Author Topic: The Quarian language  (Read 9547 times)

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May 08, 2012, 11:25:18 PM

Offline Tudhalyas

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Being quite the language geek, and since I haven't seen a thread about this specific topic yet, I'm going to ask a very stupid question... does any of you have news about the Quarian language? As in... did Bioware ever try to compile a grammar and/or a vocabulary, besides that handful of terms and expressions that we can hear in the Mass Effect games, like "keelah", "keelah se'lai", "bosh'tet" and so on?

It would be nice to know it, for roleplaying purposes (I have seen that you people have setup some play-by-forum RPGs here... :D).
There is enough grief in the galaxy already. I don't need to add to it.

May 09, 2012, 12:15:35 AM
Reply #1

Offline Isbjorn

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I believe we have a topic about this already somewhere around... Can't quite remember where though.

The Quarian language, Khelish, does not have any real grammar og context to it unfortunately. I love languages myself, and I would be overjoyed if they actually bothered making something like this, but I doubt Tolkien works for Bioware, and thus it's very unlikely that we will ever get what we want.

I've tried making sense out of the few words we have, but the composition of the language is extremely difficult to piece apart and make sense of. The reason for this is because, like I said, the grammar doesn't really exist.

For now, we will have to sate our hunger with the simple translations of a few words:

    nedas nowhere
    tasi no-one
    vas [ship-name] crew of
    nar [ship-name] child of
    keelah "By the homeworld"
    keelah se'lai "By the homeworld I hope to see one day."
    bosh'tet curse/insult, likely being relative to "son-of-a-bitch" or "bastard".
    geth "Servant of the People"
    Rannoch "walled garden"
I'm Commander Shepard, and Tali'Zorah is my favourite girl in the galaxy.

My FF, with the goal of bringing life back to the ME universe after the events of ME3 (on hold to see what EC brings):
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8020613/1/Mass_Effect_Resurrection

May 09, 2012, 07:31:31 AM
Reply #2

Offline Tudhalyas

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I love languages myself, and I would be overjoyed if they actually bothered making something like this, but I doubt Tolkien works for Bioware, and thus it's very unlikely that we will ever get what we want.
This. I suspected that there was no concrete language behind those phrases but oh well, one can dream that somehow, someday they will eventually release something close to a grammar for Khelish -- especially if the ME universe is not going to die with the third game. I am pretty sure that some "hardcore fans" would gladly step up and offer to fill in the gaps, if there are any. :P
There is enough grief in the galaxy already. I don't need to add to it.

May 09, 2012, 08:32:38 AM
Reply #3

Offline Typhoon

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I haven't actually checked around the net for any traces of fan efforts to come up with some kind of coherent structure of what suppose to be Quarian language, but
seeing how this things play out within circles of fans of popular sci-fi franchises, my guess is that sooner or later, some fans of ME who posses knowledge of linguistics and just happen to be fans of Quarians as well, could create something.

Back when Avatar was at the peak of it's popularity, I've heard that some fans came up with somewhat structured Na' Vi language.
Correct me if I'm wrong about this. I was found of Avatar to some extent, but I was never a hard core fan of Na' Vi, so I didn't really do a research on fan's progress of creating the language.

Humanity first!
Therefor,
it is in humanity's best interest to...
take lots of photos of a certain Quarian girl's butt.

May 09, 2012, 09:08:31 AM
Reply #4

Offline Tudhalyas

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I was actually one of the crazy guys who studied Na'vi a little bit. :D I was - and still am - quite the Avatar fan, but of course 2 years ago I felt was feeling it much more than now. In that case, the language was initially conceived by a single man (prof. Paul Frommer, from the UCLA if I remember correctly) and later developed collegially by him and members of the fan community. Nowadays Na'vi is a full-fledged language, and the only thing that it lacks is vocabulary for things, people etc. you can't find on an almost pristine garden world.

Hence what I wrote in my previous post: I hope that the same thing could happen for Khelish, someday.
There is enough grief in the galaxy already. I don't need to add to it.

May 09, 2012, 10:35:13 AM
Reply #5

Offline Jing

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Welcome!
I am going to stop putting things off starting tomorrow.

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May 09, 2012, 11:20:09 AM
Reply #6

Offline Tudhalyas

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Thanks Jing... I think that you missed my introduction thread in the other section, though! :D
There is enough grief in the galaxy already. I don't need to add to it.

May 09, 2012, 12:02:32 PM
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Offline Garrus

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I was actually one of the crazy guys who studied Na'vi a little bit. :D I was - and still am - quite the Avatar fan, but of course 2 years ago I felt was feeling it much more than now. In that case, the language was initially conceived by a single man (prof. Paul Frommer, from the UCLA if I remember correctly) and later developed collegially by him and members of the fan community. Nowadays Na'vi is a full-fledged language, and the only thing that it lacks is vocabulary for things, people etc. you can't find on an almost pristine garden world.

Hence what I wrote in my previous post: I hope that the same thing could happen for Khelish, someday.
:D

Bro-Fist!

Also, to what language are we translating this? English I assume but hell, the untranslated doesn't exactly look to be anything like the style of English writing. it has more infinitives like French or Spanish, and more of a smoothed verb pronunciation.

Just my thoughts
Garrus has left the building.

May 09, 2012, 12:30:35 PM
Reply #8

Offline Jing

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Thanks Jing... I think that you missed my introduction thread in the other section, though! :D
I did, and sorry about that. I've been tired a lot as of late, due to grave shifts at work. =/ So I would have one thread open in another tab then post a reply that was meant for the other thread. Well. You can see the outcome in that. Heh. >_>

I was actually one of the crazy guys who studied Na'vi a little bit. :D I was - and still am - quite the Avatar fan, but of course 2 years ago I felt was feeling it much more than now. In that case, the language was initially conceived by a single man (prof. Paul Frommer, from the UCLA if I remember correctly) and later developed collegially by him and members of the fan community. Nowadays Na'vi is a full-fledged language, and the only thing that it lacks is vocabulary for things, people etc. you can't find on an almost pristine garden world.

Hence what I wrote in my previous post: I hope that the same thing could happen for Khelish, someday.


Would it be possible to acquire a locational website for the said language. It is quite fun to learn stuff like this for pen and paper RPGs. In return. The Tau alphabet. Use it in just about anything to make your documents look more Xeno!


« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 12:39:48 PM by Jing »
I am going to stop putting things off starting tomorrow.

"Cave Johnson here. I seeeee you. I seeee your little feet. I'm gonna cut off your hair and put in on your feet and eat your little hair and feet!" -Cave Johnson

May 09, 2012, 12:32:18 PM
Reply #9

Offline Isbjorn

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I really have a hard time buying into that an alien alphabet would have exactly the same letters as the English one.
I'm Commander Shepard, and Tali'Zorah is my favourite girl in the galaxy.

My FF, with the goal of bringing life back to the ME universe after the events of ME3 (on hold to see what EC brings):
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8020613/1/Mass_Effect_Resurrection

May 09, 2012, 12:33:56 PM
Reply #10

Offline Tudhalyas

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Would it be possible to acquire a locational website for the said language.

http://www.learnnavi.org

There you go, have fun! :D And thanks for the Tau alphabet!

Also, to what language are we translating this? English I assume but hell, the untranslated doesn't exactly look to be anything like the style of English writing. it has more infinitives like French or Spanish, and more of a smoothed verb pronunciation.

Just my thoughts

Na'vi is, grammatically, quite Latin-based, but  of course with some twists (for example plural nouns are made by putting a prefix rather than a suffix, verbs have one form for every <tense, person> pair and they are conjugated through infix particles). But believe me, the worst of all is phonetics... it's full of sounds that are totally alien to westerners like the ejective T, P, and K. Oh, and the "maths" is base-8. But just take a look at the link I put above. :D
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 12:40:47 PM by Tudhalyas »
There is enough grief in the galaxy already. I don't need to add to it.

May 09, 2012, 01:07:05 PM
Reply #11

Offline Jing

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I really have a hard time buying into that an alien alphabet would have exactly the same letters as the English one.


Yeah, I know. But it was in the Tau Codex from Warhammer 40K. Its cannon from them so i just go with it. It is quite fun. The basic shape of the letters can be used for almost anything.
http://www.learnnavi.org

There you go, have fun! :D And thanks for the Tau alphabet!


Anytime and thank you!
I am going to stop putting things off starting tomorrow.

"Cave Johnson here. I seeeee you. I seeee your little feet. I'm gonna cut off your hair and put in on your feet and eat your little hair and feet!" -Cave Johnson

June 17, 2012, 11:59:19 PM
Reply #12

Offline Fenix

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Seeing as the Klingon language evolved from grunts to a full-fledged language thanks to die-hard trekkies I'm pretty sure that Quarian can become a "real" language too.

When you wish upon a star
think of Rannoch where you are
in your heart and in your soul
or you would not be as whole


June 18, 2012, 02:33:10 PM
Reply #13

Offline Isbjorn

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Seeing as the Klingon language evolved from grunts to a full-fledged language thanks to die-hard trekkies I'm pretty sure that Quarian can become a "real" language too.

I suppose I could bother making a language, but that'll only be if the EC is any good.
I'm Commander Shepard, and Tali'Zorah is my favourite girl in the galaxy.

My FF, with the goal of bringing life back to the ME universe after the events of ME3 (on hold to see what EC brings):
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8020613/1/Mass_Effect_Resurrection

July 03, 2012, 04:33:42 PM
Reply #14

Offline XeriaVeeros vas Source

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Thinking about learning fonts ?
There is already a official font about our language relased on the network.
It's exactly like the one used in my tag, mainly because it's the official one.

Maybe you already knew about it, but for those who didn't... ENJOY !



LINK : http://social.bioware.com/bw_projects_file_download.php?project_file_id=8883
PICTURE :

July 03, 2012, 07:47:58 PM
Reply #15

Offline Rear Admiral Kikaimegami

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I was trying to use the Khelish font as a design element for one of my projects, by using the letters as a base. I already posted this in my art thread, but I like how it turned out.

<Kikaimegami> technically every post I make is about Legion's ass!


This world is what we can give
Scarred from the way we lived
All those dreams we shared for you
How I wish they could come true
 :legionsnipe: :kikai:

We dreamed of a world in peace
But killed for a life of ease
Now we leave the wounds for you
What else can the dying do?


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July 03, 2012, 08:00:05 PM
Reply #16

Offline Octo

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Thinking about learning fonts ?
There is already a official font about our language relased on the network.
It's exactly like the one used in my tag, mainly because it's the official one.

I assume on the right side are the numbers?

So, why would quarians use a base ten system? I think they should either use base 6, or maybe an exponentiation of 2, given their affinity towards electronics.

Well, at least it are 25 instead of 26 letters as I see it... I hope, at least... still seems a bit careless.

I was trying to use the Khelish font as a design element for one of my projects, by using the letters as a base. I already posted this in my art thread, but I like how it turned out.
I do like this bit of calligraphy, though. At least, it looks like calligraphy. Like a dancing person or something.

The First Human Spectre

My fanfiction. ME 1 with Shepard/Tali Romance. Currently over 300,000 words.

July 05, 2012, 10:07:34 AM
Reply #17

Offline Isbjorn

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Thinking about learning fonts ?
There is already a official font about our language relased on the network.
It's exactly like the one used in my tag, mainly because it's the official one.

Maybe you already knew about it, but for those who didn't... ENJOY !



LINK : http://social.bioware.com/bw_projects_file_download.php?project_file_id=8883
PICTURE :



Too similar to English for my liking. The Quarian alphabet should contain unique letters for things like "Sh" and "Kh" instead of just copying English.
I'm Commander Shepard, and Tali'Zorah is my favourite girl in the galaxy.

My FF, with the goal of bringing life back to the ME universe after the events of ME3 (on hold to see what EC brings):
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8020613/1/Mass_Effect_Resurrection

July 05, 2012, 07:37:17 PM
Reply #18

Offline XT Vengeance

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I assume on the right side are the numbers?

So, why would quarians use a base ten system? I think they should either use base 6, or maybe an exponentiation of 2, given their affinity towards electronics.

Well, at least it are 25 instead of 26 letters as I see it... I hope, at least... still seems a bit careless.
The numbers would have definitely been in base 6, for the same reason we use base 10. Base 3 would also work though. but giving them base ten makes no sense whatsoever.

July 05, 2012, 10:11:59 PM
Reply #19

Offline Octo

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Base 3 would lead to ridiculous large numbers.

Base 16 would fit, actually. Assume one hand is 4s, and the other 1s, and with six fingers you can count up to 15. One more gesture (maybe two open palms or whatever) and it' 16. I think that would fit to the quarians and their electronic affinity, IMO.

But we do agree, base ten makes absolutely no sense.
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July 05, 2012, 10:54:55 PM
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Offline Rear Admiral Kikaimegami

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Too similar to English for my liking. The Quarian alphabet should contain unique letters for things like "Sh" and "Kh" instead of just copying English.
I can read stuff written in Khelish almost as quickly as I can read things written in Daedric, and this is probably why--the shapes of many of the letters are based on the roman alphabet.
<Kikaimegami> technically every post I make is about Legion's ass!


This world is what we can give
Scarred from the way we lived
All those dreams we shared for you
How I wish they could come true
 :legionsnipe: :kikai:

We dreamed of a world in peace
But killed for a life of ease
Now we leave the wounds for you
What else can the dying do?


=^..^= (This) Forum Rules! =^..^= Legion Steam Community =^..^= My ME2 Projects =^..^=

July 05, 2012, 11:32:19 PM
Reply #21

Offline Octo

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I can read stuff written in Khelish almost as quickly as I can read things written in Daedric, and this is probably why--the shapes of many of the letters are based on the roman alphabet.

I don't think this is what Isbjorn meant. Rather, it seems to be a near 1:1 conversion of the Roman alphabet, including such nonsense letters as x and q, and such doublings as c/k/z, yet on the other hand having no idiosyncrasies on its own like kh or whatever. And it assumes Khellish would have the same tonal structure as English, with exactly the same sounds.
The First Human Spectre

My fanfiction. ME 1 with Shepard/Tali Romance. Currently over 300,000 words.

July 06, 2012, 02:39:04 AM
Reply #22

Offline Rear Admiral Kikaimegami

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I don't think this is what Isbjorn meant. Rather, it seems to be a near 1:1 conversion of the Roman alphabet, including such nonsense letters as x and q, and such doublings as c/k/z, yet on the other hand having no idiosyncrasies on its own like kh or whatever. And it assumes Khellish would have the same tonal structure as English, with exactly the same sounds.
True, but I'd rather they not dabble in anything even remotely related to conlang stuff because they will inevitably fuck it up. Once you start creating new characters or removing characters, you open up the possibility for horrible, horrible fuckups. A straight up roman alphabet find-replace is fine by me. I just wish they'd put a bit more creativity in the actual characters.

EDIT: For the record, I don't believe what they've already done with Khelish is really trying to construct so much as it's just making up a few phrases and words. I honestly don't believe they put much thought in actually constructing a language on the level as, say, Tolkien, or what Star Trek has done with something like Klingon (which, IIRC, was more of a fandom effort that later became canon).
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 02:43:35 AM by Rear Admiral Kikaimegami »
<Kikaimegami> technically every post I make is about Legion's ass!


This world is what we can give
Scarred from the way we lived
All those dreams we shared for you
How I wish they could come true
 :legionsnipe: :kikai:

We dreamed of a world in peace
But killed for a life of ease
Now we leave the wounds for you
What else can the dying do?


=^..^= (This) Forum Rules! =^..^= Legion Steam Community =^..^= My ME2 Projects =^..^=

July 06, 2012, 11:25:18 AM
Reply #23

Offline Octo

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I honestly don't see how one could possibly fuck this up more than to use a straight 1:1 of the Roman Alphabet. Especially if they would have a blanket excuse for any tonal screwup: "Hey, they're aliens, different voices." Presenting such an alphabet is already 'conlang', and they really kinda did screw that up. Really, nobody expects them to be all Tolkien like, but coming up with some stuff to make it more properly alien (or really, only of a foreign culture, nevermind alien) would maybe take an hour of thought at best.

But of course the really worst part are the 10 digits...
The First Human Spectre

My fanfiction. ME 1 with Shepard/Tali Romance. Currently over 300,000 words.

September 12, 2012, 12:46:59 AM
Reply #24

Offline JakaNarRayko

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I believe we have a topic about this already somewhere around... Can't quite remember where though.

The Quarian language, Khelish, does not have any real grammar og context to it unfortunately. I love languages myself, and I would be overjoyed if they actually bothered making something like this, but I doubt Tolkien works for Bioware, and thus it's very unlikely that we will ever get what we want.

I've tried making sense out of the few words we have, but the composition of the language is extremely difficult to piece apart and make sense of. The reason for this is because, like I said, the grammar doesn't really exist.

For now, we will have to sate our hunger with the simple translations of a few words:

    nedas nowhere
    tasi no-one
    vas [ship-name] crew of
    nar [ship-name] child of
    keelah "By the homeworld"
    keelah se'lai "By the homeworld I hope to see one day."
    bosh'tet curse/insult, likely being relative to "son-of-a-bitch" or "bastard".
    geth "Servant of the People"
    Rannoch "walled garden"

Wait you forgot one...

Emergency Induction Port - Straw

:)