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Episode name: "Darmok"

Season: 5

Director: Winrich Kolbe

Picard is captured, then trapped on a planet with an alien captain who speaks a metaphorical language incompatible with the universal translator. They must learn to communicate with each other before the beast of the planet overwhelms them. (Memory Alpha)

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I. Love. This. Episode. :inlove:

I love how Jean-Luc is all like "huh?" at the beginning when he sits there on the bridge with Troi and no one understands what the Tamarians are saying. The look on his face when he's suggesting a non-aggression pact and is all smiles is just too cute to be true.

Squee.png:inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove:

I also love the 'Darmok language', of course. I love how Jean-Luc's all freezing at night and tries to make a fire. Ooh it's so awesome. I love this episode on so many levels. It's simply... perfect.

"Shaka, when the walls fell." :thumbsup2:

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Wonderful in every aspect. Jean-Luc's bonding with the Tamarian captain is especially wonderful. The episode as a whole is purely entertaining and it's just one of the many great examples of Trek's message to discover and work with different beings. I adore this episode.

"Darmok and Jalad...at Tenagra."

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I love this episode. Picard trying to communicate with another species with no one to help translate. I think it is really fun.

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I love this episode. Picard trying to communicate with another species with no one to help translate. I think it is really fun.

Jean-Luc would probably disagree with you on it being fun, though! :laugh: But I agree, it does have its amusing moments - my favorite is the one in which Jean-Luc stands there and yells "Picard of the Federation! Of the starship Enterprise! Of the planet Earth!" and Dathon is all like "WTF? Bleh." :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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Was a good episode, but unlike most people, it isn't my favorite. I found alot of it to be confusing. I think I was trying to work out what Dathon was trying to say as much as Picard was! After the episode, I took an asprin. =P

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This is one of my top 5 episodes. I love it to pieces - everything about it is pure unadulterated Trek. 10+

Picard and Dathon at ElAldril. (having no clue if I spelled that right :o )

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Jean-Luc would probably disagree with you on it being fun, though! :laugh: But I agree, it does have its amusing moments - my favorite is the one in which Jean-Luc stands there and yells "Picard of the Federation! Of the starship Enterprise! Of the planet Earth!" and Dathon is all like "WTF? Bleh." :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

You're probably right, I guess it depends whose point of view it's from :P

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I LOVE this episode! :thumbup:

I loved it before I saw, can you imagine? They stopped airing the show here after season 4, and so all that was left back then was to go online and at least read the script. Boy, I nearly died laughing just reading the script! :laugh: And when I finally saw it, I nearly died again. :laugh: Great ep indeed! :thumbsup2:

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I was just watching this episode again last night and a question occurred to me:

How do Tamarian children learn the language? The children will have no knowledge of mythologies that the language is based on until they are taught those mythologies, but how can they be taught those mythologies before they can understand their people's language?

It would take a long time if every child had to learn the same way as Picard did.

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Good point. I don't think that ever occured to me before. Perhaps they have special schools, where the children learn these things in a more normal tongue. It's about all I can think of! Well, either that or they have it all implanted into their heads through some technological means when they are born.

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Good point. I don't think that ever occured to me before. Perhaps they have special schools, where the children learn these things in a more normal tongue. It's about all I can think of! Well, either that or they have it all implanted into their heads through some technological means when they are born.

I think they must learn through another language - or ancient language perhaps. Before these myths were made or histories happened (I.E before Darmok and Jalhad met at Tanagra), there must have been a more standard language.

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I absolutely loved the linguistics in this episode. It really was fascinating. Aside from that, it had some real feel-good moments, such as when Dathon gave Picard some fire and when Picard began understanding. Emotion ran high in this episode for me - when Dathon dies and Picard tells him about Gilgamesh, for example. In my opinion, part of the cream of TNG.

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I've been thinking about this; maybe kids are taught through drawing first, like Picard used the rocks to represent Darmok and Jalhad on the ocean, kids could be shown drawings representing the myths and then learn the language that way.

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I found this episode illogical and confusing, probably because I'm a linguist/translator and no language would work like that.

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in this episode .. we get to see how hard to communicate with alien species when the universal translator can't understand... and the process in which Picard discovers that this alien species speaks in metaphors.

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Absolutely wonderful. A great example of how different species can communicate without help from a Universal Translator.

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This is excellent, just an all around really fun, interesting and clever episode. I love how they are trying to communicate with each other, and how the alien commander even dies over it. I love trying to figure out the language, and what he means. The ending where the three aliens on the the viewscreen do that sort of blessing thing with the knives when Picard tells them that the commander has died. The final shot of Picard doing it in his ready room through the window is very sad and touching at the same time. Season 5 starts off on a role, two brilliant episodes in a row. This is worth 9 out of 10 at least.

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This episode makes more sense the second time you watch it. I think the captain and first officer of the Tamarian ship are arguing over whether it's a good idea to go through with the hunting trip, and the captain basically tells him to shut up. Later on, the first officer tells Riker that they are on a hunting trip, and gets frustrated when Riker doesn't understand. I found it a bit odd at the end that the Tamarians didn't know their captain had died until Picard told them. I thought their tech was comparable to the Enterprise's.

I was just watching this episode again last night and a question occurred to me:

How do Tamarian children learn the language? The children will have no knowledge of mythologies that the language is based on until they are taught those mythologies, but how can they be taught those mythologies before they can understand their people's language?

It would take a long time if every child had to learn the same way as Picard did.

That's where the concept breaks down. In order to tell a new story, they would have to make reference to other stories which had similar situations. So where does it begin? They must have some concept of non-metaphorical language in order to tell the most important root stories, so why can't they understand Picard? Even if they showed images of their root stories to children, if they explained it without using metaphor, that would mean they would be using a non-metaphor thought process.

Also, how do they build a ship that was comparable to or even stronger than the flag ship of the Federation on their own, (assumedly no other alien species understood them) and while operating with such a stilted language? More importantly, why don't we ever see them again? They introduce such an interesting alien species, too bad it was a one-off.

Edited by Hammer

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This episode makes more sense the second time you watch it. I think the captain and first officer of the Tamarian ship are arguing over whether it's a good idea to go through with the hunting trip, and the captain basically tells him to shut up. Later on, the first officer tells Riker that they are on a hunting trip, and gets frustrated when Riker doesn't understand. I found it a bit odd at the end that the Tamarians didn't know their captain had died until Picard told them. I thought their tech was comparable to the Enterprise's.

I was just watching this episode again last night and a question occurred to me:

How do Tamarian children learn the language? The children will have no knowledge of mythologies that the language is based on until they are taught those mythologies, but how can they be taught those mythologies before they can understand their people's language?

It would take a long time if every child had to learn the same way as Picard did.

That's where the concept breaks down. In order to tell a new story, they would have to make reference to other stories which had similar situations. So where does it begin? They must have some concept of non-metaphorical language in order to tell the most important root stories, so why can't they understand Picard? Even if they showed images of their root stories to children, if they explained it without using metaphor, that would mean they would be using a non-metaphor thought process.

No, not at all IMO.

Much of our current language is based on meanings derived from metaphors or stories. The french word 'sabotage' coming from workers throwing their wooden sabot shoes into machinery (as so ably pointed out by Valeris in ST6). Etymology of words, phrases and meanings often reveal deeper meanings that betray the original metaphorical meanings behind words.

The Tamarians etymology simply has another layer of complexity that ours doesn't. I'd assume Tamarian schoolchildren are taught phrases as single words; much like certain varied Chinese characters that combine to form a single letter/word. While the Tamarian version is far more unwieldy and complicated, it is NOT that different from our own languages here on Earth really (if you study each languages' individual etymology). The only problem is that their metaphors are so deeply rooted in their culture, that the average Tamarian probably doesn't know the exact origin of each phrase; they respond to the shared cultural understanding of what the phrase means. "Darmok & Jelaad at Tenagra" for example is a single phrase that would roughly translate as 'individuals working together to overcome a greater challenge."

Frankly, I absolutely LOVED this episode.

It makes you really think about the complexity of our own language and how freely we use metaphor in everyday language without ever stopping to think of the etymology of each word. Especially these days; in the era of quick soundbites and headlines over substantive reading and comprehension. For example, in America we often say, "What's the 411 on that?" 411 being slang shorthand for information. An alien would have NO clue why a human suddenly used numbers in place of a word.

For making me REALLY think about language, for a clever scifi premise, and for the fine performances of Patrick Stewart (of course) and the late Paul Winfield as Dathon (also Capt. Terrell in 'Wrath of Khan')? I give this one a solid 10. It is one of my favorite episodes (glad I have it on DVD; as part of the Picard Collection set).

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in America we often say, "What's the 411 on that?" 411 being slang shorthand for information. An alien would have NO clue why a human suddenly used numbers in place of a word.

Never mind alien, this Englishman doesn't have a clue what you're talking about either!

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in America we often say, "What's the 411 on that?" 411 being slang shorthand for information. An alien would have NO clue why a human suddenly used numbers in place of a word.

Never mind alien, this Englishman doesn't have a clue what you're talking about either!

Shaka.... when the walls fell. :P

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And in answer to your query, 411 is a telephone number we call in the states for directory assistance. Like 911, only less urgent. ;)

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