Help making sense of Protoss?

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MoonRightRomantic
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Help making sense of Protoss?

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 02:01

I am trying to make sense of the Protoss "language" in Starcraft. It's not actually a language, just a bunch random gibberish intended to sound cool.

http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Khalani
https://khalani.wordpress.com
http://khalani-language.blogspot.com/
https://www.reddit.com/r/starcraft/comm ... nd_report/

The blog tried to make it into a conlang but gave up years ago. I am not very good at figuring out a system of logic behind the existing lexicon so I was wondering if anyone could help.
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Isfendil
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Re: Help making sense of Protoss?

Post by Isfendil » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 01:36

I mean, I'll try, but you have to understand that the Protoss having a human-resembling language at all is kind of a conceit. They lack mouths. They wouldn't and technically don't even communicate the same way we do.
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Isfendil
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Re: Help making sense of Protoss?

Post by Isfendil » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 01:53

Oh, wait, you said it's gibberish. Alright, so here's the thing: there's no actual method to the madness of these vocabulary lists here, so if you want to make a conlang based on what you're looking at, you can choose to interpret the words and divisions however you wish. Just take a look at the glosses on offer and then based on those glosses, make up how the listed word provides the grammar. I will show you.

Adun Toridas, glossed as "Adun hide you" or "May Adun give you sanctuary." You have some options here. Adun is obviously a personal name, so it will always stand apart and you already know exactly what it means, but Toridas is some kind of multipart word comprised of the grammatical meanings of "protect/hide", {IMP/JUSS}, and {2}. Because it is some kind of imperative or jussive, whether or not there is a {2}, a second person marker, is optional. So, you can break the word down in a variety of ways and then just assign the values how you wish.

To-rid-as
2-hide-IMP
Tori-d-as
protect-2.P-JUSS
Tori-da-s
protect-JUSS-2.S

Et cetera et cetera. Now, this affords you the full freedom to assign meaning to whatever individual pieces you choose to see, but if you want more specificity, try to see if any component (or something you could "pretend" is a component) occurs in other translated words with the same meaning.

The only other phrase I could find with an Imperative/Jussive meaning in the english translation is Khas il'adare ("May your spirit soar"). Let us compare the two

Adun Toridas
Khas il'adare

Now, Khas seems to mean order in most places, so we're gonna assume its a noun and ignore it, but, if you so choose to say that these sentences use the same morphology, there is one similarity.

Adun Toridas
Khas il'adare

The only commonality between the two sentences is some kind of jussive (not imperative anymore, now that we have the second one to confirm) meaning, so you could feasibly decide (again, decide, it's all gibberish, you are mostly assigning it meaning not deciphering it) that [da] is a jussive affix or component.

Or, you could say the sentences are unrelated and interpret them in your own way. Honestly, don't treat those other constructions of the language as if they're important somehow, these conlangers did exactly the same thing I did hear, just on a larger scale. You can of course look at them for inspiration or try to continue their logic but there's nothing inherently less arbitrary about their decisions regarding the grammar of Khalani than yours would be.
MoonRightRomantic
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Re: Help making sense of Protoss?

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Mon 27 Nov 2017, 15:13

Isfendil wrote:
Sat 25 Nov 2017, 20:43
Hey did this help at all?
Sorry, I was away over thanksgiving. I wanted to make an update: it seems that I was wrong about the phrases being gibberish, since a number of them are repeated with English equivalents.

On the wiki pages:
http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/StarCra ... quotations
http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/StarCra ... quotations

The Protoss units often repeat the same phrase in both English and Protoss. There are repeating patterns which indicate that there is an underlying logic of some kind. This suggests that the game designers referred to a common dictionary or phrasebook. The difficulty is determining which phrases are paired, since this is not explicitly noted.

Here are some translations I am pretty sure are correctly paired:
"Nas beru uhn'adarr?" = "You seek our service?"
"Nas beru s'adarr?" = "You require counsel?"
"Orin ore'kal arash" = "My mind is my own"
"Uhn ore'ki atum" = "Our minds are as one"

Both the transliterations and translations do not seem to be very precise (e.g. there are multiple versions of the same phrase, such as "En aru'din" and "En harudim", both meaning "in memorial", and many of the phrases come solely from audio files that are virtually unintelligible), and I doubt the writers were aware of how languages work.

I will try to put together a spreadsheet later.
Edit: Yeah, the transliterations are horrible and inconsistent; they only make things more confusing. I would have to listen to every sound file myself and record them in IPA to get a correct approximation, and even then it probably would not match what the writers originally wrote before the clearly American voice actors mangled it. After more attempts to figure out which quotes are paired, I have discovered that "Khalani" is most likely just a surface level cipher of English with auxiliary words removed to obscure this (e.g. "ki" means "as" in "As all are one" / "Ki nala atum" and "Our minds are as one" / "Uhn ore'ki atum"). There's no point trying to make a conlang out of it. For eff's sake, why couldn't they have hired a conlanger?
Edit: Whoever tried transcribing the audio on the wiki did a crappy job (what the heck are those apostrophes and silent letters for?), but I am too lazy to correct it. Here are the untranslated phrases which included a translation in the units' other quotes. These are the only ones I am quite sure are accurate.

Alakor de zhakan! = "I strike from the shadows!"
Aradal zu mah = "Victory is assured."
Arazi'el kha'dor = "Weapon systems engaged."
Aru nal'adan! = "None shall stand!"
Doom'ha du nala! = "Death comes to all!"
Ik ku dar anai = "It shall be done."
Ik sha'bi = "It is destined."
Na Adan Atum! = "We stand as one!" or "We stand unified!"
Na adan Daelaam. = "We stand unified!" or "We stand with our allies."
Na Adan Saiosh = "We stand watch."
Na ja ka mi na = "We serve with pride."
Na zuktai = "We interpret."
Nas beru s'adarr = "You require counsel?"
O'na zhakan en Zhakul = "I am a shadow in darkness."
O'naron il'aroj = "I share your aim."
Orin ore'kal arash = "My mind is my own."
Orin shis'nal. = "My meditation is over."
Paradak ural = "Prismatic core online."
Peradak aghanizha = "Prismatic beams aligning."
Por aradal! = "To victory!"
Por zalah = "For glory!" or "To glory."
Rautha sak ash = "Duty is my shield."
Ruwak khador = "Weapons primed."
Sal'orin khador = "Phase disruptors primed."
Sha'zu du templari! = "On the wings of justice!"
Templari por Aiur = "Vengeance for Aiur."
Uln-un anai = "Consider it done."
Zhakan s'ak-ash = "The shadows are my shield!"
Zintar khador = "Disruptor primed."

Since some words are repeated, I think they referred to a dictionary most of the time. "khador" means primed or engaged, "sak ash" means shield, "anai" means done, "zalah" means glory, etc. The pronouns are mildly interesting: "na" means we, "nas" means you, and "o" means "i/me."
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