LETTER: Klingon is a language worthy of intellectual study

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The Independent Online
ROB ADAM (Letters, 3 December) would be right to be indignant about a student studying Klingon at the taxpayers' expense - if that was what was actually happening. However, the facts of the case are different.

There is no provision for teaching Klingon at this university. The student in question is studying French, Italian and Linguistics in our BA Applied Languages programme. She is a fan of Star Trek and has been studying Klingon in her own time and at her own expense. This seems to me an intellectually demanding and perfectly respectable hobby.

The student has been thinking about using Klingon as the basis for study in her final dissertation, which ams to test theories about how language works. She has not made an application to her tutors to carry out her study on Klingon. If she does, her proposal will be considered on its merits.

My own view is that in principle the testing of linguistic theory can be carried out on any language data, including artificial ones. All that is required is that the data subject be a language. If Klingon can be demonstrated to be a language, then it is a legitimate subject of linguistic study and research.

Dr David Cubitt

Head of School of Languages, University of Portsmouth

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