xenolinguist (zenə-liŋgwə̇st)

Nyota Uhura was portrayed by  Nichelle Nicols in the original Star Trek. Zoe Saldana currently portrays Uhura in the newer Star Trek movies. (Image from rottentomatoes.com)

Nyota Uhura was portrayed by Nichelle Nicols in the original Star Trek. Zoe Saldana currently portrays Uhura in the newer Star Trek movies. (Image from rottentomatoes.com)

Star Trek Beyond was released a few days ago and I couldn’t resist writing about one of my favorite Star Trek characters, Nyota Uhura. Lieutenant Uhura is the chief communications officer on the USS Enterprise. She is an expert in xenolinguistics and can speak and understand many alien languages, including Klingon and Romulan.

Xenolinguist comes from the Greek roots xeno-, meaning foreign, and lingu- meaning tongue. A xenolinguist is someone who is skilled in foreign languages, or in this case, alien languages.

I love this character because she is smart, beautiful, and strong.  Additionally, we both have a lot in common. We share a love of linguistics and our first names both mean “star.” Nyota means “star” in Swahili and Tara means “star” in Sanskrit. I would love to be a xenolinguist when I grow up!

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