Dissecting the Kilrathi Language


Rear Admiral
Hello fellow wingnuts! It’s been too long. How are you faring in these uncertain times?

Long ago, (in two colleges actually) I majored in cultural anthropology and minored in linguistics. Hs this gotten me a decent career job yet? Not really. Granted linguistics is more of a hobby for me than anything, but never the less - trained I am!

So one day I was sitting around, recalling the good old days of college, when I decide to do a little mental exercise. I’ll analyze the Killrathi language.

Why? For the lulz, of course.

Now, Kilrathi was never fleshed out as a full conlang (constructed language), instead owing its lexicon to a large number of authors. The end result? Chaos.

But you’ve got to start somewhere. So since the Wing Commander series is (for them most part) World War 2… IN SPACE! I feel it is not unwise to first compare Kilrathi to Japanese and German.

Now, before anyone loses their cool, let me say that I am going to do a LOT of speculating. Keep in mind that this is all theory and educated guess work based on the
LIMITED data we have, and I certainly welcome any and all creative feedback or opposing theories.

Finally, I want to warn you now that this is going to be LOOOOONG. So use the restroom, get a drink, make yourselves a sandwich, crank up Tiga & Zyntherius’ cover of “Sunglasses At Night” and read on!

So, without further a due, let’s begin with Kilrathi Ranks and Titles:

Firstly “Kal”, which supposedly means “lord”, appears to be used as “Senior”.
Nearly all the listed ranks or titles end with “-ar” or “-ahr”, which I assume to mean something like “leader” (the lone exception being “Kalahn”).

Base on the usage of these titles, I take “Shint” to mean “ship”, while “Khant” means “fleet”. Given the lofty position of a Kalralahr, I propose that “Kalral” mean “sector”.

Kal = lord / senior
-ar / -ahr = leader
Shint = ship
Khant = fleet
Kalral = sector
trathkh = tongues
hyilgh = assistant (?)
takh = equal (?)

Now let’s get into the language proper. We’ll start with a very easy one:

Thrak = Great / ultimate / noble / final / top.
Similar to German “Uber” or Japanese “Dai
See: tr'thrak, kn'thrak, thrak'hra, Thrak'Kilrah, Thrakhath

Assuming that the Kilrathi language uses compound words, we can examine the meaning of Crown Prince Thrakhath’s name.
When his name is spoken, actors consistently pronounce it “Thrak-hath”, emphasis on the “H” in “hath”.
Now let’s quickly examine another name whose meaning we already know, “dakhath” (Deathstroke). Assuming that “dakhath” isn’t a single word, we can separate it into “dak-hath”.

In both cases we wind up with the word “hath”, which could mean either “Death/Killing” or “Stroke/Blow”.
If this is the case, than Thrakhath’s name translates into something like ‘Final Blow’, ‘Great Death’, ‘Final Kill’, ect.

Nothing really definitive, but it’s a start.

-'hra / -'ra = Possible suffix meaning “person” or “people”, similar to Japanese “-jin” (Amerikajin) or “–aner” in German “Amerikaner“ ,
See: Kilrath'ra, Terran'ra, kilrah'hra, thrak'hra, hrai, Hraijhak

If this is the case, than the “i” in hrai could be a plural marker, but most likely it is some other sort of grammatical case marker, quite possible genitive (i.e. hrai = “My people”)

This brings us to another unique example. The name Kilrathi, presumably their own. In dialogue the word “Kilrath'ra” is mentioned, which following this train of logic would suppose it to mean something like “Killrathi people” or “Kilrathi persons”

Yet if I recall correctly, it was in the book False Colors that the term “Kil” was used for any member of the Kilrathi race.

Thus I take “kil” to mean something similar to “person” (a single individual, ie. any man), while the 'hra / 'ra suffix is used when regarding a collective group of people or number of unknown persons. This, however, creates the mystery of the “rath” portion of Kilrathi, though this MIGHT be explained by examining two other words: “Lerkrath” and “Kalkrath”.

Now, in order to avoid homonyms, I’m going to split them up as “Lerk” (Drug / Chemical), “Kalk” (Torture), and “Rath” (interrogation / question).
If this is the case, then the “Rath” in Kilrathi has something to do with “Interrogation” or “Question”. In the case of context, maybe it actually means “dominate”.
Perhaps if the “i” in “hrai” and “Kilrathi” is a genitive marker, than the name Kilrathi may translate into something like: “My people who question” or “My people who demand answers”.

Ok, so this sounds more than a little silly, but it also has a slight defiant ring to it. Again, I’m grasping at straws here.

The more poetic (and loose) translation give us: “My people who dominate.”
Probably more fitting with the Kilrathi character.

Moving on, let’s crack some sentences.

Our study of thrak and 'hra / 'ra have consequently brought us to the phrase:
"Ek'rah skabak erg Thrak'Kilrah maks Rag'nith."
“For the glory of Kilrah, the Emperor and the Empire.”

This sentence is worth note because two words are capitalizes, as though they are proper nouns in English, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Now, we know “skabak” is a word embodying the concept of “The will to die for the glory of Kilrah”, but in the context of the sentence, I take it to merely mean “the glory”.

Thrak'Kilrah”, which I take to mean “Great Kilrah”, could refer to both the planet and the Empire as a whole, similar to “Greater Germany”.

Incidentally the word “Rag'nith”, which is capitalized, could mean Emperor or Empire. Or in keeping with the Kilrathi’s highly stratified hierarchy, it could be said (in a poetic and political sense) that the Emperor IS the Empire, and that this word has more nuance than the direct translation leads us to believe.

Now, the sentence structure of Kilrathi is unknown, but a more accurate translation of “Ek'rah skabak erg Thrak'Kilrah maks Rag'nith”
might read:

(We/our) glory (toward/at/for) Great-Kilrah and Emperor/ Empire

If this is so, then it gives us:

Ek'rah = “Us, we people”, again see the -'hra / -'ra suffix
“erg” = "to, in, at, by" indirect object or direction marker, like the Japanese particle “ni”.
“maks” = “and” (some kind of linking word or connector (Japanese “to” and “ya”)

grammatical conjunction)

The ship name “Agon Ra Sivar”, which I take to mean “Glory of Sivar” presents us with a few other lexical items.

Agon = Glory (possible noun), praise, honor.
Ra = “of/for”, similar to the Japanese possession indicator partial “no”.

Multiple words for Glory? Well, its like they say, the more important something is to a culture, the more words they have for it.

For more little tidbits lets look at the phrase “Huma ta humas”.
While this is descried as being archaic form, I thought I’d include just the same (just as quite a bit of Latin is used in modern English).
Now, since (according to Action Stations) it appears to have a direct translation in Latin, we’ll use the Latin rather than the English:

Huma = this (compare Japanese “Kore”= This thing
Ta = for
Humas = that (compare Japanese “Sore”= That thing

Still with me? Ok. Let’s keep going.

Now, since we are fairly certain that “Thrak”is a word meaning “End-all, mother-of, ect.”, then the word “tr'thrak” and “kn'thrak” give us two new Kilrathi words/concepts:

tr'- = battle / struggle
kn' = Dark / nothing/ void

What’s next. Ah yes. The good old Kilrathi word for “Surrender”, "Trav'hra'nigath".
It means, roughly, “To grant the prize without struggle”. This is going to take some dancing around.

Ok. Now, unless it’s a homonym, “'hra” I guess is referring to an unknown number of people. The “'nigath” part, base solely on context, appears to mean a gift or present, presented from one to another. This translation gives us the more literal:
“Fight not / Not battle – they – grant prize/ give reward”

From the simple translation of “tr'thrak”, we get “trav”, which appears to mean “no fight”.

The “av” part threw me off, until I looked at the phrase "Va ka garga ka naru ha garga." Both have some kind of negative marker, and I realized that the difference could be a matter of metathesis, a common enough grammatical feature in many Native American languages.
-av” as a suffix appears to act as a negation, make a noun or a verb the negative form. Compare the Japanese verb "to be" ("arimasu") to its negative form (“arimasen”).

When use by itself, “va” appears to act as a negative adverb or adjective.

So, let’s dive into the phrase: "Va ka garga ka naru ha garga."
“Those not of the blood must have their blood spilt.”

Now, this could be translated many, many way, but I am inclined to translate “ka” as “blood” based on the meaning behind the words “ka'tagu” and “kaga

After much debate, I am leaning toward “ha” meaning “must”.
This is (rather weakly) supported by the sentence
"H'as aiy'hra n'hakh ri'kahri krikajj, nai korekh sha'yi."
“Beyond the eyes of my enemy, I shall prepare for the day of his destruction.”

Both sentences require some sort of verb in the infinitive, so both “Ha” and “H'as” appear to act as auxiliary verbs standing in for “must” and “will/shall”.
SEE: Humas, since the ‘s’ final appears to act as an accusative.

So the end result is something like:
“Not (of the) - blood – They (Their) – blood – spill –must – they

Va = Not / no
Ka = blood
Naru = spill / spilt
Ha = must
Garga = They / Them (in context used as ‘those’ and ‘their’) SEE BELOW

Now the “Ka” = “blood” idea is somewhat supported by the title “Ka'tagu, referring to the child of a soldier who performed a kamikaze action. My analysis?

Ka' = blood / (Spirit )
See: Ka'tagu, (possibly Kaga and kabaka)

Tagu = “Suicide attack” / kamikaze (noun or adjective)
See: Tagugar, Ka'tagu

Gar = Possible pronoun of some sort?
See: Tagugar (possibly Garga, SEE BELOW)
(I am trying very hard not to make any GaoGaiGar references)

In fact, comparing “Gar” and “Garga” makes me think of the Kilrathi cry of success “jak-ta Ga”. Perhaps “Ga” functions as an emphasis particle (like the Japanese “yo”), either free standing or attached to a word, or it could act as an accusative case or direct object marker. This could give us:

Gar = They / These
Garga = Them / Those

Ok. Now, what to say about "H'as aiy'hra n'hakh ri'kahri krikajj, nai korekh sha'yi."

Well, “H'as” as mentioned before, possibly means Will/shall. And if my ‘persons suffix’ is correct, then “aiy'hra” means ‘enemy’ (unknown plural, so “enemies”?)

Beyond that, I’m not sure of much else, other than the word/particle “nai” appears in this sentence, as well as in the question "Krajksh nai variksh h'hassrai?"

I haven’t even begun to crack this one, so….

One more note. The book title:
"Kilrah Tugaga Jak-Ta Haganaska duka McAuliffe"
“Kilrah launches a surprise attack on McAuliffe.”

Give us the word “duka” which based on its placement and being lower case, assume it to mean “on” or “at/toward”, either acting like the Japanese action indicator “de”or the destination indicator “e”.

I’m still not sure what “tugaga” or “haganaska” mean. Perhaps one is “launch” and the other “assault”?

Alright, This concludes my essay… for now.
Thoughts, good sirs?


Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I think it will take me a bit to take it all in, but it seems like a fun idea. A part of me is happy Kilrathi was never developed entirely into a proper language, and another part kind of wishes more words Kilrathi gramatical rules existed for future projects so things could be kept consistent.


Vice Admiral
This thread rules. Please go on with that.
I like how you try to give the words the meanings, and how you found it on assumptions so it sounds pretty plausible.
I can't wait to see more Kilrathi language :)


Vice Admiral
Interesting thread, and I'd encourage you to continue your musings. Only thing to watch out for, really, is contradictory material from across the series. Though the Kilrathi language you've outlined above seems pretty clear-cut and concise, you might find pieces of the language elsewhere that doesn't seem to tie-in at all, and simply made up by developers or writers...Especially in fanon I'd have thought.

I'll be keen to see more of this though, good job WCX, I hope that this thread gets the attention it deserves.


Mpanty's bane
That's a great read and a fun idea, please go on! Though of course, it really is only for fun because I don't think that there's actually a clear grammar or other rules behind the examples we'be given of the Kilrathi language.
What about the fighter names?

What could the names of the ships possibly mean in the Kilrathi language?

I have a theory for some of the WC1 ships:

thi - could possible refer to some kind of animal, for this purpose we will use tiger.

Sal - young
Dral - lesser
Jal - greater

so therefore:

Salthi - young tiger
Dralthi - lesser tiger
Jalthi - great tiger

Krant - Snake

Gratha - I don't know, Lion maybe?


Rear Admiral
If you run out of translations idea or references, you could try looking at Kzinti or Klingon... look for something similar (either by sound or meaning). I mean even among terran languages, there are phrases that just don't really translate well from one language to the next.

I remember one half-hour show on some U.S. channel bout 3 years back that went into what the Japanese word "Hentai" actually meant (no, it doesn't mean "porn" or "drawn porn"). In fact if I recall correctly, the word isn't even related to porn, but more like an adjective, like "bad" and/or "illegal" and/or "against proper codes of conduct".

Example: "Your art is hentai" is like saying "your art is horrible" (not horrible = bad, horrible as in like it looks like a baby drew it), or something like that. Depending entirely on how and where it was used, the sentence can be anything from "your porn is really well drawn" to "your art is ugly".

Its Americanized meaning is roughly "drawn porn of asian nature" or some such... but the original meaning is way different... kind of like comparing An Apple (fruit) to An Apple (computer). One might use the other as a logo (and as its brand name), but that doesn't mean you can go out into an orchard and find trees growing ipods or some wierd vice-versa.


Rear Admiral
Writing: Part 1

Funny thing, the word hentai. It’s a compound of “hen” (“weird" or "strange”) and “tai” ("attitude" or "appearance"). The term is used as a shortened form of the phrase “hentai seiyoku” ("sexual perversion"), but is usually used in slang as an insult meaning roughly "pervert" or "weirdo".

Saying “Hen dai yo.” to someone on the other hand, just means that they're a little weird / off kilter.

The beauty of linguistics.

Ice Cream Man, I like the idea, though these animal names would obviously have to be near Terran equivalents. Don’t want to call a rabbit a smeerp.

Some fighter names of note:

Salthi - light fighter
Hrakthi - weaponless, cloaking Salthis for recon ops

Well, both have (–thi). Ideas?

Vaktoth - heavy fighter
Zartoth - electronic warfare craft (uses same frame as Vaktoth)

Obviously, both share “-toth”. I wonder if this fighter’s name has anything to do with the
Vak pre-war fighter.

One of the first things one noticed when transitioning from WC1 to WC2, was the similarity in names of both fighter and capital ship classes.

Dralthi > Drakhri
Salthi > Sartha
Dorkir > Dorkathi
Ralari > Ralatha
Fralthi > Fralthra
Jalthi > Jalkehi
So on and so forth.

While there’s no exact patter, it appears to follow the “i” > “a” formula. Remember good old Fire Claw? Well, his name is Najji, and his son’s name is Najjath.

I have yet to do a comprehensive a comparison of all listed Kilrathi names, but they might bare a similarity to Japanese names:

In Japanese, male names often end in “-rō”( son, bright),“-ta” (great, thick) , or “dai” (great, large).
The can also contain “ichi” or “kazu” (First [son]) or “ji”(second [son] / next)
Common male name endings are -shi and -o; names ending with -shi are often adjectives

Japanese female names often end in “-ko” (child),“-mi” (beauty), “-ka” ("scent, perfume / flower) or “-na” (Greens (planlife))

But I digress.

Anyway, it's funny that Klingon got mentioned, as I’ll launch into the next portion of my analysis: Writing!

OK, This one isn’t going to be easy, but I though I’d start by examining the text seen in the games. ( The movie text and its English translation can be found here: https://www.wcnews.com/articles/art18.shtml )

Actually, after looking at both for some time, there are slight similarities between the writing found in the games and the one used in the movie. It’s possible that they’re both part of the same writing system, or that they exist separately for different sub-languages / cultures.

Anyway, back on topic.
It took me a bit of time and effort, but I was able to make “enhanced” versions of the text seen on the computer screen readout used for the WC Card Game. It has been placed next to its original entry for comparison.

( For a view of the cards themselves, check out this link: http://ccg.jetlag.us/main.php )

If the Kilrathi cards are like their Terran counterpart, than they will list:

NAME: (What it is)
TYPE: (Missile, system, ect.)
TACVAL: (tactical value? Rated from high to low, I guess)

Please feel free to make any comparison between the card writings. If you can discover a common symbol or series of symbols for a word, like “missile” or “stealth/cloak, then all the more power to you!

“Loadout selection”

Reaper Cannon:

Fang Friend or Foe Missile:

Claw Image Recognition Missile:

Skipper Missile:

NOTE: Presumably somewhere in here it says: “vrag'chath” (Cloaked missile)

Stealth Technology:

Improved Tac Computers:

Improved Shields:

Improved Comms:


Torpedo mount

Hmm. It looks like Klingon...


But something’s amiss. I can’t quite put my finger on…Wait a minute!


There we go. That’s money.


Oh stop your whining!
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Rear Admiral
Writing: Part 2

Well, we at least know the character for “Deathstroke”

And possibly the character for “Glory”.

But there are some bits of Kilrathi Cuneiform-Kanji that might be emblematic. For example:

The Emperor’s throne appears to be engraved with red glowing glyphs, possibly eight, in which case they might be the emblems for the eight noblest clans.



Note the similarity to the bottom right red glyph and the bronze emblem at the base. If there was a symbol representing the ruling clan, than this would be a good guess.

Thrakhath and his peeps.

Note that the middle character on the display looks like one of glyphs on the emperor’s throne. I have nothing to say about it, other than spotting the similar shape.

Also, the unknown glyph seen on the Tome of Sivar.

Note the usual “claw” writing, oddly enough engraved OVER the tablet’s text.
But wait. What’s this? The writing on the tome appears to be an archaic form, which look a bit like…


Ok. Can we please direct the waffle-headed warrior aliens away from our giant warrior space cats?


Moving on.

I’ve always wondered what exactly is the nature of the standard Kilrathi emblem.


We see it everywhere. But what does it mean?

When I first saw it, I figured that it must be an overlay of all the clan markings, sort of like how the Union Jack of the United Kingdom is an overlay of the English, Scottish, and Northern Irish flags.

Others have proposed that this is the symbol of the Kiranka clan. This is somewhat supported by the Confederation Handbook, which states that ships bearing markings of all the major noble clans have been seen. But newer (and more powerful) warships are bearing the markings of the Imperial clan, indicating an ongoing centralization of strategic forces.

However, the Card game shows it used for an award called “Icon of Sivar”

This presents a third possibility; that the sigil might be some sort of religious symbol.
Its presence and placement might be akin to a cross (as in Crucifix), which were slapped on virtually everything by Medieval European kingdoms, especially during the crusades. (Which would make the Icon of Sivar something like an Iron Cross.)

Note its presence in the audience hall, both on the floor and above the neon writing on the far wall.


Worthy of note is this similar glyph:


Seen in a similar “thorn circle”pattern on the floor of the room containing the Tome of Sivar.


And above the Tome on a yellow and red banner

In the end, nothing conclusive, but certainly food for thought.


Finder of things, Doer of stuff
So far, this is my favorite thread in a long while. It makes sense that the stuff on the tome would be a simpler form of text though as it's hundreds or thousands of years removed from modern kilrathi writing.

Also, the unknown glyph seen on the Tome of Sivar.


And above the Tome on a yellow and red banner

The first thing that stood out to me is that the sybol overlaid on the Tome is actually just a simpler version of the one on the wall and floor... just take off the extraneous smaller pieces and you have the same symbol: It's the dominant part of the symbol on the floor.


Rear Admiral
If I remember right, the first (used on the red card) was usually the "Empire" symbol, mainly used though as the Clan Kiranka symbol since the current Emperor is of that clan.

The second is also (later on) used as the "Assembly of Clans" symbol that Melek used (after WC3's destruction of Kilrah).

Possibly since the second has a simplier (3 claw) version on the tablet, it probably is the basis for the species symbol.

So the one on the tablet is simply "Kilrathi".
The Melek-modified version becomes "Assembly of Kilrathi Clans"

And then each of the 8 great clans has its own partial-symbol from it.

If I recall the Tomes of Sivar website right, yeah, the 8 glowing symbols on the throne are the 8 symbols of the 8 great clans (or so says the site... though its clan info is par with WC1 to WC3, and doesn't really say who has what power or nobility after the fall of Kilrah)

== analyzing the throne ==

upper left..... upper right
(when viewing throne... "left" side being the side behind the Emperors staff/thing)

nar Ki'ra .......... nar Kurutak
nar Sihkag....... nar Ragitagha
? ..................... nar Sutaghi
? ...................... nar Qarg

So the two left that are half-hidden behind the staff would be nar Caxki and nar Kiranka (though from what we can see, neither really looks like the images given on the Tomes site for those two clans.

Placement is also kind of odd. Consider how Sihkag is second from top, yet their clan is considered lowest of the 8, and Kurutak (considered 2nd lowest, barely above the lowly Sihkag) actually has a top position. Yet the Ki'ra, (most noble) holds an upper position.

If clan rank was like this:
1 2
3 4
5 6
7 8

or even
1 5
2 6
3 7
4 8

then you'd expect to see Sihkag and Kurutak either as the bottom on each side, or lowest two on one side, or even in the upper slots (if being "further" from the actual seat meant less nobility, and closer to where you sit being "greater" nobility, putting the #1 and #2 spots lowest and #'s 7 and 8 at the top, barely on the throne at all) ... but they aren't arranged that way, nor are they arranged alphabetically, nor by raw population, nor clan strength...

...which means we can determine one of these two be true...

(1) clan symbols on the throne are totally random, OR
(2) clan symbols were made to look random (but arranged a specific way by a lower class simply cause they did the physical labor, as such they "happened" to "randomly" put their own clan in a position giving them more prestige than they should have had), OR
(3) the groupings mean something (the long-standing Qart/Ragitagha fued would suggest them on opposing sides... so the fued could be a false pretense, or the arrangement is before the fued, etc), or the left-side vs right-side split could be a social split, or religous split, etc, OR
(4) Tomes of Sivar (and others) have the wrong clan symbols assigned to names, OR
(5) ancient clan history had things vastly different than they are now (providing the throne is ancient and hasn't been remodeled since the time of the first emperor). This would suggest that the Sihkag and Kurutak had far better wealth and/or nobility back in the time of the first emperor (or whenever the throne was made).

from Tomes of Sivar "8 great clans" page:

nar Caxki- The nar Caxki clan, the most recent clan to rule the Kilrathi Empire, following the
Eighth Dynastic War that was caused by the destruction of the Kiranka clan on Kilrah, is known for its battle prowess. Owner's of most of the frontier worlds that bordered the Confederation during the Kilrathi War, their ability to repel Terran invaders earned them the respect accorded by all Kilrathi, a submission to strength. Shortly before the Kilrathi attack on Earth, many of the clans felt that they shared an unequal burden in the war, due to a plan begun by Confed to pay special attention to striking territories owned by the Caxki, and added to the underlying tensions which would later cause the Empire to go to war with each other. The Caxki seized the throne due to the fact that the majority of the inner world Kilrathi fleet was annihalated in the attack on Kilrah, and the warships protecting the frontier became the only Kilrathi ships of note in existence, with the Caxki controlling these fleets.

nar Qarg- The Qarg are easily one of the more warlike of the eight, but seem to have a degree of rationale and intelligence concerning battle that their warrior-superiors, the Caxki, lack. It seems most likely that it was the Qarg who first encountered the Mantu, as they have villified them to an almost demonic proportion. There is a long standing feud between the Qarg and the Ragitagha.

nar Kiranka- One of the more interesting clans due to their long-time control over the Kilrathi Empire, the Kiranka were once considered one of the lower clans, just above the lowest, the Sihkag, and their one-up superiors, the Kurutak. The Kiranka seized control of the Kilrathi Empire during the Seventh Dynastic War by defeating the Ki'ra and ousting them from the throne. It is believed by many of the Kilrathi that the Ki'ra were never content in their status as subservient to another clan, seeing this as a fluke of a battle lost ages ago. The Utara came to the Kilrathi world shortly after the Kiranka seized power and gave them the gift of space travel. One of the Kiranka's first actions was to see to the annihalation of the Utara. The last of the Kiranka rulers, Prince Thrakhath, was killed shortly before the destruction of the Kilrathi homeworld.

nar Ragitagha- The Ragitagha are known for their perhaps overly-developed sense of superiority to others, as well as being one of the noblest clans, second only to the Ki'ra. The Ragitagha are also one of the most wide-spread clans of the Kilrathi, owning several primary, colonial, and outpost worlds. This has caused a vast amount of offshoots of the Ragitagha, and the nar Hhallas clan is one of these offshoots. The nar Hhallas clan is probably best known for its lords, Ralgha nar Hhallas. The Ragitagha are long-standing enemies of the Qarg clan.

nar Ki'ra- This clan is the undisputed noblest clan of the eight great clans. They are known for their intellectual prowess, as well as their espionage system. The Ki'ra play a key role in designing their ships and weapons, gathering intelligence, and attempting to find any weaknesses in other races that they can exploit. The former Baron of the Ki'ra clan, Baron Jukaga, is known for masterminding the armistice that preceeded the Battle of Earth. The Ki'ra are perhaps one of the most territory-poor clans, it is believed that this is an indirect punishment from the Kiranka while the Kiranka retained power.

nar Kurutak- the nar Kurutak are considered one of the lower clans, just above the lowest of the low, the Sihkag. This clan truly has little significance on the Kilrathi's history or their current status. Often relegated to support positions in battle, the Kurutak maintain their status only through their boot-licking of the Kilrathi Imperial Throne.

nar Sutaghi- The Sutaghi are a powerful clan, perhaps even the second most noble in the council of eight, depending on who you ask. Owners of several of the highly developed inner worlds of the Kilrathi Empire, the Sutaghi are always capable of turning a setback for them into one that other clans will have to solve for them.

nar Sihkag- Last and least are the lowly Sihkag. Known for multiple matings with lowly Kilra'hra, they are considered the lowest of the eight great clans.The Sihkag are mainly relegated to the role of liaison between the great clans and the common Kilrathi, as well as the police force. The Sihkag are also generally considered not warriors, in body as well as mind, they do not truly grasp how to fight. The Sihkag have no enemies in that it is considered a disgrace for any of the other noble clans to lower themselves by fighting with them.


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Unknown Enemy
Keep in mind, the Tomes of Sivar website freely interprets (and outright makes up) a lot of stuff. I wouldn't put any faith at all into their interpretation of the symbols on the Emperor's throne - unless someone can point to another source, it's completely certain they made that up.


Mpanty's bane
If you're going at the writing then the Dralthi II cockpit comes to mind, the lines and dots next to the VDUs.

Also, the Kor-larh cockpit shows on the left side some symbols.


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Rear Admiral
Language update!

First off, I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone for their warm feelings and show of support. You guys are the best.
NOTE: Nice catch on the glyph similarity AD.

While we (and by ‘we’ I mostly mean ‘I’) may be doing this for fun in my free time, let us not forget how many little, seemingly inconsequential things from the CIC were canonized by Star*Soldier when Arena came out.

Anyway, onward and upward.

First off, the sentence:
"Kamekh ni'lakh, ki'ha rakra Terran'ra."
We (Kamekh) are under attack by Terran pirates.

Ok, that’s not exactly what it says. In the game this is actually an incomplete sentence, as Blair interrupts them mid-transmission and they switch to English just before they get blown up.

Well, assuming that ni’lakh is the name of the ship, then they are referring to themselves as Corvette Ni’lakh (recall Return of the Jedi’s “Shuttle Tydirium”). This allows us to whittle the sentence down to the more manageable: “ki'ha rakra Terran'ra”.

Ok. Well, “Terran'ra” refers to Terrans (Obviously), and based on my earlier “ha” example, I’ll say that “ki’ha” is an auxiliary verb meaning “are” or “being” . This leaves us with “rakra”which I can only surmise as meaning “attacked by “or engaged with”.

ki'ha = Are / being
rakra = Attacked by / Engaged in combat with
Terran'ra = Terrans.

Next, the sentence
"Kir'kha n'ikh rakh k'har, Sharhi nar Hhallas."
I, Sharhi of Hhallas, swear to avenge my honor.

Well, removing the decorative first person pronoun, and the obvious name, we’re left with: "Kir'kha n'ikh rakh k'har”

I’m not certain as to the translation of “rakh”. The main problem lies with the fact that it not only appears in this sentence, but it’s also used in the untranslated sentence where Jazz rats out the Concordia.
After miring over these seemingly different conversation pieces, I’m taken a middle road and settled on “rakh” meaning “honor” or “honorable”.

Thus Jazz’s “Kilrath'ra rakh” becomes “honorable Kilrathi”. Always a good idea to brownnose the other guys if you’re selling out your species. More on this in a bit.

While I’m not positive on most of the translation, I am fairly certain on “n’ikh” being some sort of personal pronoun, in this case I (or at least in context, the possessive “my”).

Building off of this, and my translation of the ship name Agon Ra Sivar, I’ve figured the ship name Ras Nik’hra to mean something like “Of my people” or “For my people” .

Firstly this is based on my translation of "Ek'rah skabak erg Thrak'Kilrah maks Rag'nith", with “ek’rah” = “we /us / our.
Secondly, on my proposed “–s” final suffix acting as some kind of accusative, or at least an intensifier.

While essentially the same, the translation for “Nik’hra” differs from “hrai” in the essence of its meaning: The word “hrai” is a noun referring to one’s people, while “nik’hra” takes it one step further by (probably) meaning “my hrai”. Thus it’s my theory that the ship’s name probably comes from an old phrase or battle cry, most likely shortened from “I do this for the honor of my people!” or some such.

Anyway, back to “Kir'kha n'ikh rakh k'har”.
Well, this sentence leaves us with two unknown words ( “kir’kha” and “k’har”), one of which means “swear/vow”, and the other “reclaim/avenge”.

More as this develops.

Now, the next sentence is "K'rakh drish'kai rai h'ra!"
Obviously some sort of command, whose meaning is derived from context, possible being “stop/stay where you are!”, though this can’t be certain.

Keeping with the “rakh” = “honor” idea, and using the “kn’-” example to represent an absence of something, then I reckon “K’rakh” to mean “Dishonorable”. “h'ra” appears to mean “people”, so from these two pieces we gather that the sentence might be more along the lines of “Hold it right there, you dirty rats” or some such.

More as this develops.

n’ikh = I / me /
rakh = honor / honorable
K’rakh = dishonorable.

Next we have "Ja'lra rash'nakh h'rai?"

Ok, this one is even harder. Granted that Hunter’s little-big friend Kirha (offhandedly) indirectly translated this for him as: “Why are you consorting with a human?”

In actuality, it appears to be closer to meaning “Why aren’t you with your /our people?” meaning “What are you doing here, hanging out with these aliens?”

So what does it mean? Well, I’m assuming wildly that “h’rai” is just “hrai” (my people / one’s people).

“Nakh” is a bit trickier.
It appears in the ship name Ras Nakhar, and appears as part of the phrase “krahnakh ghayeer “, which supposedly means “unseen death” but is probably closer to “very sudden demise”

As for Ras Nakhar, if the “–ar” ending holds up as “leader”, then “nakhar” probably means “doom leader” or “sudden leader”. “Of the / From Doom Leader” sounds more Kilrathi, so working with that, “nakh” becomes “demise”, and I can only guess that “rash’-” means “wish/desire”
“Ja’lra”, I ‘m guessing, is an interrogative of some kind (“why”), but not positive.
So the end result might be something along the lines of:
“Why (you) wish the demise (of) our people?”
That is to say, “why are you helping the enemy?”

A bit different than the translation given by Kirha, but then I’d like to invoke a nice little anecdote:

In the Bill Murray film “Lost in Translation”, Bill Murray’s character is on the set for a TV commercial for Suntory whiskey, along with a Japanese director and an interpreter. In several exchanges, the director speaks several long sentences with passion, followed by a brief, inadequate translation from the interpreter. The scene (like all the film's Japanese dialogue) is played without subtitles.

Director [in Japanese, to the interpreter]: The translation is very important, O.K.? The translation.

Interpreter [in Japanese, to the director]: Yes, of course. I understand.

Director [in Japanese, to Bill]: You are sitting quietly in your study. And then there is a bottle of Suntory whisky on top of the table. You understand, right? With wholehearted feeling, slowly, look at the camera, tenderly, and as if you are meeting old friends, say the words. As if you are Bogie in Casablanca, saying, "Here's looking at you, kid," -- Suntory time!

Interpreter [In English, to Bill]: He wants you to turn, look in camera. O.K.?

Bill: Is that all he said?

Fun times.

Remember kids, K’rakh is W’ack :cool:


Rear Admiral
Kilrathi Language Notes: Not Dead yet!

Note in novel Action Stations, when a native English-speaking Human speaks Kilrathi, the Kilrathi themselves find the Humans to be “lisping and high-pitch”.

Ok, so we gather that the Kilrathi generally speak in lower tones, and also communicate by low-frequency growls, as heard in the WC3 cinematic.

But what about this Kilrathi lisp on part of the English-speaker?
Well, first let’s examine this speech impediment.

There are basically four types of lisps:

1. The Interdental (frontal) lisp
An interdental lisp (or frontal lisp) is produced when the tip of the tongue protrudes between the front teeth and the air-flow is directed forwards. Thus the /s/ and /z/ sound like 'th'.

Interdental /s/
Words such as 'soup', 'missing' and 'pass', which all contain the voiceless alveolar fricative consonant /s/ are pronounced 'thoop', 'mithing' and 'path'. The voiceless 'th' [θ] sound that occurs in a word like 'thing' (or a sound very much like it) replaces the /s/.

Interdental /z/
Words like 'zoo', 'easy' and 'buzz' which all contain the voiced alveolar fricative consonant /z/ are pronounced 'thoo', 'eethee' and 'buth'. The voiced 'th' [ð] sound that occurs in a word like 'them' (or a sound very much like it) replaces the /z/.

2. 'Dentalised lisp'
A variation on the Interdental lisp, a 'Dentalised lisp' is produced when the tip of the tongue rests on, or pushes against, the front teeth, the air-flow is directed forwards, producing a slightly muffled sound.

3. Lateral lisp
The "lateral" lisp, where the tongue position is very close to the normal position for /l/ and the /s/ and /z/ sounds are produced with the air-flow directed over the sides of the tongue. Because of the way it sounds, this sort of lisp is sometimes referred to as a 'slushy ess' or a 'slushy lisp' due to the 'wet' or 'spitty' sound.
The symbols for these lateralized sounds are in the Extended International Phonetic Alphabet for speech disorders, [ʪ] and [ʫ]. Notably the former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, has this type of lisp.

4. Palatal lisp
Palatal lisps are not found in typical speech development. Here, the mid-section of the tongue comes in contact with the soft palate, quite far back. If you try to produce a [ç] - or a 'h' closely followed by a 'y', and prolong it (the ‘h’ in English ‘hue’ or Japanese ‘hito’), you more or less have the sound.


So basically Humans apparently have problems pronouncing Coronal or Fricatives. Additionally
Kilrathi appears to be a rather guttural language, spoken from the back of the mouth and throat rather than the front (for the most part).

Why is pronunciation important? Because it ties into the written transcription of the language.
Now, examine the canonical Kilrathi Lexicon chart:
You will find a few words using the characters C and X (the banes of English).

Now, the letter X is WIDELY used in the English transcription of many, many language, usually used to represent complex or uncommon sounds when compared to English.
Now, based on present combinationsfound on the list, I think its safe to say that X does not represent the ‘sh’, ‘zh’, ‘kh’, ‘ch’, ‘z’, ‘s’, or ‘j’ sounds.
Based on the number of apostrophes in Kilrathi, I assume that it isn’t some kind of glottal stop.

Thus we are left with few possibilities. X could simply enough represent a ‘ks’ or ‘ksh’ sound.

It could also represent a voiceless pharyngeal fricative [ħ]

Or it could represent the voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative /ɕ/.

Compare this to the ‘sh’ [ʃ] in 'sheep'

The difference in sounds could lead to the perception of a lisp.

The same applies to C, which apparently differs from ‘k’ or ‘s’.
Based on other language that uses the letter, we’re mostly left with the possibility of C representing any one of the ‘sk’, dzh, ‘ts’ sounds.

Anyway, back to the language’s lexicon.

Since I see some of your eyes glazing over, I think I’ll simplify things a bit by listing a condensed lexical list.
I’ve divided it into two columns; one for near absolute translations (or closest to), and a second for speculative and rather uncertain translations.


n’ikh = I / me / my
Nik’hra = my people
Ek'rah = Us / we people

-'hra / -'ra = persons / people (suffix referring to an unknown number of people)

ki'ha = Are / being
Ha = must
H'as = Will/shall
Ra = of/for (possession indicator partial)
Ras = of / for
Ta = for
Huma = this
Humas = that
Gar = They / These
Garga = Them / Those
Duka = on /at / toward (action or destination indicator)
Erg = to / in / at / by (indirect object or direction marker)
Maks = and (some kind of linking word or connector)

Va = Not / no (a negative adverb or adjective)
-av = suffix to make a noun or a verb the negative form.
K’- = prefix denoting the absence or lack of something
-i = genitive case marker (?)
–s = final suffix acting as some kind of accusative / intensifier (?)

rakra = Attacked by / Engaged in combat with
tr'- = battle / struggle
kn' = Dark / nothing/ void
Thrak = Great / ultimate / noble / final / top.
Kal = lord / senior
-ar / -ahr = leader
Shint = ship
Khant = fleet
Kalral = sector
trathkh = tongues
hyilgh = assistant (?)
takh = equal (?)
Kil = person
Lerk = Drug / Chemical
Kalk = Torture
Rath = interrogation / question/ dominance
rakh = honor / honorable
K’rakh = dishonorable
Naru = spill / spilt
'nigath = a gift or present, presented from one to another.
Ka' = blood / (Spirit )
Tagu = “Suicide attack” / kamikaze (noun or adjective)
Rag'nith = Empire / Emperor
Agon = Glory / praise / honor.

Uncertain translation:
aiy'hra = enemies (?)
tugaga = launch / engage in
haganaska = assault
Krah- = very (?)
Nakh = doom / demise (?)
Ghayeer = unseen / sudden (?)
rash’ = wish/desire (?)
Ja’lra = An interrogative of some kind (“why”) (?)

“Dak” and “hath”
One means “Death/Killing” and the other “Stroke/Blow”.

“kir’kha” and “k’har”
One means “swear/vow” and the other “reclaim/avenge”.

Now, a little time on the writing.


The Kilrathi language is for the most part ideographic— each symbol representing a word or idea, as do the characters of the Chinese language. However, in this language, the dots and small squares in each ideograph appear to act as modifiers that alter the meaning of the main symbol— they have been observed to appear in different places and combinations around the main graph.

The Kilrathi writing system was first seen in the cockpit of a captured Dralthi fighter. The language is written in sets of four vertical lines. Each vertical line comprises a full line, a split line or a shorter line with a dot above or below it. This set of four lines creates a single syntactic element. Vertical sets of the four-line pictograph equivalents are sentences.

My analysis:
Now, the line about Chinese is a bit incorrect, as many Chinese characters also have morphemic and often phonetic significance. Indeed, written Chinese uses logograms rather than ideograms, but this is a simplification to help us better grasp written Kilrathi.

The use of additional markings around a character to change its meaning is a practice common to abjads, most notably Hebrew, Arabic, and Ge’ez , wherein the number and placement of dashes or dots indicates the vowel to be placed alongside the consonant.

Kilrathi is written vertically in columns (as seen in the Card Game), similar to classic Japanese.

However, in WC3, we see writing in gold scrolling horizontally.

Unless this is code or some human text, it represents an interesting possibility.
I always though it implied that the text written in the WC movie was just laid out horizontally for the artistic translation into English. However, just as in modern Japanese, its possible that Kilrath can be written vertically OR horizontally.

Speaking of which, an interesting analysis of the Kilrathi text seen in the movie can be found here.

While I must salute all parties involved in such an analysis, I fear that they may have relied too heavily on a direct translation between subtitles.
When translating between languages, a blind translation will give you all sort of false leads.
Rather, it’s important to look at the concepts and the context in which they are used. A military command might sound like flowery prose (and vice versa) if you translated it directly.

Some written words:


“Glory / Praise / Honor”


“Death Stroke”


Unknown character found twice in Kilrathi holy shrine room.


Unknown Character, possibly “Kn’thrak”
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Unknown Enemy
Now, a little time on the writing.
I think we must accept that there are at least three, possibly four unique systems of writing in use by the Kilrathi:
1. The one we see in the WCP intro. This system of writing also appears in a few earlier scenes - possibly the WC3 scene you mentioned, but mainly in the cockpit art from Academy (the game) and Armada. I don't remember if it appeared in the WC1 Dralthi cockpit. Needless to say, the Academy and Armada cockpits probably featured entirely different signs, because they were created by different artists at Origin - but these writing types certainly resemble each other enough to qualify as one system, regardless of their evolution on the game development end of the universe.
2. The one mentioned in the Kilrathi saga manual. Now, this may be a question of confusion - it may be that this is the same writing system as #1, but merely described in such a way that it sounds like something completely different. For the sake of simplicity, we probably should assume this is the case, and knock this one off the list.
3. The one seen in the card game - stylistically a bit similar to #1, but most definitely different enough to qualify as a different writing system. Sadly, it may be that this is actually some form of Klingon turned-upside-down or something - but let's not let this dirty secret of the developers bother us too much, since it has no bearing inside the WC universe.
4. The one seen in the WC Movie, and described in the Confed Handbook. Where the three systems described above could ultimately be argued (if we really were desperate to cut down the number of writing styles) to all represent the same thing, merely created by different developers, this system absolutely cannot be squeezed into that box. It's different - wildly different. Unlike the other systems, which may or may not be alphabetic (at the very least, #1 most definitely is), this one is apparently ideographic.

I'd like to throw another consideration into this thread. We see different Kilrathi writing systems - this is not surprising. After all, when humans have so many writing systems, and when some human civilisations (e.g., the Koreans, the Japanese) make use of multiple writing systems simultaneously, why should the Kilrathi be any different?

But, more importantly, we also hear different Kilrathi languages in speech. More specifically, we hear the Kilrathi speaking in the Movie, and they sound like a bunch of excited seals. We never hear the Kilrathi speak more than one or two words from the written lexicon we saw in the Kilrathi Saga manual or elsewhere, but it is clear that these phrases would sound nothing like the seal-growls we hear in the Movie (just try to imagine "kn'trhak" thrown into a sentence from the Movie - "auwk, auwk, auwk, kn'thrak, auwk, auwk, auwk").

Now, there does appear to be some kind of language that all Kilrathi recognise as common to them (we certainly hear a few characters refer to the "Kilrathi" language). But clearly, there are other Kilrathi dialects or even full-blown languages. Again, given the wealth of human languages, this is not surprising. It is, however, something of a bother for us, because it means that in our analysis, we're probably merging different dialects and languages together. Take, for example, those two sentences from WC2, about Sharhi nar Hhallas - since this comes from a "classical" text, then its relation to 27th century Kilrathi may be similar to the relation between middle and modern English. Sharhi nar Hhallas, in other words, may be the hero of the Kilrathi equivalent of the Canterbury Tales, and that's an important warning - let's be careful, lest we wind up concluding that "auctoritee" and "authority" are two different words ;).