Wednesday, August 18, 2010

About inconsistencies

Many will be aware of the fact that there is no real agreement on Khalani transcriptions into the Roman alphabet. The fact is that there was no standard whatsoever followed in any of the novels and authors just went as they wanted when facing the problem. The StarCraft quotations were no better in this respect. It seems they were intended as an approximation to English pronounciation, but in fact confused more than they helped for lack of a standard way to actually express the sounds of Khalani.

While facing the challenge of creating a consistent language for the Protoss I had to make some decisions on the way the words and phrases would be transcribed. Most of them will show no significant changes from what fans are used to seeing in such places as the StarCraft Wiki, some others had to be changed in favor of a standard or agreement. My approach was intended to be as close to the known transcripts as possible, while at the same time taking the similarities to make fixed rules. I will include the IPA of most words and sentences when needed. Links to show how the vowels and different consonants sound will be provided.

Some diphthongs and consonant clusters will be hitherto standardized. For instance the famous name Raszagal will here stand for /'ɹaʒagal/ which would sound very close to English "rashagal" the way Zeratul pronounces it in StarCraft II. Or the example below Adun toridas! is written in IPA for better understanding.

A different matter is the one about the tribal names of the Protoss, which I think are Human translations of the actual names in Khalani, since they represent stars and constellations as are named by Humans. So this will be addressed also in following posts.

En taro Adun!


  1. /'ɹaʒagal/ should rather be transcribed ['ɹaʃagal]. Also, conventionally final realizations should be written in square brackets and not slashes, which normally represent words in deep structure, i.e. before the derivation of allophonic processes.

    1. You are completely right, BadgerBrock, about the brackets, it was more of an stylistic choice. About the ʃ vs. ʒ dichotomy, let me explain.

      The fact is that sz and sh are two different sounds in Khalani, humans may confuse these two ways of symbolizing the affricate, but the fact is that the sz in Raszagal should actually be 'zh' and thus, the ʒ. In the case of Shelak for example the transcription would be rightly be ['ʃɛlak].

      I didn't want to go into all that at the time, but now that you mention it, that's the reason for the transcription.

      Hope too see more of you around here, and thanks for the comment!