edna Krabappel is conducted in Klingon; apparently the guests (sci-fi convention attendees) can all understand it.
  • November 21, 2012
    Jordan
    ^Thanks. I also seem to remember an episode where he did a Skyward Scream in Klingon. Do you know the context of that by any chance?
  • November 21, 2012
    m8e
    ^It's the Worst Episode Ever. S 12 E 11

    He gets thrown out of moes. He ask himself "Is there a word in klingon for loneliness?", looks in his pocket dictionary. "oh, yes. Garr'dock!".
  • November 21, 2012
    Jordan
    Thanks.
  • November 21, 2012
    Waterlily
    The Frasier episode also has a nerdy kid at the Bar Mitzvah recognize the fact that Frasier is speaking Klingon instead of Hebrew.
  • May 20, 2014
    DAN004
    Would internerds speaking in interwebs slang count here?
  • May 20, 2014
    Larkmarn
    • In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall (a huge fan of Star Wars, along with the rest of the male cast) expressed interest in finding a Wookie-to-English dictionary (or even just an everyday phrasebook). While wearing a wookie costume en route to a Wookie convention.
  • May 20, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In an early episode of The Big Bang Theory the guys are playing Klingon Boggle, which Leonard doesn't want Howard to tell Penny. "What, she doesn't know we're nerds?"
  • May 20, 2014
    lakingsif
    ^ Another TBBT example: one of the conditions put forth for a good girlfriend is speaking Klingon.
  • May 20, 2014
    Chabal2
    Foxtrot: At a showing of a Star Trek movie, Jason (in Klingon costume) demands fresh gagh from the beleaguered movie worker. Another strip has him ask Peter to check whether he's memorized the Klingon-English dictionary.
  • May 26, 2014
    zarpaulus
  • May 26, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    Does this count?

  • January 30, 2015
    jormis29
    • Examples section formatting
      • Spelling mentiones —> mentions
      • Namespaced actor name.

    Up For Grabs
  • January 30, 2015
    StarSword
    Fixed spelling of some written Klingon.

    (I can write it if I work at it but I can't speak it.)
  • January 31, 2015
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Corrected spelling (astrophysist, tp, saing).
      • Capitalized (wookie, klingon).
  • January 31, 2015
    randomsurfer
    re The Office and Parks and Recreation - what is the original work that "Dothraki" from? (EDOIT: Oh, based on the Office quote I guess it's from Game of Thrones.)

    More generally, you may want to include referencing the original works for all the con langs mentioned on this page at least once. Not everyone has even heard of Klingon, let alone some of the more obscure langs.
  • February 1, 2015
    foxley
    • Leverage: In "The Nigerian Job", Elliot is posing as a geeky IT technician. When the secretary he is distracting comments on how strong he is, he says he works out because he likes to go to conventions as a Klingon. He then says something to her in Klingon, which she replies to.
  • February 1, 2015
    DAN004
    Perhaps name this Nerds Speak Conlang?
  • February 2, 2015
    paycheckgurl
    ^ Isn't Klingon a better known word than Conlang though? And it follows the pattern of Pardon My Klingon (which btw should be mentioned In the description as "not to be confused with")
  • February 2, 2015
    StarSword
    ^^Pardon My Klingon doesn't seem to have any problems with people thinking it just refers to tlhIngan Hol; neither does this one. I'm inclined to keep it as-is.
  • February 2, 2015
    DAN004
    Dunno, I have little knowledge of Star Trek (not living in America and all) although I guess that show is really influential to you guys.

    Maybe just gonna use Nerds Speak Conlang as redirect.
  • February 2, 2015
    StarSword
    ^Fine by me; Redirects Are Free.
  • February 3, 2015
    StarSword
    3 2 1 blastoff
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