Dissecting the Kilrathi Language

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by WCX, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. WCX

    WCX Rear Admiral

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    I completely agree with your assessments. It is indeed a fine line we are treading.

    The phrase “huma ta humas”, which is stated to be from an archaic form of the language.
    This might also be an example of comparing Old English to Modern English, which is sure to create problems itself.
    There’s also the possibility that certain names or phrases are so old or obscure that the real meaning behind the word is long since forgotten. This occurs in Modern Japanese, with many of the greetings and pleasantries reach so far back into the mists of time that few today know the actually meaning behind the word for “hello”.

    However, some or all of these ‘archaic’ words might still be used by certain circles. For example, Latin is a like an aunt (or maybe great-aunt) to English, yet English makes use of quite a Latin words and phrases (mostly in legal and writing circles).

    Mainly, I set out to decipher as much of the language as I could with the limited lexical pool. Granted this may lead to many false ends, but at least it’s a start, as I attempt to derive possible meanings from words or sentences with hereunto unknown meanings.



    As for the writing styles, there are a few vague similarities between the WC3 / CCG writing style and that seen in the movie, though if there is any relation it’s probably similar to Latin and Cyrillic alphabets deriving from the Greek one.

    The only time we see two different writing systems used together are on the Tome of Sivar. But undoubtedly there exists three distinct writing systems employed by the Kilrathi. It’s possible that The Kilrathi use these different writing systems interchangeably for different reasons or functions.



    For a historical human example, lets look at the Ancient Egyptians, who used three (four I guess) different writing systems in their history:

    -Hieroglyphs (“Sacred Carvings”), which represent real or illusional elements, sometimes stylized and simplified, but all generally perfectly recognizable in form.
    However, the same sign can, according to context, be interpreted in diverse ways: as a phonogram (phonetic reading), as a logogram, or as an ideogram (semagram; "determinative") (semantic reading). The determinative was not read as a phonetic constituent, but facilitated understanding by differentiating the word from its homophones.

    -Hieratic ("priestly writing"), was a cursive writing system (not to be confused with cursive hieroglyphs) developed alongside the hieroglyphic system, used only for religious texts.

    -Demotic (document writing) which was used for literary and religious purposes, and would influence the design of many letters in the later Coptic alphabet.




    Japanese is an even more complicated example, with no less than 5 writing systems uses in its history (nearly all at the same time!). These include:

    -Kanji, which literally means "Han characters", is the Japanese name for the
    Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system.


    -Katakana, "fragmentary kana", a syllabarie derived from components of more complex Kanji. For a long time katakana was used alongside Kanji for official documents.
    Today it is used only for writing foreign words and names.


    -Hiragana, a syllabarie also derived from the more complex Kanji, this fluid style known as “women’s writing” would later be used for unofficial writing such as personal letters, though it was later used for more than a few literary works.
    Today it is used for writing native Japanese words and names.


    - There also exists a style called Hentaigana, ("variant kana") which are historical variants of modern standard hiragana and were used more or less interchangeably with their standard equivalents on an ad hoc, individual basis until 1900, when the hiragana syllabary was standardized.

    Hentaigana are considered obsolete, but a few marginal uses remain. For example, many soba shops use hentaigana to spell “kisoba” on their signs. Hentaigana are used in some formal handwritten documents, particularly in certificates issued by classical Japanese cultural groups (e.g., martial art schools, etiquette schools, religious study groups, etc.). Also, they are occasionally used in reproductions of classic Japanese texts, or like blackletter in English and other Germanic languages to give an archaic flair. However, most Japanese people are unable to read hentaigana, only recognizing a few from their common use in shop signs, or figuring them out from context.


    -Rōmaji, the use of the Latin alphabet to write the Japanese language. Unfortunately, there are several slightly different systems out there.


    -Furthermore, Indo-Arabic numerals are used interchangeably with Chinese ones.



    I for one would not find it strange at all to see two or more of the Kilrathi writing styles used in tandem. It’s possible that the “line and dash” style seen in the cockpit is supposed to represent the style seen in the movie. It could also be related to the archaic for seen on the Tome of Sivar. If this is the case, then it could mean that this style, like the Hentaigana, represents an archaic for.
    It could also be a form used by the religious (female?) portion of Kilrathi society.
    If this is the case, then the writing in the Kilrathi cockpit might be a poem or holy charm or some sort.



    Lets see…


    Ok, so I laughed at the “excited seal” part.


    Maybe I just have an ear for these things, but I actually hear snippets of Japanese or possibly Korean in the Kilrathi dialogue. Granted the “excited seal” sound comes from the fact that the Kilrathi in the movie speak in an eerily flanged, deepened register (the hallmark of any bad guy). As heard in the movie and in WC3, the Kilrathi do quite a bit of sub vocalization, low pitch growls and such (and the Emperor sounded like a bobcat or maybe this unpleasant feline: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UBNBfJjbBE&feature=related )

    Anyway, try listening to the Kilrathi dialogue an force yourself to ignore or hear-through the ‘excited seal’ sounds and you will hear distinct words being spoken.
    I know it sounds like growly gobbledygook, but that’s close to what Hunter described in Freedom Flight, and matches the nearly unpronounceable dialogue listed in the same novel.

    Again, I’m not saying that these two are necessarily the same thing. To date, I have yet to find a part of the official Kilrathi lexicon or any discoveries of my own appearing in the movie. But I think the movie and the games provide some clues as how to speak it.

    Try saying "K'rakh drish'kai rai h'ra!" like you’re gargling some marbles and you get similar ‘excited seal’ sounding dialogue.

    The clean-cut “kn’thrak” lacks the other Kilrathi vocal features. If you read it as a word in English, you wouldn’t get the same sound. I guess a comparison is to listen to Hobbes, Thrakhath, and Melek speak English. Note how it sounds a little…off.

    While it would be nice to see an IPA system set up for “non-human sounds”, I guess we just have to wing it.
     
  2. WCX

    WCX Rear Admiral

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    Ok, I’ve been working on this for a bit, and I’ve nearly gone crazy.

    Here are the only translated samples we have of the movie variety of written Kilrathi.

    [​IMG]

    Deciphering language is just like deciphering a code. You look for patterns. So I’ve done just that. I think the picture is self explanatory.

    [​IMG]

    Now, the main problem is that I’m unsure of the spacing between some of the characters. The proximity between two characters might mean that they are part of a word or sentenced, or (as I said before) could just be spaced out to better suit the English subtitles.
    Because of this spacing issue, there are a few character combinations that could go one way or another; that is to say, they could be character combinations, or they could be stand alone characters.

    So far, there are only three characters or combinations thereof that appear to represent concrete ideas.

    [​IMG]

    One character appears to be used for both “Coordinates” and “Solution”, indicating that the word itself represents an electronic lock or fix on a designated point or target.

    Now, the two characters for “Jump Point” most likely don’t mean “jump” and “point”, but rather one probably represents the word for the phenomenon known as jumppoints, while the second represents a location or area. Or it could translate into something a little more poetic, like “Star-Gate” or what have you.

    Now, as for the character combination for “Confederation”, it’s probably interchangeable with “human, since it probably doesn’t mean that anyway. One of the characters might represent “nation” or “Country”, similar to Japanese and Chinese.

    国 = 'country'
    中国 = China
    英国 = England

    And the other character represents whatever distinguishing feature humans have that the Kilrathi havn’t seen in the other races they’ve encountered.
    A bit like how the “Chigs” in Space: Above and Beyond referred to humans as “Red Stink Creatures” since they found human hemoglobin to be both strange and foul smelling.


    Now, I was able to find three other recurring characters, but I’m not as sure of their meaning.

    [​IMG]

    The first one appears to be almost an accusative or some kind. Not much to say about it right now.

    The second character appears to mean the act of following or perusing, or being lead to something.

    Finally, the third character, which appears in the two sentences that mention fleets. This character can also be seen in the movie if you look closely at the “flag” on the back of one of the Kilrathi bridge personnel. While this symbol might just be a Kilrathi equivalent of a Mon (family crest), it might also be Kilrathi equivalent of NAVY, you see stenciled on all things maritime military.
     
  3. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    Considering these must be loose translations of the Kilrathi concepts, words like 'Fighter' and 'Fleet' and 'Rapier' which are one ship and many ships respectively likely share similarities. . Hence we also see a shared character in the concepts of "Jump Coordinates" and "Jump point" [​IMG]. I would suggest it contains the concept of 'Jumping itself or even simply something else which signifies travel or even long distance travel.

    Making that assumption makes me think that the other character that makes up 'jump point' and is shared with 'Confederation' is more a territorial word akin to "area" in english.

    Here's another interesting one for you: [​IMG]. This particular character is actually two characters overlayed on top of each other([​IMG] and [​IMG])
     
  4. WCX

    WCX Rear Admiral

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    Awesome AD, I’m making you my personal finder of stuff and doer of things. :D
    (The rest of you also made the team, so no worries.)


    Now, I didn’t mention this character before as I was unsure of the source material quality. I feared that it could have been two character scrunched together as the English subtitles appear over them. However, if it is a legitimate character, it represents one ignored by the handbook and any fan work yet seen.

    [​IMG]



    Ok, back at it. Crank up Joyride by Da Shootaz and read on!


    As mentioned before, the character that might represent “fleet” can be seen in these pictures (even though its flipped vertically T_T)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Granted there’s also the slight problem of the symbol being mirrored in the last one, but will overlook that for the moment.
    Given that it’s worn by the Kilrathi giving the orders, it might also be a rank indicator of some kind.

    If my “fleet” meaning is correct, and it is used as a rank indicator, then this marks the first pairing of Kilrathi movie text with a specific word.
    Thus [​IMG] would mean “khant” (fleet), and worn as a badge of office would have it mean “Khantahr” (Fleet leader), I suppose its a fitting title for the commander of a Snakeir who appears to be giving orders for other ships to follow him.

    A second banner can be seen in this shot:

    [​IMG]

    Now, this one throws a monkey wrench into the works, unless this picture is mirrored somehow or is means to be mirrored.

    Normally I’d be inclined to say that the character represents another rank, with the large character meaning something like “shint” (ship) and the smaller one being “kal” (lord), however there is no tangible evidence for this possibly. For all we know, given the “follow / move toward” translation for that particular character, it could read “pursuit officer” or “sensor operator / lookout”. Then again, from the few examples seen in the movie, only high ranking Kilrathi wear banners on the back of their armor. An interesting quandary.


    Anyway lets take a closer look at the “movie” written characters.


    Here’s a list of the characters appearing in the confed handbook.

    [​IMG]


    Here’s a list of the characters seen in the movie’s subtitles.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, there is more variety, and a few variations of those seen in the handbook.


    Here’s a list of the characters used in the ad for Gar’s Emporium portion in Star*Soldier.

    [​IMG]

    Note that two of the characters are taken from the “Kilrathi alphabet font”, and are modified versions of the characters seen in the movie and handbook.

    The only translation we have for the text used for Gar’s Emporium comes from the fan-made Kilrathi font, which I guess was the original intent of the Arena text authors.
    Anyway, as you probably know by now, it reads, in English:
    FAB CHEAP OMG COOL NO MUCH BUCK


    However, I’ve taken this in stride, and tried to further the translation of Gar’s advertisement.


    [​IMG]

    For maters of conveyance, I will number these lines 1-7 in descending order.

    Line 1 contains three characters, the first being used three times in the movie, all in sentences speaking about fleets, but of an otherwise unknown meaning. The second character is only seen in the confed handbook, and us used quite liberally throughout it, presumably meaning “ship” or possibly “clan”. The third character is seen at the beginning of many of the movie sentences, perhaps acting as an accusative or topic marker.
    Based on the “font translation” these characters represent a concept rather close to “Thrak”, though there’s most likely more than just that.


    Line 2 contains five characters, the first presumably means “follow / move toward”. The second character that appears only when humans or the confederation is mentioned. The third character is unknown. The forth being “ship” or “clan”. The fifth is presumable the “jump / travel” character.
    Based on the “font translation” these characters represent the idea of something not expensive.
    I can only guess that it might feature one or both of the suffix “-av”, used to make a noun or a verb the negative form, or the prefix “K’-”, used to denoting the absence or lack of something.


    Line 3 be gins with a character of unknown meaning which appears three times in the movie. The second character appears only in the handbook. The third appears I nthe handbook and on one of the “banners” worn by a Kilrathi in the movie.


    Line 4 contains four characters, the first again being the “follow / move toward” character. The second and third characters are the same, and again they are seen threre time only in the movie. This marks the only time the same character is seen next to itself
    This perhaps marks a case of a common linguistic morphological process known as reduplication, where the root or stem of a word, or part of it, is repeated, often to create emphasis. This is even seen in English with “super-duper” and “teenie-weenie”.
    The fourth character is only seen in the confed handbook, so its meaning is unknown.


    Line 5 is by far the shortest. It begins with a character seen only in the confed handbook, so no immediate meaning can be discerned. The second character appears three times in the movie, but I’ve yet to determine its meaning yet.
    Based on the “font translation” these characters represent a negative of some kind. Since there stand appeart from any other word, that leads me to lean toward it reading “Va” (No / not)


    Line 6 if four characters, the first being only seen in the handbook. The second comes from the font, and is a variant of a character seen in the movie and handbook. The third is again the “follow / move toward” character. The fourth character is again the one which only appears when humans or the confederation is mentioned.
    Based on the “font translation” these characters represent the idea of a great many of something, possibly “Krah-” (very).


    Line 7 begins with that same accusative or topic marker character many of the movie sentences begin with. The second is a character from the font. The third is the “follow / move toward” character. The forth is a character only seen in the confed handbook, meaning unknown.

    While this is an incredible long shot, it’s possible that like modern Chinese and ancient Egyptian, this form of Kilrathi writing has phonetic elements or it could be used as a kind of rebus, sort of like:
    “two bee oar not two bee”.
     
  5. Ilanin

    Ilanin Captain

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    For a simpler piece of analysis, I think I can add a word to our lexicon (and speculate wildly on a rule of grammar).

    What is the meaning of Drakhai, the name given to the Kilrathi Imperial Guard?

    Well, according to WCX, the -i marks the genitive case. But "Drakhai" is frequently used on its own, or even in an English sentence. Kilrathi Guard pilots often call themselves "the Drakhai". Maybe Kilrathi has a rule, then, that if the possessive case is used and no "owner" is specified by the sentence, the meaning defaults to "Imperial". It would fit with the highly centralised nature of Kilrathi belief and governance.

    The "ha" we already recognise as meaning "must", which makes a moderate amount of sense since the Imperial Guard is probably not expected to take to guarding the Emperor on an occasional basis. It may also have connotations of "will" reflecting their status as an elite unit.

    That leaves "Drak" to mean "guardian", which is something I feel is supported by the Drakhri medium fighter, which, being suited for neither reconnaissance nor heavy attack, is most frequently deployed in an escort role.
     
  6. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    The concept of the flags are definitely a sybol of stature. The one that we know for sure has them is the Kilrathi Admiral. Presumably all ranking officers have some form or other of them. I know there are at least three variations of those flags... not that anyone ever really notices them when they watch the movie though. Here, note that presumably the ranking officer in the raid on Pegasus seems to be wearing flags as well.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still, the concept stems from the Samurai. The kilrathi armor etc etc in the movie is all modeled after the Idea of them being Samurai including them having an Idol of Sivar on the bridge. I hope that gives you a little insight into the production design regarding the kilrathi. You can see the idol in these couple of shots... but they are so low res that it's hard to make out any detail.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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  7. WCX

    WCX Rear Admiral

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    Very astute analysis, Ilanin. I like. :D

    If “drak” means “to guard”, then “Drakhai” probably means (by implication) “We who guard” or “The ones whom shall guard”

    As for its use in an English sentence, well, I wouldn’t worky too much. Foreign words are used in English commonly out of their original grammatical context, occasionally divorced from their original meaning, verbs are treated as nouns, and unnumbered nouns are given pluralization, ect.

    As for the Drakhri, I’m not sure what the “hri” part might mean, but I like the idea of the light-weight medium fighter being a guard or escort class.

    Following a similar train of thought, I though I’d look at the Kilrathi Heavy Asteroid Camouflage Fighter, the K'ha'haf.

    “K'ha” probably means something along the lines of “un-must” or “unnecessary”
    The “haf” part could many a lot of things: “Camouflage”, “hide”, or even “hull”.

    I tend to lean toward it being “hide” or “hidden”, making the name K'ha'haf meant something like “[A fighter which] need-not [actively] hide”, meaning that it could hide in plain site, drifting among asteroids until it was ready to strike. But this is just speculation.

    Ok, a more solid one. Since “kaga” means “warrior spirit”, then the carrier class Hakaga probably means something like “What a warrior must do” or “A warrior’s duty”

    This leads into a section I know a lot of people have been waiting for, and has been a long time coming. Kilrathi ship names.

    I decided to break the names of Kilrathi craft down to two parts. Granted there could be three or four parts for some of the names, but I’ll keep things simple for now.
    Also, some of these names could be split up along very different lines, so I tried to find as much common representation as I could.

    Now, I’ve ignored names that are used more than once (Dralthi II, III IV, ect.) to better reflect how frequently these elements are used.

    There are certain some which are commonly used for capitalship classes, most notably being:

    Dork = Transports
    Kam = Corvettes / Blockade Runners
    Ral = Destroyers
    Fral = Crusiers

    But with fighters and other ship classes, it’s pretty variable:

    Beginning elements:
    Asja
    Bu
    Bhant
    Dork x 3
    Dar
    Dral
    Drak(h)
    Du x 2
    Fral x 2
    Gamo
    Go
    Gor
    Gra
    Grik
    Hha'if
    Hrak
    Jakh
    Jal x 2
    Jrath
    Kam x 3
    Kof
    Kor-
    Kr
    Lumb
    Nakt
    Nau
    Pakt
    Ral x 5
    Rogh
    Sal
    Sar
    Sha'
    Shok'
    Siv
    Snake
    Sor
    Stra
    Tar
    Tug
    Vak x 2
    Vat
    Zar

    Endings:
    -an / -ahn x 2
    -ant
    -ar x6
    -arg
    -ari x 4
    -arrad
    -arth
    -ath
    -atha
    -athi
    -axath
    -bav
    -ek / -ekh x 2
    -gu
    -ir x 2
    -ka / -kha x 2
    -kar x 2
    -kara x2
    -kehi
    -ket
    -lar / -larh x 2
    -ra x2
    -rani
    -(h)ri
    -toth x 2
    -thi x 5
    -tha x 3
    -thak
    -thra
    -thri



    As you can see, aside from the aforementioned ship classes, the most common repeated names elements are “Du”, “Jal” and “Vak”. In the case of “Vak” it is used once by itself, thus prompting me to guess that the “-toth” suffix might represent the concept of something advanced. To wit, the distinction between the Vak and the Vaktoth might be like comparing the WW2 era Corsair / Super Corsair or the more modern Hornet / Super Hornet. Or it could represent an attack or strike variant of a design such as the F-15 Strike Eagle. The “-toth”suffex is seen again in the Zartoth, an electronic warfare craft. So “Zar” might mean something like “electronic signal” and “-toth” might mean “strike/attack”.

    As for the suffixes, “-ar”, “-thi”, “-ari” and “-tha” are the most common, with honorable mention goes to:
    “-an / -ahn” , “-ek / -ekh”, “-ir”, “-ka / -kha”, “-kar” , “-kara” , “-lar / -larh” , “-ra” , “-toth”
    Each one being observed only twice.

    There are also four names which I am currently unsure how to cut up.

    Uncertain:
    Ekapshi
    Hhriss
    Shiraak
    Kala


    Though the Hhriss is similar to the Kilrathi name given name Hhrissar.
    As for the others, perhaps if we look at the role of the notable craft that will shed some light.

    Let’s start with three easy ones:
    Kamar = Blockade Runner
    Kamekh = Torpedo boat
    Kamrani = Gunship

    The “Kam” element obviously represents a class or frame of small capitalships.
    The “-ar” suffix, as common as it is, might be related to the “leader” suffix seen in Kilrathi ranks. In the case of context it might mean “active”, marking the vessel as a ship-of-the-line.


    Now at first I was tempted to have “-ekh” represent torpedoes, or perhaps missiles, as either outfitting of the craft has plenty of those.
    However this is not the case with the Jrathek, a fighter which shares a similar ending.
    Now I’m not sure if the k vs. kh has any significance beyond phonetics, but knowing the Kilrathi is probably does. Never the less, well keep going with what we have.

    Then It came to me that it might have something to do with speed. While there are three listed speeds for the Kamekh (one being average” the other being SLOWER than other Kilrathi ships) I lean toward the privateer speed rating, making it faster than the other Kilrathi capital ships. Jrathek, a Kilrathi fighter noted for its ricockulous speed, also shares this name element. Now granted this would probably fit better for a blockade runner rather than a torpedo boat, so this just goes down as an educated guess.

    Finally, the “-rani” suffix most likely means cannon or weapon, or perhaps firepower, owing to the number of turrets and the wide field of fire it present.

    Now let’s look at the “Ral” family of destroyers:

    Ralar = general destroyer
    Ralari = planetary assault / escort destroyer
    Ralatha = Anti-Ship Destroyer / battleship
    Ralarrad = Light (scout) Destroyer
    Ralaxath = Heavy Destroyer

    The “-ari” suffix appears with two transports (Jakhari and Lumbari) and a heavy fighter (Vatari). Given that the Ralari often acts as a fleet escort and fights in tandem with other ships, that the Vatari only operates off of the Hakagas, and the Jakhari and Lumbari are generally seen operating away from the front line, I gather the “-ari” suffix to mean something like “escort/auxiliary/support”.

    Next up, the Ralatha, which despite being labeled as a destroyer is also called a battleship. The “-atha” suffix could have something to do with anti-shipping.
    Also, though it might be unrelated, if also appears in Gratha, a name curiously used twice, once to describe a heavy fighter, and again for a command and communications craft.

    While I have nothing else to compare them against, I hesitantly label the other suffixes as:
    “-arrad” = scout / light / small /agile / nimble
    “-axath” = Heavy / big


    Also, even though it only appears once, the “–ath” suffix, shows up in two Kilrathi names: As mentioned before, there’s Najjath nar Ragitagha, the son of Najji nar Ragitagha. There’s also the possible name of the last Emperor of Kilrah, Joor'rad nar Kiranka, whose name bares resemblance to a former (possibly previous) Emperor, Joor'ath nar Kiranka. This appears somewhat similar to the Japanese Emperors Hirohito and Akihito.

    A more comprehensive analysis of Kilrathi names is forthcoming, so I’ll leave this be for now.


    Back to the writing systems.

    AD, you are my man. :cool:
    I’ve been looking for a picture of those banners. I just wish the picture quality as a bit higher, but ya work with what you’ve got.

    Indeed, the Samurai influence is undeniable.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Banner A is the kind worn by the officer commanding the boarding of Pegasus Station.
    The character seen in the black circle also appears skipping around the center screen in this pic:
    [​IMG]

    Banner B, which I have yet to see in any still shots, but would love to, features the “ship” character used so often in the Confed handbook.
    Also note the black circle underneath. It contains a second character as yet unseen. It is apparently a combination of [​IMG]
    Into a new character: [​IMG]

    The presence and placement of these symbols leads me to think that they are either rank indicators, or modifiers for the main character.

    Banner C is the one I’ve mentioned before which, after consulting the novelization, appears to belong to a Kalralahr (Sector Leader / Fleet Admiral). Of note is the presence of two dashes next to the inverted Y shape. Checking the subtitles, from the movie, I only see one dash present in the regular written character.
    [​IMG]

    There’s also what appears to be possibly four red characters below it, and though I cant be certain, they look like this:
    [​IMG]
    I’m

    The primary problem with these banners is that they don’t appear to care which direction the character is facing. Considering that the movie writing appears to consider the same character flipped a different direction to have a different meaning, then I find it a little puzzling that this slides by, unless that’s the intent. But it might be akin to having a shirt which says GOD on the front and DOG on the back.

    Also, given how rarely these are seen, I wonder if they are fa'orc'al, or a battle version of the award. The Kilrathi appear to have a thing for fancy battle-bling, the equivalent of your gold AKs or this …thing.

    [​IMG]

    Bokoth nar Kiranka was known to wear ornamental plumes of some kind on special occasions, so I could see Kilrathi attaching awards and other cool-things to their battle uniforms to make themselves look more awesome in the face of their enemies, as well as more inspiring to their compatriots and subordinates.

    More to come…
     
  8. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    The Admiral has two flags... I kind of figured it's the one we don't get a good look at. I scanned through the film briefly and you can't make out what the right hand flag is... But the actual curve of the flag makes me thing the two actually are the same as eachother, so I'm no closer to figuring out. It's possible it's worn by the captain of the Concom, but that would mean any glimpses of it are on the cutting room floor.
     
  9. WCX

    WCX Rear Admiral

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    Greetings hrai and homeboys. Your favorite Leader of Tongues is back.
    I just want to state for the record that I am trying to translate the Tome of Sivar.

    [​IMG]

    But man, it isn’t easy. Here’s my translation so far.

    [​IMG]

    Now I’m not certain of a few of the character (which I’ll talk about in a bit), and was only able to find the obvious ones by skewing the Cuneiform font 30 degrees to the right.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I invite others to take a stab at this. A fresh pair of eyes always helps.
    It’s cool that such a resource was found. Granted it’s more than a little weird that the Kilrathi would have a 26 letter alphabet, but whatever. We’ll just work with it.

    However, my work is hampered by a few things:

    First off, the camera angle is slanted slightly, making it tricky to determine a shadow from a shallow cut in the stone at.

    Secondly, some of the letters aren’t exact matches, and other could be any of two or three characters. Still some of the letters/characters on the tome appear to be mirrored or inverted versions. And a few appear to not be on the list. I can only assume that if these is some sort of Alphabetic writing system, then it has many more than the 26 letters listed.

    Now, the fact that some of them appear to be reoriented in different directions, similar to the characters seen in the movie, makes me wonder if there is some underlying element of the Kilrathi psyche at work here.

    For real world example, if you take the symbol for “War” (it kind of look like a bird’s foot) and invert it, making it negative (while placing in a circle representing a continuous or endless existence) then you get the famous “Peace Symbol”.
    Symbology can be a fun, and at times eye-opening, excursion.

    Anyway, during my analysis I realized that problem is somewhat similar to the one presented by the Star Wars Technical Commentaries.
    See link here: http://www.theforce.net/swtc/preq/text.html
     
  10. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    Yeah, isn't that always the most disappointing thing about stuff like this, when you realise that underneath the fancy symbols, it's really just English? :p
     
  11. Mace

    Mace Vice Admiral

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    Well, purely a guess, but while we have worldwide an established 26-letter alphabet, yet in our writings we also use variations on those letters, accenting the letters with dots and dashes, French and German even has it's own letters, that can be replaced with normal ones, but are not commonly used. If there is a some sort of logic in the words, it would be like playing lingo filling up the gaps.

    Also you know that the outcome should be just plain english, maybe something described in a biblical way such as the pronouncation of the old testament ten commandments.

    It would ofcourse be a disappointment if there came out something like "If you can read this, then...." :p
     
  12. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    You give them too much credit. Most likely, it'll be a random combination of letters :).
     
  13. Mace

    Mace Vice Admiral

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    Well, if i was to have made that rendering, i would have put a joke inside.
     
  14. Mace

    Mace Vice Admiral

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    That thing belongs on the neck of Mr. T!
     
  15. WCX

    WCX Rear Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    “Mr. T don’t need no fool gun. Mr.T has the power of hella tough gold and chains.”


    Anyway, after a tough knife-fight, I managed to grab these still from Prophecy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There may be more, but these were the ones I could easily get without pulling my hair out.
    Note that they apparently also use the “alphabet”, though a few of them might be the “kanji” seen in WC3 and the Card Game, which furthers the comparison to Japanese.

    For example, look at this page from the Management Of Technology magazine:
    http://www.mori.cs.titech.ac.jp/img/newspaper.png

    The text features three writing systems in simultaneous use (the third being the Latin letters).
    Also, like Japanese, Kilrathi can apparently be written from top-bottom or left-right orientation, though we currently unknown from which direction it is written from.

    From examining human language, we have to following posabilities:
    * Left to right, horizontal
    * Right to left, horizontal
    * Left to right, vertical
    * Right to left, vertical
    * Boustrophedon
    * Variable

    Now, I’m uncertain of modern Kilrathi, by the archaic form, as seen on the tome of Sivar, is defiantly not Boustrophedon, as all the characters are pointing the same direction on every line.

    However, it could be variable depending on context or design. For example, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and related writing systems could be written either direction. The clue to reading it lay in looking at which direction the hieroglyphs (particularly the human or animal ones) were facing.
    This could play havoc with the movie characters, but then again, the potential confusion between the letters d, b, and p is negligible to native users.
     
  16. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    No, they'll definitely all use the WCP alphabet - that's why they made that alphabet in the first place. Although it might be worth comparing with the WC3 letters. We have no dev materials of this kind for WC3, but it may be that the WCP alphabet is actually an evolution of something created for WC3.
     
  17. JasonRocZ

    JasonRocZ Vice Admiral

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    I tried to upgrade the photo a bit...also rotated it so (hopefully) you guys can see better .... let me know...what i can do to help
     

    Attached Files:

  18. WCX

    WCX Rear Admiral

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    Names and Honorifics

    I know it’s been a while since I’m updated, but life is life. :rolleyes:
    I’m still working on cracking some of the more complex Kilrathi sentences in hopes of providing a (brief) Kilrathi language lesson. Word to the wise, don’t hold your breath, but I’ll get you wingnuts something nice sooner or later.

    Speaking of which, from the gloss I’ve deciphered so far, I have been able to translate another Kilrathi name (other than Dakhath and Thrakhath). From Voices of War, the name Rathka would appear to mean something like “dominating spirit”.


    I have made a short but notable list of Kilrathi name elements, breaking them down into two parts based on the samples given throughout the franchise.

    Name elements: (* denotes name element proven to exist by itself, i.e. *Alex to -ander)


    M'rath
    -ka
    -tak


    Rath
    -a
    -ka


    Z'rat
    Tal
    Rus
    -mak


    La
    -thrak
    -kath


    *Vak
    -ka
    -'ga


    Najj
    -i
    -ath


    Joor'
    -rad
    -ath


    Thrak
    Dak
    -hath


    *Krah
    Kurus
    Ros
    -tagh


    Mang
    *-krah
    *-Kramm


    Zath
    -tar


    Tar
    -ros


    Teth
    -’mang


    *Gar
    -‘that


    Jul
    -gar
    -kath


    *Grath
    -al


    Slirk
    Vor
    Nar
    H
    -grath


    Larg
    -ka
    -qe


    Kru
    Krum
    Kt'
    -lan


    *Kur
    -aq
    -noq
    -thag

    Ult
    Dor
    -arin


    Gral
    -dak


    Ceg
    Forg
    Hex
    -agh


    Que’v
    *-lagh


    Ign
    Sl
    Prest’
    Sorb
    -ath


    Khas
    -ra
    -rath


    Ral
    Rala
    Rexa
    Qhar
    Ski
    -gha



    Now, onto the meat of this post, cracking the meaning behind Kilrathi honorifics.


    Oh how simple life was back in the day. Then came False Colors.
    False Colors throws a lot of information at us, occasionally appearing to contradict itself. But let’s start with what we know:

    “Nar” meaning “Of the clan”.

    While nine clan names appear with varying levels of frequency in most WC material, (Fleet Action gave us the Eight Noble Clans. The relation of Hhallas to them is unknown), there appears to be a large number of Kilrathi clans, some of them either taking their name from, or giving them names to, various solar systems (the T'Agg A'Bren for example).

    Thrakhath addressed himself to Blair as Thrakhath nar Kiranka, Given name and Clan.
    This is the most widely seen form in the WC universe and is most likely used when addressing an underling or an enemy, or just for simplicities sake.

    The more complex honorifics are probably reserved for more complex social interaction or for legal and ceremonial purposes, and probably depend greatly on that Kirlathi’s social status and the level of formality.

    Kilrathi names also appear to have more components then previously thought, as seen with Largka Cakg dai Nokhtak and Murragh Cakg dai Nokhtak, but more on that later.

    The name Ukar dai Ragark lak Haka give us some insight in to the structure of these honorifics.

    Let’s begin with “dai”, which has been translated as “of the hrai”. Now, though Hrai is often translated as “Clan”, it appears to be more exclusive than a Kilrathi clan. A Kilrathi Hrai includes all blood-relatives and any oathsworn to the clan leader or his descendants. Thus Hrai can be though of as extended families which in turn make up the Clans. Thus the “dai” honorific would be used to show one’s association to a family. (In reality, the term “Tribe” should probably be used in the place of “Clan” and “Clan” used for “Hrai”, but this anthropologist digresses.)


    “Lak” only appears once in False Colors, given to Ukar dai Ragark lak Haka. This is a curious case, as he is referred to a Ragark but addressed as Lord Haka.
    Now, the Haka are mentioned in the text as being a hrai (possibly within the Kiranka clan) which would make “lak” similar in function to “dai”. However, their
    placement tells us something of their relation to one another. “Dai” probably refers to immediate family, while “lak” denotes an extended family or bloodline. All of this probably comes before the actual clan name, thus (with the extended name examples) we’re given a rough formula for an extended Kilrathi name:


    NAME _ FAMILY dai EXTENDED FAMILY lak BLOODLINE nar CLAN

    The shortened version being: NAME nar CLAN


    False Colors also gives us the only use of the “jaq” honorific, sported by a young officer, Nerrag jaq Rhang. Not much is mentioned of him other than being an aid to Ragark. From the little data available, “jaq” could be a less-honorific variance of "dai", but this is speculative.


    The honorific “laq” appears only twice (Star*Soldier) using a location or ship name in place of any clan or family name probably means that these particular Kil are either disgraced or is trying to keep a low profile. Since it appears to come before a place name, I take laq to be a simple prepositional particle used in non-noble toponymic names, akin to the Spanish “honorific” De la Rúa (literally, "of the street").


    The honorific “ko” is only mentioned three times, and of those only once in False Colors.
    If the entry in the Star*Soldier gloss is any indicator, than “ko” is used to denote a location such as a Solar System (such as the case of Hexagh ko Cephid referring to Cephid17). Judging that a chief engineer of a main fleet carrier bears this honorific, it must carry some prestige, unlike the “laq” honorific.


    The honorific “lan” appears four times, and is borne by a senior pilot, a supply officer, a ship captain, and a surgeon. As all of these positions appear to be department heads, this honorific must have some notable standing, perhaps indicating some form of mastery, similar to the Japanese “Kensei” or “sword's saint”, an honorary title given to a warrior of legendary skill in swordsmanship.
     
  19. ChrisReid

    ChrisReid Super Soaker Collector / Administrator

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    We also do see hrai used in this way, as in Kirha hrai Hunter nar Aussie.
     
  20. QuailPilot

    QuailPilot Spaceman

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    Could "lak" mean leader? So when the name is translated it means Leader of CLAN_NAME?
     

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