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Sword of the Stars

Tarka Language

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"Var'Ish Thok'Orr is my name
Tarka is my nation,
Deep space my resting place
The stars my destination." --Arinn



Tarkasian is the possessive to refer to things which belong collectively to all Tarka. i.e. "the Tarkasian Empire". Singular possessive is simpler: "This Tarka's name is Var'Ish Thok'Orr."


General Edit

Tarka are capable of producing a wide array of pitches, some of which are lower than the average Human bass voice. Their highest pitches are usually well below Human falsetto or coloratura soprano except in the case of very rarely gifted individuals. They hear in roughly the same frequency ranges that Humans do with an additional edge into the sub–sonic.

The Tarka are an extremely ancient race and, of all the races in the game, they have spent the longest as star–farers. On their own home world there are 13 main languages, spoken by 13 distinct racial sub–types. Tarka from long–lost colony worlds have also suffered from genetic and cultural drift and sometimes lose all contact with the home world and its empire — developing their own languages and dialects. Thus Tarka dialects are many and each represents not only an "accent" but also a difference in lexicon, semantics and grammar.

Tarkasian civilization is splintered into countless hierarchies, each with its own chain from highest to lowest. Any Tarka language will sport countless dialects which identify the speaker by social standing, regional origin and level of education. Speakers of the so–called "gutter dialects" tend to come from the bottom strata of society, the poorest areas and to have the least formal education. They are engaged in the lowest and most dangerous tasks. By contrast those who are able to converse in Kona Kai, "the High Speech", are likely to be family of the Nine Emperors or the Supreme Commander. When Tarka who cannot speak one another's language or dialect meet and must communicate, they quickly fall back on the one Tarka language which is truly universal — the Egg Knock Code.

For military purposes Tarka use a simple, direct language called Urdu Kai, "Fleet Speech". A formal farewell of affection or respect between two Tarka warriors is often self–deprecating, playing off a common form of humor among military Tarka. It would probably go like this: "When we meet again, let us cross tankards rather than swords. Either way, I'm sure to get the worst of it."

Growling and roaring is no more common among Tarka than it is among Humans. They have vocal chords similar to our own, with a greater range, and speak in pitches ranging from bass to soprano. An adult male Tarka who has undergone the full Change does have a voice significantly lower than most Human males of any age but in non–stress situations he simply converses in a pleasant low rumble. However, given the size of his thoracic cavity, if the General does raise his voice the sound is truly terrifying!

To capture the flavor of Tarka society on the home world you would have to imagine something much older, much more stable and infinitely more ornate — like the Imperial Chinese or the ancient Egyptians.


Naming Edit

All Tarka have several names. The first of these are given in the shell, and are usually endearments between caregivers and the unhatched Tarka — pet names, as it were. The more important names are given on hatching day.

The first name is personal and is usually simple and direct. It generally reflects a desirable quality in a person or a positive quality that the parents like about the child. For example, "Ish" is a common name for males born in the military caste, meaning "lively" or "spirited". Male names are usually one syllable; the feminine version of the same name is reflected by an additional vowel:

  • Ish, Isha/Ishita: "lively or spirited"
  • Sar, Sara/Saruna: "lean", "whip-like"
  • Lan, Lana/Lani: "large", "muscular"
  • Kal, Kala/Kalu: "beautiful", "glossy"
  • War, Wara/Waruti: "emerald", "precious green"

A Tarka's family name is matronymic and is based on the clan and rank of his mother. The rank is first and the clan name is given last. There are countless different Tarka clans, and Tarka clan names, like many human family names, tend to be based on ancestral occupation. The clan name "Orr" has the same meaning as the human name "smith" — "one who works in refining and shaping metal". The clan name "Gulto" has the same meaning as the human name "Cooper" — "one who creates casks and barrels". For example, from the name "Thok'Orr" we learn that this Tarka was the son of a female of the Orr who achieved a rank equivalent to that of a major.

If a male Tarka undergoes the Change, the honorific "Var" is added to his name, which is the equivalent of "Sir" or "Mister". Thus we wind up, in the mid–point of the Tarka's career, with a name like "Var'Ish Thok'Orr": "Mr. Spirited Son of a Major of the Orr". Therefore "Var'Ish Thok'orr" was once simple "Ish Thok'Orr" — but that's Mister Ish Tho'korr to you nowadays!

Additionally, suffixes can be added to the end of names to indicate various states or feelings of the speaker toward the object or person. For example, "Do" is a suffix that indicates intimacy and affection in the Tarka language, with the feminine equivalent being "dora".

As an example from Captains Log, Sara Ja'dur is a female Tarka commander. If this descendant of the Ja'Dur were a male Tarka and unChanged, his name would be Sar Ja'dur — or if Changed, Var'Sar Ja'dur.


Planet Names Edit

Tarka planets are generally given a prefix of Ke, Kao, Ku, Ko, or Ka, depending on the dialect spoken by the Tarka who discovered that world. These are all the same word and translates as "fort", "castle" or "citadel", although the same word is also used to describe a temporary camp with a palisade. Any community living within a defensive perimeter is a "ko". While most worlds will follow this pattern, there are some exceptions to this prefix rule.

Examples:

No K- Prefix
Sardo Velan
K- Prefix
Ka'Dola Kao'Kona Kao'Podar Kao'Sathrum Kao'Tuno Kao'Vaanu Ka'Palum Ka'Saak
Ka'Sogroth Ka'Trulmo Ke'Aloru Ke'Dolarra Ke'Grallatan Ke'Groko Ke'Haaku Ke'Kaldo
Ke'Kiralta Ke'Koralla Ke'Lolum Ke'Moramun Ke'Pranum Ke'Raath Ke'Rassak Ke'Saal
Ke'Saddar Ke'Sothram Ke'Stanz Ke'Thalt Ke'Thultan Ke'Trath Ke'Vanthu Ke'Welkor
Ko'Graapa Ko'Haathra Ko'Rorkor Ko'Seth Ko'Velan Ku'Pronum Ku'Sulto Ku'Valt
Ku'Van


A Compiled List of Tarka-to-English Translations Edit

Like most translation into English, not all of these words are translated literally. For example, consider the phrase "Ba kreen, Kaan’Ish" which translates to "Listen up, yard–apes". Literally, there's probably not a direct translation of "Kaan'Ish". It means roughly, "Every member of the current force or complement who is currently milling around". "Ba kreen, Kaan'Ish" is what the sergeant would bark if everyone was sitting around throwing dice and playing cards and he had an announcement.

"Kao" has multiple meanings in all Tarka dialects. The generalized meaning is "home" or "house" — a place where a clan or extended family group lives. It implies a fortified position, however, and Tarka are fond of dominant geography — high caste Tarka tend to make an entire mountain into a kao, with a castle and gardens on the peak looking down — the clan leader will live in the highest place, the lower ranking members of the lineage will be arranged along the flanks of the hill below.

In modern parlance, Tarka refer to whole planets as "kao" (or dialect variants like "ko", "ke", etc.). The Tarka homeworld is known as "Kao'Kuuma" — "highest house" or "holiest home". ("Kona" in all Tarkasian dialects can connote either elite rank or divinity — the gods of all faiths are sometimes referred to collectively as Konaku, and Kuum is the superlative case of the word.)

A "fane" is an array of military force, usually a complement of ships — at the time that the Var Kona was first written, the term was commonly applied to an air force — today it is used to describe fleets in space.

Tarka English Tarka English Tarka English
Bente Best Dok Entwine Daiko Boss
Fane Fleet — Ships — Forces Habas Honor Hana Star/Interstellar
Hanakuum Interstellar Empire Hanaru The Stars Harraku Ambition
Ish Personal name: Of military caste — meaning "lively" or "spirited". Kaan Force Kai Speech
Kala Beautiful Kogoru Victory Kokari Desire
Kona High Kuum Empire Lao pl. "deities" or "celestial beings"
Orr Clan name – Human equivalent of meaning being "smith" Mek pl. females, w/ sexual connotation — Human equivalent might be "hotties" or "honeys" Thok' Personal name: Denotes mother with rank of major.
Tot Favor Urdu adj. "Common" — syn. "Fleet" Vanuu Lust
Var "Sir" or "Mister" — Title given to Changed males. Vu Egg Ya conj. "to be"
Dialect Comparison
Tarka English
Ka "fort", "castle" or "citadel"
Kao
Ke
Ko
Ku


Phrases Edit

"Ba kreen dula Fane Go'Rada. Ya Var'Ish Tho'korr, du Tarka massa kaan Haaku. Vreen dumah lolokaad. Praada!"

Translation: "Your attention, to the Ships of Aliens (Not–Tarka). I am Var’ish Tho’korr, of the Tarka strike force Haaku. Depart from this region–of–space. Now!"

"Kaan, Kokari, Kogoru—Habas, Harraku, Hanakuum."

Translation: "Force, Desire, Victory: Honor, Ambition, (Interstellar) Empire".

"Hanaru ya Bente Vu."

Translation: "The Stars Make the Best Eggs".

"Ba kreen, Kaan’Ish."

Translation: "Listen up, yard–apes".

"Kokari dok"

Translation: "The desire to entwine".

"Vu vanuu"

Translation: "Egg lust".

"Amabo te"

Translation: Idiomatic. “Please.” Literally, “I will love you.”


FTL Communication Edit

Each race has a different method for sending FTL communiqués based on their drive tech. Tarka are able to encode and accelerate data within the null event band. Effectively, "distance" does not exist to Tarka communications: every Tarka transmission is as clear as if the speaker were sitting right beside you.


Ship Names (AI) Edit

Battle Fury Beaten Shield Bravestar Chaka Digger Egg Thief EggTender Fane Orr
Fire Jewel Five Fist Ghost Reaper Glory Bound Hankara Honor Lance Kogoru Kona Kal
Lao Kuum Little Heart Maasa Lac Mek Kaan Rising Sun Saak Tar Sanu Vel Sardo Saani
Silent Death Star Slasher StarSpear Throat Ripper Vaanu Var Velan Vu Volar Kaalu Vornaku Kaan
WarCry WarNova Warrior

Commander Names (AI) Edit

Angels of Sardo Kal Eternal Empire Fane Lao Fen Law
Imperial Armada Kaan, Kokari, Kogoru Sara Jardok Tarka Concordiate
Tars Tarkas Vaanu Hanakuum Var’Ish Tho’Orr Varrush Wing

Fane Lao — Roughly translated, "Divine Fleet". "Fane" is usually read as fleet or ships, but can also be read as "forces". "Lao" is the plural adjective for things divine or better–than–mortal — often given as shorthand for "the gods".


Body Language Edit

Body language is also important, but not at all universal — all castes and culture groups among the Tarka have their own habits in this regard.

In the interests of greater disclosure, Tarka do a great deal of their social signaling with the eyes and tongue. The shape of the pupils is a key element in a Tarka's facial expression, and the color of the iris conveys emotion strongly:

  • Green is a shade of joy and is indicative of smiling
  • Red conveys strong adrenaline and can indicate battle fury in any Tarka, or Vanuu in females and Changed males
  • Golden yellow is a calm or reflective state
  • Violet or lavender indicates sadness


Insults Edit

"I fed him his tail. With (name other body part) sauce."

Having a reduced or diminished tail is a severe problem in Tarka society — it is a handicap at least as serious as a missing arm among Humans — and "stump" is a derogatory term for someone born with a diminished or excessively short tail. All Humans are called "stump" by those who dislike them.

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