Klingon as a first language

A linguist father spoke only Klingon to his child for his first three years,

“I was interested in the question of whether my son, going through his first language acquisition process, would acquire it like any human language,” (d’Armond) Speers told the Minnesota Daily. “He was definitely starting to learn it.”

Speers “gets nostalgic when he recalls singing the Klingon lullaby ‘May the Empire Endure’ with his son at bedtime,” but “the experiment was a dud. His son is now in high school and doesn’t speak a word of Klingon.”

Too bad. What’s the Klingon for “lousy dad”?

Via BoingBoing.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. “What is Klingon for “lousy dad…”

    I believe it’s “DooshBaaGG”

  2. P.S. Where was Mom during those three years? DooshettBaaGG?

  3. Um, isn’t there some kind of ethical stricture on using your own kid in psychological experimentation?

  4. Did the students have any speech impediments or learning disabilities as a result of it? Is it alright if the kid turned out just fine? Maybe the kid picked up a knack for acquiring foreign languages because of it.

    Also, it might be important to point out that a lot of famous child-psychology studies came out of psychologists experimenting with their own children.

  5. Bilingual children are usually slightly delayed in language acquisition, but catch up by kindergarten.

  6. Oh come on. Apply any handy credibility test.

  7. “P.S. Where was Mom during those three years? DooshettBaaGG?”

    Er, no. I don’t think it was mentioned in the linked article, but the father has said elsewhere that the mother spoke English to the child, while the father was the one speaking Klingon.

    I think if the guy wanted to go the route of teaching his kid a man-made language, he would have been better served with using Tolkien’s Elvish, which is better developed than Klingon.

  8. Cardinal Fang says:

    Now that I know the child had plenty of exposure to a normal human language too, I wonder more about this experiment. Why didn’t the kid end up competent in Klingon at age 3? Most children who grow up bilingual can manage in both languages at that age. Obviously they aren’t chattering about nuclear physics or postmodernism, but they normally can talk about the things 3-year-olds talk about, in either language.

  9. “Why didn’t the kid end up competent in Klingon at age 3? Most children who grow up bilingual can manage in both languages at that age. Obviously they aren’t chattering about nuclear physics or postmodernism, but they normally can talk about the things 3-year-olds talk about, in either language.”

    Possibly because his father was the only one speaking Klingon to him, making it a much less ‘useful’ language to the 3-year-old. A lot of child language development hinges on the child’s surroundings. If most people around you speak English, you’re going to pick that up, even if one parent is hell-bent on teaching you something else. IIRC, the dad said that at the age of four or five, his kid refused to speak one more word of Klingon. Maybe the kid subconsciously realized that English was a lot more useful and didn’t want to bother with the ‘other’ one anymore.

  10. I wonder if the failure to adopt Klingon is due to it being an artificial language. Even English, as horribly complex as it is, shares roots that are thousands of years old with every other language.

  11. Klingon is difficult, but Esperanto is worldwide. And easy, of course :)

    As in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2LPVcsL2k0

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by kriley19 and PostRank – Education, JoanneLeeJacobs. JoanneLeeJacobs said: Klingon as a first language: Is it OK to experiment on your kid? http://www.joannejacobs.com/2009/11/klingon-as-a-first-language/ [...]

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by kriley19: Joanne Jacobs: Klingon as a first language http://bit.ly/3R5w6S Full http://bit.ly/6G7Ap