Which Star Trek Actor Is Responsible For Inventing The Klingon Language?
Answer: James Doohan
Not only was James Doohan, best known for his role as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, a clever fellow in his on-screen role as the the Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise, but he was also a thoroughly clever gentleman off-screen too. In the early years of the Star Trek universe, those of the Klingon race were portrayed speaking English without a hint of a native language to be seen.
That changed with the filming of Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture. Doohan, not just a talented television actor, but also an accomplished voice actor, created dialogue for the Klingons in the harsh and guttural sounding language fans now recognize as Klingon. Doohan’s efforts were just the start of the fictional language however. By the time the third Star Trek movie came along in 1984, the director, none other than Leonard Nimoy himself, wanted the Klingons to speak a reproducible language with its own syntax and constructions. Marc Okrand, the individual who had originally studied and transcribed Doohan’s initial Klingon creations, further expanded Doohan’s work, and the basis for what would go on to be an obscure but legitimate language was born.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.