Why "Worf"?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by LMFAOschwarz, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It seemed a little odd (or maybe just unexpected) at the time when I heard the new show would feature 'Klingon officer Worf'.

    Up to that point in Trek, Klingons typically had names that started with the letter K. I suppose that idea is a little silly in a way, but nevertheless it was what it was. I was just curious how the name Worf was chosen.

    I'm not saying it should have started with a K: that idea would be a little like expecting all human names to begin with an H. But after Kor, Kang, Koloth, Korax, Kras, Kruge and the like, Worf seemed a bit of an oddity. But I suppose the Klingons would run out of names pretty quickly if the pattern were stuck to!

    It's a minor point, but it fascinates me. Were any other character names considered?
     
  2. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Vice Admiral Moderator

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    Well, we had Valkris, Maltz and Torg in TSFS, which came out before TNG, so they had already established Klingon names that didn't start with K.
     
  3. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Cartoon Premium Member

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    There was also Valkris, Mara and Maltz. I forget the mental gymnastic some folks did to "justify" those.

    "Korf" sounds wrong. ;)
     
  4. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ah, yes...I'd forgotten about those guys!

    (Korf.. :lol: )
     
  5. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, but not as bad as "Morf" or "Torf" or "Vorf" would have sounded.

    And let's not go anywhere near "Dorf."
     
  6. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It was J. M. Ford's pre-TNG Klingon epic, The Final Reflection, which had Klingons who changed the first letter of their names as they ascended the ranks. From Vrenn, to Krenn etc.
     
  7. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    It's just that it sounds like a dog barking. Especially that time Wesley shouted it when Worf got stabbed. It's not a very impressive name.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I've never understood why they chose "Worf." Even aside from the K issue, it just doesn't sound like an intimidating or powerful name, unless one is phobic toward piers and boat docks. It sounds like the name of a cute dwarflike creature in a cartoon or something.

    On the other hand, it does sound like the first syllable or so of "warfare." But I doubt that was the thinking behind it, since he was supposed to be a "reformed," peaceful Klingon. (Remember, "Heart of Glory" implied that only a few renegades still clung to the old warlike ways. It was only later that they were retconned back into being such a brutal and violent race that the Federation alliance with them made no sense at all.)

    Honestly, I've never been that fond of the nonhuman main character names the creators of the modern Trek shows came up with. "Worf" is a weird name for a Klingon. "Data" is a silly, corny name for an android. "Odo" and "Dax" are just weird (although "Jadzia" is a beautiful name).
     
  9. loghaD

    loghaD Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    As some of you might know, Worf's name is spelled wo'rIv in romanized tlhIngan Hol (Klingonese), and is pronounced quite differently from how it is in the show.
    ...which I don't find at all strange; there are multiple "English" spelling variants of non-English names such as Mao Tse-Tung and Muammar Gadaffi, and they're pronounced in any number of ways, so we might well expect the same thing to happen with Klingon names.

    My own pet theory is that wo'rIv means something like "champion of the empire", based on the fact that wo' means "empire", and rIvSo' means "embassy"...
    ...and I have another pet theory that this comes from a word meaning "champion's dwelling", which ties into yet another fan theory I have about Kronosian politics in the pre-Hur'Iq era.
    So, it's all very speculative, and probably based more on wishful thinking than anything else.

    I had the pleasure of dining with Marc Okrand (creator of tlhIngan Hol; language consultant on a number of Trek films and author of The Klingon Dictionary, Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, among other works) last night.
    Some people at the table (all of them Klingon language fans) commented on what a strange name "Worf" was for a Klingon, and Marc's theory was actually that it wasn't a Klingon name at all, but rather that Klingons liked to give their children names from cultures that they have conquered. However, they also them a Klingonized version of the name, for practical reasons.

    He didn't actually have any input into naming Worf, so this isn't "word of god" or anything, but I thought this might interest people nevertheless.
    It's a nice theory in the sense that it would mean that the pronunciation "Worf" might not actually be less correct than wo'rIv, but rather the former would be an anglified variant of an alien name and the latter would be a klingonized variant.

    Personally, I've never really had a problem with the name, but that may be because it was among the first Klingon names I ever heard (I hadn't seen any TOS yet).
     
  10. WillsBabe

    WillsBabe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not to forget Bernie the Klingon. ;)
     
  11. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not to ping on you (because I actually found your post quite interesting), but none of that info was actually in the show, nor was it the actual reason why Worf was given that name. Remember that Worf was literally a last-minute addition to TNG. There was probably zero time to justify a better name than what we got. And like Christopher said, the writers seemed to be overly fond of goofy character names anyway. "Worf" was probably the first name someone pulled out of their ass, and was immediately approved.
     
  12. wulfio

    wulfio Captain Captain

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    there's this:

    http://www.kabalarians.com/Female/worf.htm


    • Your first name of Worf gives you a responsible, self-sufficient, and dependable nature.
    • If you have been given the opportunity, you could do well in business developing your leadership, administrative, and managing abilities.
    • Appreciating quality in all things, you desire to be prosperous.
    • You do not like to relinquish control nor do you accept advice readily.
    • You have a strong, determined nature and you must be careful that you do not dominate or interfere in the lives of others in your desire to be helpful.
    • This name makes you too forceful at times, limiting the natural feminine qualities of tenderness and tact.
    • It causes tension and allied problems in the female organs.
    • Although the name Worf creates the urge to be reliable and responsible, it can cause a materialistic approach that frustrates higher humanitarian qualities.
    • This name, when combined with certain last names, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the reproductive system, worry, and mental tension.


    ORRRRRRRRRR


    http://acronymsandslang.com/meaning-of/WORF.html


    Warriors of Rain Forest
    Waba Open Robot Framework
     
  13. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I dunno. Probably because it sounds a bit like wolf. They even make the stunned Sam Clemens refer to him as a werewolf
     
  14. Memory Alpha

    Memory Alpha Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It is a single syllable or otherwise short, harsh-sounding name, which seems to be the norm for Klingons. The TNG Companion from 1995 on page 16 mentions that Worf was indeed added at the last minute, and he was supposed to be "a Marine." Interesting. The Warfare --> Worf idea is interesting and is a possibility. I never thought of that. Otherwise, it's close to "wolf." Lwaxana actually calls him "Mr. Woof," LOL. I guess it's possible to play off it, but I would like to know more!
     
  15. loghaD

    loghaD Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Aye, that's very true. I was thinking more in terms of a potential in-universe explanation for the name, rather than from a production point-of-view, which I suppose really is the main topic of this discussion.

    I just can't resist threads that somehow tie into tlhIngan Hol :P
     
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Cartoon Premium Member

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    Don't tell Odo the Great or Dax Shepard.
     
  17. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree, it''s too bad they went in that direction. I thought that was neat about Heart of Glory, and kind of realistic actually, that there would be hangers-on to the old ways. They still could have done Klingon stories without all the weighty (and unnecessarily) changes.
     
  18. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Back then, I assumed the Ford background that Worf would become Korf or K'worf within Klingon culture as he rose in rank.
    Data's name is Ok-ish for me as it's 'self-chosen', even if it does imply a view of his role (based in being a repository for the memories of the dead colonists: more the Gerrold novelisation of Farpoint than anything that really made it onscreen) that clashes with his more usual desire to be a person/'human' in his own right.
     
  19. alpha_leonis

    alpha_leonis Captain Captain

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    I have to admit, I do remember thinking when TNG first aired that "Worf" was about the stupidest character name they could have come up with ("Yar" was a close second. What was this, a pirate ship?) Both names have grown on me since then.

    I was also aware of the John M. Ford convention that command-level Klingon officers would adopt the "K-" prefix for their names. (The "Klingon-names-start-with-K" pattern seemed a lot less silly to me than the Vulcan convention of starting male names with "S" and ending them with "K". Even fewer possible non-silly-sounding variations of *that* pattern.)

    Seriously, I'd fully expected any representation of Worf as a captain or admiral in the future to be named "Korf". Makes me wonder if they'd actually do that if the rumored "Captain Worf" series ever makes it to reality.

    Edit to add: I recall reading that Odo's name was deliberately designed as a palindrome, to reflect his "unknowable/unapproachable" personality. This was before the writers retconned the Cardassian-Bajoran origin of his name.
     
  20. Bad Atom

    Bad Atom Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know about the rest of you, but reading the name Worf over and over... the more I read it, the sillier it sounds. Worf. Worf, Worf, Worf.