This article describes all that is known about the language of the Kilrathi.

Terrans can study and speak Kilrathi, although it can be "throat-hurting"[1] and some, like Abram sounded "strange, lisping and high-pitched", compared to a normal Kilrathi voice.[2]

Writing[edit | edit source]

Kilrathi writing.jpg

The Kilrathi writing remained unintelligible by Terran Confederation specialits. It is believed that their writing is ideographic, each symbol conveying a concept, with dots marking variations on a symbol.[3]

Variations[edit | edit source]

The court used a ceremonial dialect. Sharp, clear enunciation indicates good breeding. Sometmes it could be seen as a subtle insult against the Emperor, as the Imperial clan was relatively young.[4] Not everyone could understand the dialect of the Imperial Court, so nobles sometimes used it in order to to not be understood by outsiders.[2]

Imperial standard, mixed with English standard, formed a pidgin dialect of space, the language of trade in the frontier, spoken in places such as Gar's Emporium.[5]

Tonal inflections[edit | edit source]

  • Soft tonal inflection for speaking to one's relative (i.e. of his own clan).[4]
  • Inflection which suggests a direct statement of fact, is equivalent of blood challenge between an inferior and superior.[4]

Gestures[edit | edit source]

  • Toothy grin show lack of fear and humans introduce this way to Kilrathi.[5]
  • The same, but with open jaw, is a signal for a fight.[5]
  • Tail curled down is a gesture of respect and submission (eg. before the Prince).[6]
  • Raising of the head to bare the throat is a ceremonial gesture as acknowledgment of respect (eg. meeting an elder officer).[7]
  • Whiskers lifted and eyes narrowed is an expression of pleasure.[1]
  • Gurgling sound is a laughter.[1]
  • Head hunched down is the equivalent of a shrug.[8]
  • Tail lashing from side to side is a sign of agitation.[8]

Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Arakh leaves (or simply Arakh)
A popular intoxicant, often used to make tea. Kilrathi catnip.[9]
bak
Any predator considered a threat to the Kilrathi.[7]
Birha
Type of tree featuring large, red, sweet-scented flowers; found on the planet Ghorah Khar.[6]
boryangee
frail, hairy creature native to Kilrah.
chakta
Rare warriors of equal rank who deserved honorable execution upon capture rather than slavery. The Varni were almost worthy of being considered chakta.[10]
dakhath
deathstroke[11][12]
Dor-Chak
striking bird[13]
fa'ka'tra

Eternal damnation. Cat Hell.[14]

halkrath
interrogation by torture.[6]
haggin
the trick of sending a lone warrior out to feign injury and draw the prey in, which in the meantime is being encircled[4]
harakh
something inedible, perhaps specifically food for prey-species, such as plants and roots.[1]
hrai
A Kilrathi clan, that is families sworn allegiance to a clan leader.[15] Includes all blood relatives as well as anyone oathsworn to the clan leader and his descendants.
Ikgara Kutgaga
Sacred history of the clans.[2]
jak-tu
to spring from concealment upon a larger but unsuspecting prey, killing it with one blow. This word derives from their predatory past, but the concept has been magnified in the wider scale of imperial politics.[4][2]
jirak
ceremonial herbal brew.[2]
Kabaka
Heroic death.
kaga
Warrior spirit.[2]
Kalrahr
A rank or title for a Commanding officer roughly.[16][6]
Kalralahr
Roughly equivalent to Admiral.
Kalkrath
Interrogation by torture, not used on highranking Kilrathi except by order of the Emperor.
Kal Shintahr
Roughly equivalent to captain or commander.
Khantar
Commanding officer of a Kilrathi ship.
Kilra’hra
A common, lowborn Kilrathi. In appearance, he or she is characterized by coarse fur of mingled colors, a blunt muzzle, a flat head and blunted teeth.[6]
Kilrathi
Perhaps "Son(s) of Kilrah" (as the Kilrathi call themselves like this[17])
ka-tagu
honorific given to the offspring of those who committed tagugar.[7]
Kass’richak
ancient curse to begin a blood duel.
Koractu
A type of sword.[18]
krath
interrogation (possibly)
Lerkrath
Interrogation by drugs, not used on high-ranking Kilrathi except by order of the Emperor.[6]
garga
blood[4]
Nak’tara
The planet Earth.
Nar
Used in full Kilrathi names followed by a clan name. Part of every Kilrathi’s name. It precedes the name of the planet on which the Kilrathi’s hrai (clan) originated. (Ralgha nar Hhallas’ hrai, for example, was from Hhallas.) Appears to be equivalent of "of". Not quite a 'surname' as all members of a house share the titles.
Paki
Pawns for power.
rugalga
The equivalent of the herds of semi-intelligent animals of Kilrah, a very easy prey[4]
ruxfra
Dried and salted food eaten by Kilrathi.[19]
ryha'kara
Heretic to the principles of the Kilrathi Honor code.[20]
Sa'guk
One who is already dead to his hrai, even though he lives. It refers to disgracing one’s family name, usually when one appears weak or is captured.
sckviska
celebratory drink.
Skabak
Will to die for glory to Kilrah.
strakha
Hidden striker
Szcaltal
type of flies native to Kilrah.
Takhars
Brothers of equal rank.
tagugar
Honorable suicide (similar to a kamikaze action), a kind of suicide attack.[7]
Thrak'hra
Noble lord, head of a hrai. Highborn Kilrathi are characterized by sleek, brightly-colored pelts marked with the distinctive patterns of their clan.[6]
Tuka
Person who displays hesitation or weakness.
Tuhaga
A celebration, perhaps of the founding of the Empire of Kilrah.[7]
ukta
prey-food; any weak aliens the Kilrathi considered conquering.[7]
ulanna
A tree native to Kilrah.[2]
va'ti'kah;
To be late, there is little toleration for the act or the utterance of that word. Such disrespect leads to the death penalty.[21]
vorshooka (plural vorshaki);
a blade, the ritual instrument for cub-bearing and murder.[22]
xark
Fresh blood of an prey species of Kilrah the Kilrathi used to hunt, now used as a beverage.[7]
Zu'kara
Ritual suicide in atonement for an act of shame to one’s family, or having disgraced a superior; comparable to sepukku.[15]

Phrases[edit | edit source]

Va ka garga ka naru ha garga
Those not of the blood must have their blood spilt[4]
Ek’rah skabak erg Thrak’Kilrah maks Rag’nith.
For the glory of Kilrah, the Emperor and the Empire.
Huma ta humas
An ancient saying in the royal tongue meaning "this for that", relative to "quid pro quo".[2]
Krajksh nai variksh h'hassrai?
Said by a Kilrathi pilot to Hunter flying a Dralthi.[23]
Kilrath'ra rakh, walhi drathrik... Hrashra ni'lakh rakhta... Fralkra himekh...[24][25]
"His blood flows well?"
"His blood is thick"
Standard ceremonial question regarding the health of a friend.[2]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit source]

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