The fear affix vIp was analyzed because it is taboo to admit one's own fear in Klingon, and because there are notable characters in Hamlet who are quite fearful, most famously Hamlet himself. Hamlet does account for nearly 20% of spoken admissions of fear, and as a result it seems that those close to him feel they can break the taboo. After all, who better to admit you're scared to than someone who's probably more scared than you?

Another interesting element of the fear data is that the second most common addressee is 'multi,' the code for when more than one character was being addressed. It seems particularly odd that this would be the case, given that when more people are present, it is more likely to be noted that a taboo has been broken. Even more strangely, the majority of these tokens come from Claudius, the King of Denmark. This suggests that the social taboo of fear admission was likely less important to the translators of this piece than accurately portraying what was said by the characters in the new language. After all, a medieval king would sooner die than be caught breaking a basic social norm.


Aside from Gertrude, the Queen, every recipient of the honorific affix neS receives at least 20% of the tokens, with Hamlet reaching just over 25%. The only one of these recipients who isn't featured in the high court scenes is Horatio, who (from the speaker-addressee graph) receives the majority of his honorific tokens from his friend, Hamlet, himself the Prince of Denmark. This suggests that honorifics are generally used in Klingon as markers of status. Hamlet's use of honorifics towards Horatio is interesting. After all, an honorific typically denotes that the speaker is lower in social status than the addressee. However, the only people who outrank a Prince in medieval society are the King and Queen, and Horatio isn't even a member of the Royal Family. I posit that Hamlet uses it to influence Horatio. The subverted use of an honorific serves to remind Horatio of what he means to Hamlet, and that Hamlet considers Horatio to be more important than he is.

Again, 'multi' appears as a popular target for honorifics. In this case, it comes from a variety of speakers, the majority of whom use it when addressing the Royal Court, at which the highest-ranking nobility in the land are in attendance. This is a matter of respect, tradition, and reality in the Medieval world, and it's unsurprising to see here.


For both Fear and Honorific affixes, Hamlet is the most popular target. Hamlet appears the most often of any character, so to a certain degree this is probably just the result of him being the protagonist and namesake of the play. He's also socially above the majority of the other characters, and presents as a coward at face value, so semantically it's also not entirely surprising that Hamlet is the most common target of fear or honorific affixes.

A future study could shore up or debunk any of these conclusions by analyzing the remaining two-thirds of the play. As noted in the Methods section, there really isn't a way with so few tokens to create a statistical understanding of the use of these affixes, only a rather subjective and qualitative understanding, based on quantitative analytical methods. The frequency effect hypothesis could also be tested by examining other affixes. If it turns out that Hamlet is the most frequent target for the majority of affixes, then it could probably be inferred from that that this is a frequency effect. However, if that doesn't turn out to be the case, then it would be prudent to seek another potential predictor for who receives what affixes.

Answering the Questions

How do speakers and addressees line up with the chosen affixes?

As noted in the results section, speakers seem largely random, but addressees are fairly concentrated and regular.

Are either or both an effective tool for predicting affix use?

From an exploratory, qualitative, and anecdotal examination, it appears that addressee is largely the determining factor in whether an affix is utilized. However, there was insufficient data to provide a definitive, statistical answer to thsi question.

Is affix use defined by culture or the needs of the text?

Generally speaking, there appear to be trends which indicate that both are a factor. Highly frequent characters receive affixes more often, but they also tend to present in-story reasons for that to occur. Without more data, there is no way to truly answer this question.