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A similar question on why Worf 'acts' so Klingon here, but most TNG fans will note that Worf doesn't use contractions - it's quite noticeable actually - "Captain - I do not recommend that" for example, a bit like Data. I was just wondering why Worf doesn't use contractions, as it doesn't seem a 'Klingon' thing to not use them. Is there a reason for this ever mentioned anywhere?

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"Klingons do NOT use contractions!" –  Jeen Broekstra Apr 14 at 7:15
    
It would have been funnier if you had written the question like "Why does not Worf..." –  Mr Lister Apr 14 at 15:02
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This question is humorous because Data allegedly could not use contractions, although there is a youtube video floating around showing a compilation of many times he did use them. –  Michael Apr 14 at 15:05
    
@MrLister - I originally had "Why doesn't Worf use contractions?" - pun intended of course –  N.Soong Apr 15 at 1:19
    
Perhaps Klingon doesn't use contractions and he therefore considers them too human a concept? –  Blazemonger Aug 5 at 14:39

2 Answers 2

up vote 36 down vote accepted

In some circles, the use of contractions is considered too informal and dare I say, sloppy English. Worf, being a bit of a stuffed shirt would gravitate to the more 'formal' English speech patterns. Also, the more formal sounds a bit more forceful and aggressive. Note the proclamation, "I will stop you!" as opposed to the more plaintive, "I'll stop you!"

This manner of speech is more inline with his native personality and rigidly aggressive disposition.

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Unlike @Morgan's answer, I think this can be merely a "sign of foreignness", not necessarily personality (Spock, Teal'c, Worf); although it is frequently a combination of the two.

This happens to be a well-known trope in SciFi, and its originator is in the same Star Trek canon: "Spock Speak" (warning: TVTropes link). Not unique to SciFi either: here's an analysis of a character on NCIS.

It is a well known quirk of some ESL (English as a Second Language) speakers - they do not use contractions, and in general use very formal language (it is harder to master spoken, colloquial, idiomatic language than a formal grammatically fixed subset of it. [Citation: personal experience]).

Worf is a foreigner twice:

  • as a Klingon
  • and because his adoptive parents (Rozhenkos) are not native English speakers (Belarussians, and Worf lived in former USSR for a while after they returned to Earth from Gault).
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As a note: I'm not 100% sure Rozhenkos actually spoke with an accent in the show (though in-universe it would make sense for them). So I asked that separately: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/54032/… –  DVK Apr 14 at 10:50
    
Worf had been living amongst Federation colonists since he was 6. It's very unlikely that he would have an accent simply because he's not genetically human. Perhaps Gault colony was primarily Russian/Belarussian-speaking (the kid he accidentally killed also had a Russian-sounding name), otherwise he would have mastered English as well as his parents at the very least. –  Lèse majesté Apr 14 at 23:22
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When Nimoy was developing the character of Spock, he explicitly decided to avoid contractions as a simple way of suggesting that English (or whatever the Federation has standardized on that the audience is hearing as English) was not his native language. I presume Dorn adopted this for the same reason. –  keshlam Apr 15 at 2:44
    
@DVK Thanks for clarifying that good point. I did allude to it though not clearly enough with my opening sentence, "In some circles, the use of contractions is considered too informal and dare I say, sloppy English." –  Morgan Apr 15 at 8:36
    
@Lèsemajesté - the colony was; and his parents in-show had strong accents. –  DVK Apr 15 at 19:38

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