Is the Klingon alphabet inspired by Tibetan alphabet?

Because they look similar..

Klingon on the Left, Tibetan on the Right

2 Answers 2


Considering this question is a rehash of another question on SX, I'm inclined to say it's chance resemblance — and not a very high one at that. It is very highly plausible that it was designed by a non-linguist at Paramount (if I understand correctly) at a time when there was no easy way of finding out about Tibetan even with the budding Internet of 1992 when the aforelinked article was published in the HolQeD journal of the KLI. The article specifically says:

More recently we’ve been treated to a different alphabet, (often incorrectly attributed to Michael Okuda, scenic designer for Star Trek: The Next Generation™), one which corresponds to the phonemes of Klingon as described by Okrand in The Klingon Dicitionary. While the characters themselves are easily identifiable from background displays on Star Trek: The Next Generation™ (assuming one has access to video equipment and a reasonably large television screen), there has never been an “official” release describing the particular relationship between individual glyphs and specific sounds. As Okuda has indicated (HolQeD 1:1, 11) all Klingon background displays are composed for appearance, not communication. And yet, an unofficial letter to a Klingon fan group from an unnamed source at Paramount resulted in the following alphabet: [...]

  • 3
    “no easy way of finding out about Tibetan”? If I wanted a chart of Tibetan characters at that time, I'd go to the Bodhi Tree bookshop not far from Hollywood (I think I got some linguistic material there in 1984, though I've forgotten what) or to the appropriate department of a university library. Oct 7, 2018 at 5:07
  • @AntonSherwood the root of the issue isn't in finding a chart of Tibetan characters, but actually getting to selecting Tibetan characters to be the source of the script and going after a chart of them in the first place.
    – Darkgamma
    Oct 12, 2018 at 2:51
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    So someone sees a sample of Tibetan writing on, say, a prayer wheel in National Geographic, and thinks hey that looks cool and exotic. Farfetched? I don't think so. It needn't be something that would certainly happen. In a parallel world it's inspired instead by a poster at an Ethiopian restaurant. Oct 12, 2018 at 4:15

According to this answer on Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange, no. The author draws from the official Klingon language website, saying:

"...the producers called on professional linguist Dr. Marc Okrand to create authentic speech for the Klingons. His task was to make their language as alien as their ridged prosthetic foreheads, while still remaining pronounceable by human actors and consistent with the battle cries from the first movie.

Dr. Okrand did not base Klingon on any particular language, but drew on his knowledge of how language works to construct a wholly new language."

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    This seems (and I've looked at the page in question) to only talk about the language itself, not the alphabet or script used to write it as shown in the question.
    – HDE 226868
    Feb 7, 2018 at 4:46

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