Klingon originally uploaded by ZoeARP via Flickr

Klingons are a race of nasty aliens in the original Star Trek TV show. They became good aliens by the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The fact that their physical appearance changed over time was explained in 2005 with the literary device of ‘retroactive continuity.’¹

In 2002, the Oxford English Dictionary included the word Klingon (along with Jedi from Star Wars) in both its complete and Shorter dictionaries. The following definition is from the OED:

A member of a fictional humanoid alien race featuring in the U.S. television series Star Trek and in subsequent associated series, films, publications, etc.

The OED also rightly points out that Klingon has another meaning, that of an actual language, created for the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) by Dr Marc Okrand.

Although not in common use, the Klingon language is learned and spoken by die hard Star Trek fans, known as Trekkies. Learning is facilitated via instructional audio tapes such as “Conversational Klingon.”

¹ “A canonical explanation for the change was given in a two-part storyline on Star Trek: Enterprise. The two episodes, “Affliction” and “Divergence“, aired in February 2005.” (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klingon#Explanation_and_theories).

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