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Old March 9 2013, 10:18 AM   #11
Re: Races represented in Starfleet

Yes, Vulcans definitely name their own ships in ENT. No, they probably did not name the apparent (but not confirmed) Starfleet starship Intrepid of TOS fame (what a silly name - trepidity or its opposite shouldn't be in Vulcan vocabulary). Yes, they probably named the Starfleet starship T'Kumbra from DS9. No, we don't know whether the names of Vulcan ships or Vulcan-operated Starfleet ships or ships with Vulcan-sounding names but potentially non-Vulcan operators are names of people, or places, or concepts, or a possible mixture.

On that last note, though, many a Vulcan ship name features the T' prefix that may be closely related to Vulcan female proper name conventions. And although the movie ST:FC never explicitly stated this, the vessel that made first contact with Earth was supposed to be named T'Plana-Hath, which we know to be the proper name of a Vulcan thinker as per ST4. And then there's the Surak class mentioned in some Okudagrams, clearly named after the Vulcan celebrity - but not necessarily by the Vulcans themselves. (The Suurok class of ENT fame, another only fuzzily canonical name, seems to be unrelated.)

So far, only one other nonhuman culture has been honored (or derided?) in Starfleet ship naming: there was a USS Gorkon in "Descent". Would that be like the Nazis naming one of their ships the John Jellicoe out of respect for the great naval leader - or to ridicule the man who could have defeated the German navy in WWI but fumbled it and thus became a German war hero of sorts? Gorkon's stature in Klingon history is probably not high, as from their viewpoint, he lost the Cold War against Starfleet hands down and secured the triumph of the Earthling ways for the next half a century or so.

Of course, some names we think are human may in fact be alien, just with similar spelling. Or just sounding similar but spelled differently, and the canonical pronunciation is accompanied by noncanon, logical-sounding but wholly incorrect human spelling in the various encyclopedias, chronologies, novels etc. Say, take something like USS Crazy Horse, a name never mentioned in writing in canon Star Trek, and assume that it is in fact USS Crey Zioche, after the Bolian pacifist poet...

Timo Saloniemi
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