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"Klingon Language Interpreter" Urban Legend

By Seth Finkelstein in Media
Sun May 11, 2003 at 03:12:23 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

Every once in a while, in order to remind myself of the quality of information typically reported, I trace down the source of a particularly ridiculous story. The "Klingon Language Interpreter" myth, which is spawning now, provides an amusing case study of the process of pack journalism.


We begin with the original story source, credited to Steve Woodward of The Oregonian, entitled "If you need someone to Klingon. . ."(sic). The need for a "Klingon interpreter" is presented as an obviously humorous purchasing request. It's a procedural joke arising from the "Klingon language". That is, on a lark, purchasing officials in Multnomah County, Oregon, decided to make sure that Klingon-language interpreters could be paid by the county, just in case there ever was a need for one. So Klingon was granted official status as a language for the purpose of hiring an interpreter, on par with obscure foreign languages.

In the original article, it's very clear nobody every seriously expected to procure the services of a Klingon interpreter:

The county would pay a Klingon interpreter only in the unlikely case he or she was actually called into service.

"We said, 'What the heck, let's throw it in,' " Jelusich says. "It doesn't cost us any money."

And the humorous aspect was emphasized:

The county's purchasing administrator, Franna Hathaway, greeted the request with initial skepticism. "I questioned it myself when it first came in. "

But, she adds, "There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak."

Jelusich says that in reality, no patient has yet tried to communicate in Klingon. But the possibility that a patient could believe himself or herself to be a Klingon doesn't seem so far-fetched.

"I've got people who think they're Napoleon," he says.

And "Elvish" was suggested as the next language to be added.

So far, very funny. Very much along the lines of Klingon Google.

Then the article entered the media echo-chamber of stories-too-good-to-check (or even sanity-check). A joke about Klingon-speaking mental patients was transmuted into a story implying nonsensical bureaucratic requirements, the sort of rabble-rousing fiction one would expect to hear from ranting right-wing talk-radio.

An unbylined AP story carefully excised all context which would convey the just-joking aspect. Compare the AP version to the Oregonian version.

The AP headline, "Oregon County Seeks Klingon Interpreter" makes it sound as if a staff position is being offered. Then this impression is reinforced by using the quote "We have to provide information in all the languages our clients speak," as if it were an earnest indication of a legal requirement, not a deadpan joke. The second quote concerning "this was all they would speak", is similarly used as if it were serious. All material indicating only-kidding-folks has been deleted in the AP rewrite: "County officials said that obligates them to respond with a Klingon-English interpreter, ..."

And from there, we're off, echoing away. From Newsday or CNN to other sites, and then to uncounted blogs.

A new Urban Legend is born.

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The most reliable information is on:
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Votes: 134
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"Klingon Language Interpreter" Urban Legend | 114 comments (100 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
This is funny as hell. (4.25 / 4) (#2)
by i on Sun May 11, 2003 at 07:50:08 AM EST

But you know, prophecies can be self-fulfilling. All you need is an Oregonian who speaks some Klingon, has a good sense of humour, and (optionally :) is in need of some mental services.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

I think... (4.79 / 24) (#8)
by enterfornone on Sun May 11, 2003 at 10:31:30 AM EST

anyone who is fluent in Klingon is in need of some mental health services based on that fact alone.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Yeah (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by KnightStalker on Sun May 11, 2003 at 10:35:09 PM EST

There's no shortage of Oregonians who meet these criteria.

[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 0) (#65)
by terpy on Mon May 12, 2003 at 04:23:50 PM EST

I'm an Oregonian, with a good sense of humour and quite possibly a need for mental services, but no working knowledge of Klingon. Perhaps there's a klingon language club around here I can join..

----
"We should make a movie. Terpy vs. Popups, and the popups should bleed. A lot."-Parent ]

I wouldn't know (none / 0) (#69)
by KnightStalker on Mon May 12, 2003 at 04:57:06 PM EST

But you meet some strange people at college. There were at least two people at the school I went to who insisted on injecting Klingon into their normal conversations. Looking back, I think they were among the group that didn't really graduate.

[ Parent ]
but... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by puppet10 on Mon May 12, 2003 at 11:13:07 PM EST

I think they were among the group that didn't really graduate.

at least they learned a useful skill ;)

[ Parent ]

Tell that to (none / 0) (#64)
by Skywise on Mon May 12, 2003 at 04:14:04 PM EST

Marc Okrand

[ Parent ]
I thought even the AP story was funny (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by samiam on Sun May 11, 2003 at 03:24:52 PM EST

I thought even the AP story was funny.

That said, I think it is unfortunate that someone's head is going to roll for what was, basically, a harmless joke.

It is interesting; even some linguists (such as my university's expert on syntax) feel that any man-made language is not a "real" language.

I personally think Esperanto is interesting for Linguists to study, since Esperanto was developed before modern understanding of syntax and phonology existed. For example we can look to see how this language has developed a syntax, even though Zamenhof did not really sepcify one in his language. For example, Esperanto is a SVO (generally head-final) language, something Zamenhof never specified.

- Sam

real languages (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by psicE on Sun May 11, 2003 at 04:00:10 PM EST

One does not study languages because they want to determine what is the "best". Rather, one analyzes those languages in the context of the society that created it. One can learn a lot about the French and the Germans by comparing French and German. Or one can learn a lot about how the brain itself works.

Man-made languages are certainly cool, but by virtue of the fact that they were designed, there is no society which can be analyzed through the language.

In Esperanto's case, it might be interesting to study precisely because Zamenhof did not design certain aspects of the language, but rather let them evolve. Still, given limited time, I'd rather study a language with thousands or millions of native speakers than one with 200. (If you raise your kid to speak Esperanto as their native language, is that considered child abuse?)

[ Parent ]

Esperanto isn't as much fun as Klingon (5.00 / 3) (#20)
by J T MacLeod on Sun May 11, 2003 at 04:44:55 PM EST

The very point of Esperanto is that there are no (or very few, now) native speakers.  

Thus the point of auxillary language.  

If you've no grounding in other foreign languages, a concerted study of Esperanto, it being as regular as it is, has proven in several classroom environments to be beneficial enough to make up for the time lost in learning other languages.  (ie, One class spends two years learning French, the other spends one year on Esperanto and another on French, and both, on average, have about the same proficiency in French)

The important thing is that the non-native speakers of Esperanto tend to speak and write it darned well.  It's amazing the rapport two people can have when they've both put the same effort into understanding each other.  This wasn't one of the points of Esperanto (as any succesful auxillary language will eventually be taught to infants, natively), but it is an interesting side-effect.  

Child abuse?  Cute  ;)
But I suppose that a concerted effort learning something that is for the effort of bettering the world, and knowing it, might have a good effect on a child.  

[ Parent ]

Read the parent (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by psicE on Sun May 11, 2003 at 04:53:56 PM EST

I'm all for Esperanto as an auxiliary language. (I'm learning it.) It has simple grammar, you can become fluent in virtually no time, et cetera.

The post to which I replied, however, was talking about the value of such languages in terms of linguistics. While Esperanto is extremely well suited to its intended uses, I'm not quite sure how much linguistic value there is in studying such a language.

[ Parent ]

Jes, mi legis gxin. (1.00 / 1) (#24)
by J T MacLeod on Sun May 11, 2003 at 06:01:41 PM EST

...sed vi ne diris ke vi lernas la lingvo.  

Sxajnis ke vi implicis malo.  Nur estas miskompreno.  Ne damagxigxis!  :)

(Forgivu min de mia malbona parolado.)

[ Parent ]

Amikoj! (none / 0) (#37)
by coljac on Sun May 11, 2003 at 10:44:11 PM EST

Cxu mi povas membrigxi la k5 Esperantoklubo? La lingvo placxegas al mi. Ni vere estas samideanoj, ne?

- Kolino



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey
[ Parent ]

Vi diras veron? (none / 0) (#52)
by J T MacLeod on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:54:52 PM EST

Cxu ekzistas k5-klubo de Esperanto?  

Kie?  :)

[ Parent ]

Mi supozas (none / 0) (#59)
by coljac on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:18:24 PM EST

... ke gxi existas cxi-tie, nun. :) Bonvenon!

Amike,

Kolino



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey
[ Parent ]

Uxu-hu! (none / 0) (#75)
by brion on Mon May 12, 2003 at 06:42:04 PM EST

Ĉu mi rajtas aboni? :)

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
"Mi ankaux" (none / 0) (#77)
by coljac on Mon May 12, 2003 at 07:36:38 PM EST

Mi trovas vian teorojn interesega kaj desiras aboni al via novajxojletero.



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey
[ Parent ]

-1 Vi forgesis la akuzativon! (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by Viliam Bur on Mon May 12, 2003 at 10:18:44 AM EST

vi lernas la lingvon

OK, enough joking! However, could anyone make a K5 in esperanto? Would be fun! (www.kor0do.eo)

[ Parent ]

K5 in Esperanto already exists - Ĝangalo (4.50 / 2) (#43)
by amuzulo on Mon May 12, 2003 at 11:45:09 AM EST

Wouldn't you consider Ĝangalo to be pretty close to K5 in Esperanto? I guess the only difference is that it has a centralized editor (if I understand how Ĝangalo and K5 work), but it's still quite an amazing content portal.

As a side note, it might be interesting to some of you that I work as a full-time volunteer for TEJO (World Esperanto Youth Organization) and I know some people who have full-time salaried jobs working for (and in) Esperanto, so it is possible to have full-time work in a planned language. Also, I should also say that our website, is also in Klingon. Just pick "(kg) tIhIngan Hol" from the language list...



[ Parent ]
No. (none / 0) (#100)
by Viliam Bur on Wed May 14, 2003 at 09:32:01 AM EST

G'angalo is more similar to hundreds of other websites than to K5.

What is missing?
* Interesting articles
* A lot of readers
* Comment voting
...is it necessary to continue?

Generally I think Esperanto pages are of low quality, except for Lernu!, which ich very very cool. I am not an advocate of Flash animations and stuff, but most of EO pages are just hyperlinked plain text.

And the content pretty often sucks: "16 language rules", "life of Zamenhof", "history of Esperanto", "123 reasons why Esperanto is better..." - little of what I did not read 100 times before. (It is so refreshing to read the Vola Pug after all this.)

And, on the hypothetical Esperanto K5, I would personally rate "0" every comment that focuses on the gramatical error instead of the topic being discussed - because these are the most boring (and sometimes, most frequent) comments, best reliable discussion-killers.

I should perhaps one day write a whole article about it... however I feel it would be voted down both by people who like and who do not like Esperanto. So perhaps, a Diary?

[ Parent ]

definitely an article (none / 0) (#113)
by amuzulo on Sat May 17, 2003 at 05:52:43 PM EST

I think you should write an article about it...

[ Parent ]
Ho! Estas vera! (none / 0) (#51)
by J T MacLeod on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:53:08 PM EST

Mi tute forgesis la akuzativon!

Dankon!  Mi ofte uzas la mallerta anglan lingvon.  Gxi dibocxigis min :)

Ankaux, mi uzis "-igxi" anstataux "-igi".  Forgivu min ;)

[ Parent ]

Huh (none / 0) (#55)
by Cro Magnon on Mon May 12, 2003 at 01:45:27 PM EST

How do you say "WTF" in Esperanto?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Probably (none / 0) (#98)
by Viliam Bur on Wed May 14, 2003 at 09:07:31 AM EST

"kia fiko"

[ Parent ]
Toki Pona (none / 0) (#33)
by pin0cchio on Sun May 11, 2003 at 09:57:11 PM EST

Child abuse? Cute ;)

It'd be even cuter but even more child-abusive to bring up children who speak Toki Pona, a language with only 120 words, as their first language.


lj65
[ Parent ]
I am strongly considering this... (4.50 / 2) (#66)
by MyrddinE on Mon May 12, 2003 at 04:43:38 PM EST

... not speaking it as a first, but as a strong auxiliary language. I like Toki Pona a lot, and I have considered the worth of teaching it to my pending child(ren). I think it would be an interesting gift to have my children know a simple yet complete language that they will never encounter another speaker of. A language that is private to our family, sounds cute, and is essentially indisciferable to outsiders.

A very interesting beginning to a family tradition, don't you think?

[ Parent ]

I checked out Toki Pona (none / 0) (#71)
by coljac on Mon May 12, 2003 at 05:51:52 PM EST

It is cute, and interesting, though useful mainly to illiterate island-dwellers.

I noticed that tokipona.org had lessons available that the yahoo group claims are "all wrong". That's not a good sign. :-/

toki pona li toki lili multe



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey
[ Parent ]

Sign language is useful for vertically challenged (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by Ricdude on Tue May 13, 2003 at 12:52:06 PM EST

I've been teaching my daughter (now 23 months) sign language, and it's amazing how fast she's picking it up.  Toddlers in particular have better gross motor skills than speech ability, and signing is a great way to teach them to communicate their needs to you.  

We started with a few basic need-oriented words  like "juice", "eat", "more", and "finished", and she now has a vocabulary of several dozen signs.  I haven't bothered to keep up with counting them, but she's picking up new signs as fast as I can learn them to teach her.

Not as "interesting" as teaching your child klingon, vulcan, or elvish, but much more practical when they need something, and their options are screaming until you figure out what they want, or waving their hand around in a funny shape.

[ Parent ]

Forget Esperanto (none / 0) (#107)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed May 14, 2003 at 05:00:30 PM EST

(ie, One class spends two years learning French, the other spends one year on Esperanto and another on French, and both, on average, have about the same proficiency in French)

Given the limited amount of foreign language proficiency that most people are able acquire in 2 years in a purely classroom-based setting, this is not terribly surprising. "Studies have shown that kids who study French for two years speak and understand it almost as badly as those who study one year each of French and Esperanto."

The important thing is that the non-native speakers of Esperanto tend to speak and write it darned well.

Nonsense. The standards for Esperanto proficiency are as artificially decreed as the language itself, instead as set by conventional usage. Given that Esperanto is a cult-like organization whose primary aim is to spread, their standards are set low so as to be convenient in hiring new adepts to the cult. For instance, by supporting this meaningless claim.

But I suppose that a concerted effort learning something that is for the effort of bettering the world

Nonsense. Esperanto is intellectual onanism by intellectually lazy people.

--em
[ Parent ]

To clarify (none / 0) (#34)
by samiam on Sun May 11, 2003 at 10:08:19 PM EST

I do not think we are disagreeing with anything there; I, however, think there is some confusion about what is being communicated.

One does not study languages because they want to determine what is the "best".

Oh, most definitely true. If I came off as saying to the contrary of this, apologies. In fact, prescriptive linguistics (the idea that there is such as thing as a perfect language or a perfect way of speaking a given language) has not been studied by any serious linguist for well over 100 years.

one analyzes those languages in the context of the society that created it.

Yes, this is very true, and this is what some linguistics do. In fact, my "history of the English Language" teacher is an expert on the historical context of the development of the English language. As you probably well know, English is more-or-less what you get when one takes German and French and puts the two languages in a blender.

That said, there certaintly is a lot more to linguistics than historical linguistics.

I'd rather study a language with thousands or millions of native speakers than one with 200

I think this is the only area where we disagree. There are a lot of very interesting creole languages out there, which are, in most cases, languages that no one spoke as a first tongue. One example is Jiwarli, a language in Austrailia which people used for trade and mostly speak as a second language.

- Sam

[ Parent ]

gah (none / 0) (#106)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed May 14, 2003 at 04:50:28 PM EST

As you probably well know, English is more-or-less what you get when one takes German and French and puts the two languages in a blender.

This is a terrible image, for the syntax of English is clearly Germanic (prenominal adjectives, extensive noun-noun compounding, etc.), and the French influence is in vocab. And it's still a bad image for the vocab, because the distribution of Norman and English words is far from random: as people frequently say, while 25% of English vocabulary is Germanic, those words account for 75% of usage.

There are a lot of very interesting creole languages out there, which are, in most cases, languages that no one spoke as a first tongue.

You're thinking of pidgins. Creoles by definition are the native language of some community.

--em
[ Parent ]

Child abuse (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by Wateshay on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:49:51 AM EST

I couldn't find a link, but I remember reading (a couple?) years ago about a couple who was arrested for child abuse because they were teaching their child to speak Klingon and nothing else.

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


[ Parent ]
Not so fast (none / 0) (#105)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed May 14, 2003 at 04:44:44 PM EST

Rather, one analyzes those languages in the context of the society that created it. One can learn a lot about the French and the Germans by comparing French and German.

Pray tell what cultural difference between the French and the Germans is illuminated by, say, the fact that German has verb-second main clauses and French doesn't. (Other than that fact itself, which of course can be seen as a cultural one.)

As much as I would like to agree with your statement, plenty of what core linguistics studies has not much more in the way of other consequences than that.

In Esperanto's case, it might be interesting to study precisely because Zamenhof did not design certain aspects of the language, but rather let them evolve.

You're giving the good old oculist Mr. Zamenhof too much credit. As if he at any moment decided that he would allow the syntax of Esperanto "evolve", instead of just being yet another clueless conlang designer who doesn't know his morphology from his morphosyntax from his syntax.

--em
[ Parent ]

man-made language (5.00 / 3) (#40)
by MartinS on Mon May 12, 2003 at 10:10:11 AM EST

It is interesting; even some linguists (such as my university's expert on syntax) feel that any man-made language is not a "real" language. Who does he think 'made' English, French, Spanish or Latin ?

[ Parent ]
Klingon is an extinct language (3.50 / 2) (#22)
by sinistar on Sun May 11, 2003 at 05:07:07 PM EST

It died with the Romulan empire.

You mean: (none / 0) (#23)
by Gully Foyle on Sun May 11, 2003 at 06:00:53 PM EST

Klingon is a dead language
As dead as dead can be
First it killed the Romulans
And now it's killing me.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

nitpicking your .sig (none / 0) (#63)
by LilDebbie on Mon May 12, 2003 at 03:07:53 PM EST

IIRC, which I suppose to verify would only require a quick trip to the website, the quote is actually "I keep the wolf from the door, but he calls me up, calls me on the phone."

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Yeah yeah, I know... (none / 0) (#109)
by Gully Foyle on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:54:25 AM EST

So steal all my childrenif I don't pay the ransom, why don't ya?

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

The Romulan Empire's dead? (none / 0) (#58)
by Cro Magnon on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:13:02 PM EST

No it can't be! Next you'll be saying BSD is dying!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
CNN Headline (4.83 / 6) (#25)
by stodd on Sun May 11, 2003 at 06:10:51 PM EST

CNN headline had a funny version of the story. They had the late night anchor read the entire story off the teleprompter in Klingon with subtitles.

wow (5.00 / 2) (#57)
by jreilly on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:06:10 PM EST

wow, does anyone have a video of this?

Oooh, shiny...
[ Parent ]
Other "languages" available on google... (3.60 / 5) (#26)
by doormat on Sun May 11, 2003 at 06:13:05 PM EST

Bork, bork bork!

Elmer Fudd

Hacker

Pig Latin
|\
|/oormat

All well and good... (3.33 / 9) (#27)
by Skywise on Sun May 11, 2003 at 06:39:05 PM EST

Except this isn't an "urban legend".

Oregon certified the Klingon language.
Franna Hathaway said "There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak."

Humorous anecdotes aside, the AP story is correct.

This isn't a "Mikey the kid who ate life cereal died of eating pop rocks" story where the incident didn't even occur.

Which makes your article, more of an urban legend than the article its based on.

The Hey Mikey Kid (none / 0) (#28)
by exZERO on Sun May 11, 2003 at 07:16:03 PM EST

Quick Delurk to correct.

The Hey Mikey Kid wasn't killed just by Pop-Rocks.  It was the combination of Pop-Rocks and drinking cola.  

His head exploded.
<<Zero_out>>
[ Parent ]

Yesss... (none / 0) (#30)
by Skywise on Sun May 11, 2003 at 07:33:16 PM EST

I've seen the video of the autopsy on the internet.  Very gross.  It was also supposedly on Faces of Death XIII.

Search Kazaa.

:)


[ Parent ]

Not his head... (none / 0) (#68)
by baron samedi on Mon May 12, 2003 at 04:54:11 PM EST

Dude, his gut exploded. Why would drinking pop-rocks and coke make his *head* explode?
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
Except the Story is Completely Unbelievable (none / 0) (#29)
by t reductase on Sun May 11, 2003 at 07:21:37 PM EST

Peope with severe mental illnesses have problems enough with English, let alone 'Klingon'. Basically the story relies on the belief any story is believeable when it come to people with mental illnesses. Mental illness is a language (Klingon included) impoverished realm. All some patient has to do is say 'he treated me in Klingon' and have it stick and jobs are lost. I think there will be denials from the mental health 'experts' quite soon because of the liabilities issue.

[ Parent ]
I'll bite... (5.00 / 2) (#70)
by emmons on Mon May 12, 2003 at 05:07:51 PM EST

"Mental illnesses" are not all alike. Some mentally ill people speak their first language just fine, some don't speak at all. Others can't for the life of them remember what their first language is but are thoroughly convinced that they're Napoleon. Some speak gibberish, some speak fluent French (while giving their nurses new orders for troop movements). It's entirely possible that one could speak Klingon.

Liabilities issue? wtf?

Nice troll, by the way.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

People With Severe emphasize Severe MI (none / 0) (#83)
by t reductase on Mon May 12, 2003 at 11:29:20 PM EST

Such people do have problems with language. End of story. The idea that the mental health system would put up with someone speaking Klingon is hilarious. The individual would be immediately dosed with Haldol (or equivqalent) and the injections would be upped until English was spoken or the individual was mute. Either would be considered a succes by any mental illness system in the United States.

[ Parent ]
Urban Legends (5.00 / 4) (#48)
by djp928 on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:18:24 PM EST

Urban Legends don't have to be untrue.  They just have to be stories repeated over and over by people because they have some element that pushes people's buttons.  If people delight in telling this story of "government stupidity" then it may well attain the status of urban legend, even if it's mostly true, and even if the stupidity isn't on the part of the government.

-- Dave

[ Parent ]

There's a difference (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by Skywise on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:47:08 PM EST

Popular stories that are *true* are not legends, no matter how popular they are.

from dictionary.com

"A story, which may have started with a grain of truth, that has been emroidered and retold until it has passed into the realm of myth."

This story hasn't gone into the realm of myth...yet...  It's still factual.

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#114)
by djp928 on Mon May 26, 2003 at 04:59:20 PM EST

Yes yes, good, you can use a dictionary.  But if you were to go strictly by a dictionary definition, the term "Urban Legend" would mean only legends about urban areas or something like that.  And that's not what they are.

Don't you think it's better to use the term the way folklorists, the people who study this stuff, use it??  

-- Dave

[ Parent ]

No Klingon patients, or interpreter to be hired (5.00 / 2) (#53)
by Seth Finkelstein on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:58:17 PM EST

Franna Hathaway said "There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak."
If you read the original article, it's immediately indicated that this statement is made in fun.
Jelusich says that in reality, no patient has yet tried to communicate in Klingon.
The incident did not occur - there has never been a mental patient in the county who tried to communicate in Klingon. Moreover, they never thought there would seriously be such a patient. They were goofing that there could be, in theory, someone like that, so they wanted to certify Klingon as a language. If you read the statement in context, it's clear Franna Hathaway was using "Klingon" like "Greek" in the expression It's-all-greek-to-me. That is, meaning "There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where [exotic gibberish] was all they would speak".

Now it's turned into a story, well, I'll cite:

"Oregon county must hire Klingon interpreter -Some mentally ill patients apparently speaking tongue devised for Star Trek"

That's the urban legend.

-- Seth Finkelstein
[ Parent ]

Nope you're reading into the story... (2.66 / 3) (#54)
by Skywise on Mon May 12, 2003 at 01:13:15 PM EST

How do you *know* Hathaway made the statement in fun and Jelusich is just playing CYA?  You don't.

The fact of the matter is that you still have somebody claiming that they had to include Klingon because patients were speaking it.

The article is CORRECT.  

Oregon CERTIFIED Klingon has a language because some of the mental health advisers said that they were *apparently* getting some mental health patients that were speaking the language.
Even IF the advisers were joking, it resulted in a factual action.

That's wholly different from The Time Travelling stock broker, Bigfoot, or the Mikey cereal guy's death.

Next you'll be telling me the Florida voting fiasco was an Urban Legend.


[ Parent ]

Somewhat the same (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by dzimmerm on Sun May 11, 2003 at 07:41:15 PM EST

There was a story that talked about a person who claimed to be a time travelor from the future. The person used this explanation for why he was able to make a lot of money in the stock market in a short period of time.

I did a little research by going to the Securities and Exchange Commission's website.

http://www.sec.gov/

The current news from the SEC website had no mention of the person who supposidly made a killing in the stock market. I just checked the SEC website again in case the news was delayed and it still had no news about a time travelling stock trader. From all evidence the story was completely fabricated even though it circulated quite freely on various blogs for about two weeks.

dzimmerm

It was fabricated (2.00 / 3) (#32)
by interjay on Sun May 11, 2003 at 08:23:02 PM EST

That story originated on a tabloid and was then picked up by major news sites. See Snopes.com for details.

[ Parent ]
look, this may be true, (1.02 / 48) (#35)
by turmeric on Sun May 11, 2003 at 10:27:41 PM EST

but you are missing the larger picture.

whatever the arguments, whatever the twisting and alternative viewpoints, the fact remains that saddam hussein gassed his own people.

you sit here worrying about how things look to everyone else, is there an appearance of impropriety this or that. i am more concerned with what we actually do than with what other people say about me.

and that is why i cannot afford to forget what you obviously have thrown to the winds of the liberal media zeitgeist: that saddam hussein gassed his own people.

thank you

The Gas Face (1.80 / 5) (#42)
by lazloToth on Mon May 12, 2003 at 11:30:59 AM EST

A Gas Face, can either be a smile or a smirk
When appears, a monkey wrench to work one's clockwork
Perkin his brim to the rim of my cup
Don't tempt me, you're empty, so fill'er up!
Is I'm talkin coffee or cocoa, is you loco?
Cash or credit for unleaded at Sunoco
KMD and 3rd Bass is just ace in the hole
I mean soul, so make the Gas Face (HUAHAHA)
Damn, if looks could kill
You look like host was a ghost from your grill
But still, what's the new fed, to recollect
to our passing phase to facades to Eddie Decker
for my label reads Hood, street might have a tattoo
Don't pick any card or no rabbit from my hat
Never a magician if I ever tricked em
"Oh shit!" Another Gas Face victim


[ Parent ]
that may be so (3.00 / 4) (#45)
by CodeWright on Mon May 12, 2003 at 11:54:48 AM EST

but he didn't gas the Klingons -- ka'plakh!

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
no, that would be kirk's proud accomplishment (none / 0) (#103)
by infinitera on Wed May 14, 2003 at 02:52:48 PM EST

That racist prick.

[ Parent ]
If it's funny, repeat it until it isn't. (5.00 / 2) (#73)
by Apuleius on Mon May 12, 2003 at 06:15:10 PM EST

If it isn't funny, repeat it until it is. If it isn't funny, repeat it until it is. If it isn't funny, repeat it until it is. If it isn't funny, repeat it until it is. If it isn't funny, repeat it until it is.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
I'm going to gas you. [NT] (none / 0) (#110)
by enderbean on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:15:17 AM EST




----------
"No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." - James Madison
[ Parent ]
ROFLMFAO, this is sweet. =) (3.80 / 5) (#38)
by Kasreyn on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:40:27 AM EST

Funniest thing I've read all week.

"There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak."

Heh. Sounds like someone went to a few too many cons.

I did like how you detail the transition from "stupid thing someone thought of" to "urban legend". Interesting, and worthy of a +1 Section.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
What you need... (none / 0) (#44)
by jd on Mon May 12, 2003 at 11:45:47 AM EST

...is a statute requiring that the President speak Klingon to all foreign dignatories.

Might make him more coherent.[nt] (5.00 / 3) (#56)
by JahToasted on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:05:16 PM EST



[ Parent ]
He's always coherent... (3.66 / 3) (#61)
by Skywise on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:33:53 PM EST

So long as he's reading from the teleprompter.  It's when he ad-libs that he gets himself into troubletity.

[ Parent ]
huh huh (3.00 / 2) (#102)
by Happy Monkey on Wed May 14, 2003 at 02:10:52 PM EST

You said 'tity".
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
HAHA. You're making fun of the President! (1.50 / 4) (#62)
by jjayson on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:52:46 PM EST

I've never heard a joke about him speaking before. Where do you come up with these knee-slappers!

HAHAHAHAHA

_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

Consider yourself hilarified! [nt] (4.00 / 4) (#91)
by rusty on Tue May 13, 2003 at 09:28:34 AM EST



____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
This was great (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by lazloToth on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:10:14 PM EST

It's a good example of how well-meaning condensation of information can strip away essential information, turning what's obviously a joke story into the kind of thing that will get O'Reilly on Fox News et al fired up about wasting taxpayer's money.
<p>
In general it seems people tend to over-estimate their ability to absorb firehoses worth of information, which manifests itself at work as superiors who obviously never read your e-mail or status reports wasting your time and theirs repeatedly asking stupid questions you already answered, or headhunters asking you stupid questions clearly answered in your already edited for brevity resume.
<p>
Stories like this show in many cases people are screwed before they even read the information in the first place,though, because some well meaning editor along the line pulled out some vital snippet, and before you know it there the story is on slashdot.
<p>
I dig this story-behind-the-story kind of digging.  It was one of the more interesting things to pass this way recently.

Silly me (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by lazloToth on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:11:29 PM EST

I overestimate my ability to properly format my comments.

The HTML-behind-the-comment, that's not what I was after.

[ Parent ]

There have been a few news articles... (4.57 / 7) (#49)
by the on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:27:26 PM EST

...over the years in which I, my friends, or my family have appeared. In almost every single case there have been significant errors in the reporting. Names incorrect. Job titles incorrect. Incorrect attribution of credit. Incorrect reporting that my company had entered into a deal with another. In one extreme case my previous company was reported in an Australian blow-our-own-trumpets newspaper article as being a successful Australian company. It was in California and had no Australian office (we have a client that does work in Oz).

If they can't get these kinds of trivial facts right then I don't trust them to report complex situations even vaguely correctly.

--
The Definite Article

Same here (5.00 / 3) (#78)
by skintigh on Mon May 12, 2003 at 07:55:25 PM EST

I was written up in a local paper as an "electrician" (I now have a masters in electrical engineering - crypto/net sec) so when I won a prize I made it extremely clear that I was NOT an electrician and was an EE, like my father.

What did they write?

"Seth, who like is father is an electrician..."

Not that there is anything wrong with electricians.

[ Parent ]

Me three (5.00 / 2) (#82)
by epepke on Mon May 12, 2003 at 11:24:11 PM EST

Back when I worked in research, I was interviewed quite regularly. Once or twice the story was substantially accurate; most of the time it wasn't. The most egregious case was when a quote of mine wound up somehow in Runner's World in a totally nonsensical context. (I wouldn't have heard for it but for the clipping service at the University.)


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Pre-written, just looking for the sound bite (none / 0) (#116)
by error 404 on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 12:52:11 PM EST

Shortly after 9/11/01, a TV station came by to do a story about what kind of costumes people were looking for.

Interviewed us, asked if we had many requests for patriotic costumes. Nope, one Uncle Sam so far, we had two go out last year, a few fire-fighters as always, no Statue of Liberty yet, last year we had one rent out.

So they hung around, interviewed the next 3 groups of customers. The interview went pretty much the same each time. Asked each if they were planning on patriotic theme costumes. Nope. Because they are out of stock? (We did have a bunch of them in stock, quite popular for summer parades.) Nope, just not what I had in mind. Because you think everybody else will be doing it and you want to be unique? Nope, don't know anyone planning on doing it.

So of course, the story was that there was a major run on patriotic theme costumes.

On the other hand, my wife wanted to emphasize that we specialize in light-hearted fun and would not be carrying, for example, Bin Laden masks, even if somebody requested one (nobody did) and we could get them from our mask supplier, which we apparently couldn't. We called, on camera, and the person on the phone didn't have any Bin Laden masks on her price list - perhaps because we called on a Saturday and the Saturday staff tends not to have the latest updates. The story did get that point accross.

Obviously, we didn't protest the story - free TV advertizing is free advertizing. But it was amusing.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Klingon is popular in Oregon (3.50 / 2) (#60)
by DanTheCat on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:32:14 PM EST

My freshman year at the University of Oregon I worked at the Foreign Language Center. We had foreign language tapes that students could check out to listen to for class and whatnot. One of the languages we had tapes for was Klingon.

Can't say I ever had anybody check them out, but they were there.

Dan :)

<--->
the art of compromise is now the only one they teach in schools
...
the art of compromise paid for all their swimming pools

This just in... (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by KnightStalker on Mon May 12, 2003 at 08:01:51 PM EST

Rumor at the office here is that there's a karaoke bar somewhere around SE 50th & Powell Portland called Bodacious Classics, which has a guy in full Klingon uniform come in on Wednesday nights and do Klingon karaoke. Don't ask me to verify this. Frankly, I'm disturbed that it goes on within two miles of where I live.

[ Parent ]
Incoming referrals. (none / 0) (#72)
by Apuleius on Mon May 12, 2003 at 06:13:49 PM EST

The Wall Street Journal is linking here, as is another high traffic site. Congradulations, Seth. Rusty, care to add the referrer log?


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Thanks - more press than I expected! (none / 0) (#76)
by Seth Finkelstein on Mon May 12, 2003 at 06:50:59 PM EST

Wow. I didn't expect that. I should have worked in a plug somewhere for my Infothought blog or maybe for a mailing-list I'm contemplating re-starting.

Amazing. I can devote months to legally-risky activism effort against censorware, and it'll sink like a stone in terms of being heard. Then I toss off something in a few hours, mostly to vent frustration, and the hits roll in.

Maybe I need to get a columnist job :-) - perhaps someone reading this from the Wall Street Journal will hire me :-) :-) :-) (I am seriously job-hunting, though!)

-- Seth Finkelstein
[ Parent ]

Everyone went nuts with this (none / 0) (#90)
by rusty on Tue May 13, 2003 at 09:27:17 AM EST

This story also appeared on This Modern World, Fark, Dave Barry's weblog...

Guess who moves a lot of traffic? I'll give you a hint, it ain't the WSJ.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

new papers. (none / 0) (#74)
by myrryr on Mon May 12, 2003 at 06:22:53 PM EST

yep, it even made it to the front page in one of the New Zealand news papers... I guess very little else was going on huh? how does the quote go... History never repeats, Historians merely repeat each other.....

Bravo--we need more clear-headedness (none / 0) (#80)
by LairBob on Mon May 12, 2003 at 09:56:42 PM EST

Efforts and attitudes like this are a vaccine for all the crap the web has come to offer. In the same spirit of level-headed objectivity, I'd also recommend Spinsanity--fund-raising Salon partnership notwithstanding, they do a remarkable job of cutting through BS from the left and the right. All too rare.

(Standard disclaimer: I have absolutely no relationship with the site, other than reading it on a sporadic basis--just thought that people who enjoy this post and the Howler would like to find more of the same.)

Cons (none / 0) (#84)
by epepke on Mon May 12, 2003 at 11:29:27 PM EST

I recognize the jocular nature of the original schtick. Civil service is incredibly dull, and civil servants do things like this to maintain their sanity.

That having been said, I used to go to science fiction conventions a lot, and I've met dozens of people I wouldn't put it past someday to wind up with a schizophrenic diagnosis speaking only Klingon.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


goes around the World (none / 0) (#85)
by gullevek on Tue May 13, 2003 at 12:51:36 AM EST

Germany:
Heise - Telepolis

Austria
ORF - Futurezone

And I am sure there are many more :)
--
"Die Arbeit, die tüchtige, intensive Arbeit, die einen ganz in Anspruch nimmt mit Hirn und Nerven, ist doch der größte Genuß im Leben."
  - Rosa Luxemburg, 1871 - 1919

Another one falls for it: Belgian newspaper 5/11 (none / 0) (#86)
by Jozefs on Tue May 13, 2003 at 04:12:37 AM EST

The Belgian Dutch-language newspaper De Standaard printed this story almost verbatim in its edition of 5/11. The story is here, but you need a subscription to read it.
- "It is important to be certain, especially if you're wrong." - Kinky Friedman
Wall Street Journal spin (5.00 / 4) (#87)
by Seth Finkelstein on Tue May 13, 2003 at 07:03:10 AM EST

Here's the Wall Street Journal item:
Lost in Space
Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that a mental hospital in Portland, Ore., was hiring a "Klingon interpreter" to speak to mental patients who refuse to speak in any tongue other than that of the "Star Trek" aliens. But Kuro5hin.org, a technology-news site, finds that this is a case of bureaucratic, not clinical, insanity. The Oregonian reports that "in reality, no patient has yet tried to communicate in Klingon." The advertisement for a Klingon interpreter was a preventive measure, in case a "Klingon" patient shows up. The AP omitted this fact, leading to the impression that Oregon had been invaded by self-styled Klingons.
Look at the spin - "a case of bureaucratic, not clinical, insanity", with no indication that the original effort was simply humor. Rather, this is a case of journalistic insanity.

-- Seth Finkelstein
I don't think you get it... (2.00 / 1) (#92)
by Skywise on Tue May 13, 2003 at 11:09:02 AM EST

This is *law*.

Ok?

*Law*

It's all "ha ha very funny" until somebody gets sued over it.

There have been millions if not BILLIONS of dollars spent over the legal debate over a HYPHEN in the 2nd amendment.

How's this for a scenario:  The ACLU successfully sues other states because they don't include Klingon as a supported language in their medical health care programs.  Once this is approved, the ACLU can then successfully sue to have all US documentation printed in Klingon because that deprives Klingon speaking peoples of their rights.

All of which completely ignores the most fundamental flaw in that law which is that the state of Oregon only pays for interpreters for mentally ill people for 55 "approved" languages.

[ Parent ]

Gee, great (3.00 / 1) (#93)
by jt on Tue May 13, 2003 at 11:47:12 AM EST

Thanks a lot Mr. Roddenberry.

[ Parent ]
As a journalist... (4.75 / 4) (#88)
by nordicfrost on Tue May 13, 2003 at 07:04:10 AM EST

I have written this story for the web edition of a large European newspaper. While I was sceptical of the story initially, I decided that it was a valid story, with good first-hand info. I fail to see why the would be an urban legend if the spin-off story contains the fact that
a) The language is actually accepted on the list
b) The story points out that this is a contract basis job
c) There has not been any cases yet of anyone speaking Klingon exclusivly.

Then it is a story, backed up by the Oregonian, a serious source. After all the purchaser admits it could happen "But the possibility that a patient could believe himself or herself to be a Klingon doesn't seem so far-fetched. ".

I have seen mental patients who refused to speak anything other than French, even though they clearly aren't. So having Klingon on the list seems like a quite ordinary thing to do, albeit a bit bizarre.

Story subtext for American health care (5.00 / 7) (#89)
by Seth Finkelstein on Tue May 13, 2003 at 08:31:00 AM EST

Perhaps, as a European, you aren't attuned to certain American political subtexts. There is no national health program in the US, and in general, a great hostility to social services. Moreover, we have a whole genre of punditry devoted to portraying any government service program as frivolous, fraudulent, and an absurd waste of money which should outrage all right-thinking folk.

I don't doubt the existence of similar pundits in Europe. But there is a whole different level of mean-spiritedness in the US, arising from having no guaranteed safety-net.

This Klingon Language Interpreter Urban Legend has quickly become part of that genre. The way it was written in the AP version was guaranteed to inflame and provoke people. And a quick search showed it of course worked:

utterlyboring.com

I just heard this on the local radio station, and I can't believe our tax dollars are being spent on this. ... If a patient only speaks Klingon, are they worth saving?

The key element, which was present in the Oregonian, but removed by the AP author so as to make a better story, was NO MONEY - none, not a penny - was expected to be spent on this. Instead, it was completely turned around to the journo of some bureaucratic insanity, where ludicrous laws and (literally) deranged patients were producing frippery, repulsive to hard-working people.

The end result may be some immigrant won't be able to get help in his or her native language, because the interpreter budget has been cut since some reporter created the fantasy that it was being spent on "Klingon".

-- Seth Finkelstein
[ Parent ]

I agree... ...and disagree. (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by nordicfrost on Tue May 13, 2003 at 06:09:13 PM EST

we have a whole genre of punditry devoted to portraying any government service program as frivolous, fraudulent, and an absurd waste of money

I'll bet that if you theow a stone inside our parliament, you'll hit a couple of politicians that represent roughly the same thinking. These persons, usually rightist populists, will twist every sentence to fit their line of argument no matter what. I saw the story first in the AP feed at work, and as I understood  it would be a per-case system. In my opinion, mapping the possible translators for this language is not a bad idea and an insignificat cost. It would probably be cheaper to have the phone # of a local trekkie extraordinaire than to fly in one of the kli.org persons if the incident happens.

As for the utterlyboring.com pundit, (s)he destorys his /her own argument: "If a patient speaks only Klingon, the county is obligated to respond with a Klingon interpreter" Persons like this alwys ignore the "if" of the sentence and assume or argue that a Klingon interpreter would have to on 24-hour duty, wich we all know is untrue.

I can agree that the shorter AP version was not clear enough for everyone. I assumed that they had not hired, and probably would not hire (In a permanent position) a Klingon interpreter. I assumed this, because the telegram (Funny how we still call it AP Wire and telegram in this age.) included a quote from the purchaser that they had some cases before but not now.

In short: Pundits will always argue in a one-side-only fashion, journalists should be very careful of their phrasing.

[ Parent ]

I spy an absurd waste of money (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by Alan Crowe on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:20:03 PM EST

Why have a list of approved languages at all? Say Norwegian is on the list and Finish isn't. A Norwegian needs a translator. He gets one. A Finn turns up. He doesn't. What now? Presumably he blocks a bed at the State psychiatric hospital at considerable public expense because the psychiatrist cannot communicate  suficiently to assess him.

So the chief psychiatrist has to apply to beaurocrats at city hall to get Finnish on the approved list. We know how these things go, the translation budget will be used up, so there will be resistance to adding a language, meanwhile much more money comes out of a different budget to pay for interim care. There will be committee meetings and lots of nice middle class office jobs are available for the nice but dim children of the middle classes to deal with the administrative burden of finding ways to get new languages added to the list, and old languages taken often, and old languages put back on, when it turns out they shouldn't have been taken of in the first place.

The scandal is that the state takes your money in taxes on the pretext of looking after mad people. But it doesn't give all of the money to psychiatrists, to do the caring. Some of the money is held back to create cushy office jobs. It is the psychiatrist in the state hospital who has to cope with the psychotic patient, babbling away in a language no-one understands, but the decision on hiring an interpreter is taken at the wrong time and in the wrong place by the wrong person by having an administrator come up with a list ahead of time at head office.

[ Parent ]

Glossolalia? (3.66 / 3) (#95)
by djeaux on Tue May 13, 2003 at 04:23:46 PM EST

Could be those "Klingon speakers" just took the wrong turn on the way home from Wednesday night prayer meetin'. Interpreters are readily available at pentecostal churches everywhere.

Rev. djeaux

djeaux
"Obviously, I'm not an IBM computer any more than I'm an ashtray." (Bob Dylan)

you are SO right (none / 0) (#97)
by bauklo on Tue May 13, 2003 at 06:19:33 PM EST

eom

Press Release: Klingon Removed From List (5.00 / 2) (#99)
by Seth Finkelstein on Wed May 14, 2003 at 09:30:25 AM EST

[This is the full text of the Multnomah County press release. It doesn't appear to be available anywhere else on the net, and only snippets have been reported in the press. The following was mailed to me directly. I've also archived it at
http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/archives/000280.html
]

MULTNOMAH COUNTY OREGON

May 12, 2003

Contact: Becca Uherbelau, Multnomah County Chair's Office 503-988-5273

Klingon Interpreter Services Removed From List

Recent media attention on Multnomah County RFPQ (Request for Programmatic Qualifications) RO37745 for translator and interpreter services requires clarification.

There is no cost to the county and no contractors are selected or paid through this RFPQ. "Not a penny of public money has been or will be spent on Klingon translation. I have issued an addendum to the RFPQ that officially removes it from the list of languages for county translation services effective immediately," states Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn.

"Certainly, the idea that Klingon is on a list of languages that our safety net services might have to translate sounds absurd and about as far out as you can get. It was a mistake and a result of an overzealous attempt to ensure that our safety net systems can respond to all customers and clients," states Diane Linn, Multnomah County Chair.

The county deals with a wide range of clients with severe mental health issues including manic depression, schizophrenia, multiple personalities, and delusions. It is our legal responsibility to respond with all resources and means necessary to communicate with clients.

The intent of the RFPQ is to standardize rates and the rules of service delivery for language services across the county. Additionally, the target of the RFPQ process is to develop a more comprehensive, cost effective approach to providing required and valuable translation services to clients in need. The end result is a list of qualified providers available to all county agencies, including languages spoken by a small number of potential clients.

Over 50 languages are included in the RFPQ. The county's responsibility is to provide the best possible care to the people who seek our help, particularly in the midst of a mental health or health crisis, whatever the language they speak.

"While this may sound like a quirky, peripheral issue, I would like people to take a moment to think about the kinds of things we are confronted with when we must help those who are mentally ill. The problems faced by those with mental illness are no joke, especially when they pose a threat to themselves or others. And what I hope people understand is that thanks to state budget cuts, we have little ability to help the severely mentally ill in any language. That is why we are working so hard to pass Measure 26-48," added Linn.

# # #

Public Affairs Office
501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., #600
Portland, Oregon 97214
503-988-6800 phone
503-988-6801 fax

News Release



-- Seth Finkelstein
Urban Legends site entry (none / 0) (#101)
by Seth Finkelstein on Wed May 14, 2003 at 01:20:49 PM EST

Klingon Interpreter
http://snopes.com/humor/iftrue/klingon.asp
Claim: An Oregon county health services department hired a Klingon interpreter to assist psychiatric patients who would speak no other language.

Status: False.


-- Seth Finkelstein
Please note (none / 0) (#104)
by Skywise on Wed May 14, 2003 at 04:24:39 PM EST

That none of your linked articles ever said that anybody ACTUALLY hired a Klingon Interpreter.

Thank you.

[ Parent ]

Those who use natural languages will die... (none / 0) (#108)
by Fen on Wed May 14, 2003 at 07:09:48 PM EST

Ambiguousness in wartime leads to death. I don't know how logical this Klingon language is, but if it is more logical, it may lead to an advantage in war. The lojban language is the most logical one I've heard of so far. I don't think this is a "funny" matter to joke about.
--Self.
Praise from original, Oregonian, reporter (5.00 / 3) (#112)
by Seth Finkelstein on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:23:01 PM EST

[Posted with permission. Thanks!]

Seth,

I just wanted to thank you for bothering to read the original Klingon interpreter story. I was appalled when I saw the AP version that went out over the wires. You were right on in your remarks. Thanks again.

Steve Woodward
The Oregonian
E-mail: stevewoodward[at-sign]news.oregonian.com

-- Seth Finkelstein

I don't see the problem (none / 0) (#115)
by darqchild on Sun Aug 03, 2003 at 03:52:34 AM EST

they  have a list of languages that the government is required by law to provide to mentally ill people.

it doens't cost them any money unless they ever actually use the service.  all the law does is ensure that the funding will be made available to treat a patient who is mentally ill, in the best way possible.

where is the problem?


~~~
Death is God's way of telling you not to be such a smartass.

"Klingon Language Interpreter" Urban Legend | 114 comments (100 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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