• Welcome to the new COTI server. We've moved the Citizens to a new server. Please let us know in the COTI Website issue forum if you find any problems.

vilani language

The grammar has been moved to:


Most of this stuff was already done when I pickd it up. I was an observer on the Traveller Language Development List when Vilani grammar was first being hashed out, way back in the fall of 1998.

The current lexicon has over 5600 words in it, and there's plenty of room to grow.

The current grammar draft has a more clearly stated discourse system and includes tonal variants for verbal prefixes and nominal cases. It also has semantic and idiomatic sections.

And if you haven't seen it, a first-grade Vilani reader (starring Ditzie) is at

Hi Rob,

Can you please tell me how you made your vilani grammar and lexica. Which traveller products have you used and have you used material from real world linguistics? (so, which?)

The grammar was hashed out by the Traveller Language Development List back in 1998, and was honed a bit more through 1999. I contributed very little -- I incorporated a suggested pitch-accent system, and I reworked the verb prefixes; both were done to account for the "three languages" mentioned in Vilani & Vargr.

The lexicon, as well as some hints for the grammar, was started from the Vilani words found in canon CT and MT sources. The grammar itself was devised by a linguist student, who wanted it to have the characteristics of a real human language, and not be noticeably European, Asian, African, Amerind, or what-have-you. Vilani grammar seems to have some affinity with Dyirbal or Finnish (I think). The wordlist has (or had) borrowings from Sumerian and Anglic, though for the most part the words are unique to Vilani.

In particular, Rob Day contributed a bunch of Vilani words back in 1998.

In short, this is a work of many dedicated Traveller fans. I am little more than a compiler, bringing the elements together and trying to polish the rough edges.

By the way, the lexicon is more or less beta-complete, with around 5700 entries. There are a few hundred more words that probably ought to be added sometime in the future, but I'm not up to the task at the moment.
Update. I'm currently looking for Vilani concepts that are universal and well-established in their culture; they don't have to be strictly 'canon', either -- they just have to be plausible.

I will be translating them into one- or two-word cultural concepts. Or if you have a Vilani word to represent a Vilani concept, please let me know.

Existing examples of Vilani concepts which have been crystallized into their language are:

likham: an unexpected or accidental event
linemsa: owning goods which are currently trading at a high price
madurmur: lack of a sense of smell ("smell-deafness?")
kun: to submit forms in triplicate
ni-niis: to walk somewhere as a habit
girgi: long-term low berth inhabitant

Examples of the kind of input I'm looking for:

* to buy very cheaply and make a great profit from
* to embarrass oneself by improperly cooking a guest's meal

As you can see, these examples are very specific in describing a situation, yet convey a cultural stance which is generally useful. If you can come up with things like this, then I'd be very grateful.
Kras: To show disrespect to a person in their own house.

Hinoir: To always be the last person to arrive somewhere (consistanly late).
Yeah, those are good. I'll Vilanicize the words a bit, to Kuras and Khinruu.
Sikarakirgashek- The binding pledge of honor. It is an oath taken under the most serious and solemn of circumstances. It evolves an elaborate ceremony, witnesses, a ritual dagger or sword and the sharing of food or drink. The oath has changed over the centuries and has entailed different obligations at different times and now is only rarely used. One constant through all time has been the punishment for those who break the oath. Those people were named Girinbaga by a jury of oath witnesses and such a label was as good as a death sentence. To be labeled as a Girinbaga named you as poison to the community and made you into a non-person. Food preparers were not obligated to feed you, someone could kill you in broad daylight and face few repercussions. Such cases were rare as only warriors and members of the nobility were legally able enter such oaths and those that did tended not to break them.
Parmasson, you've created some Vilani culture. I'll add those words to the lexicon. Cultural rituals are fine.

Please know that my main goal is to find words that are cultural shorthand, idiom, etc.

Therefore, I will probably extend Girinbaga to generally imply being disfellowshipped, outcast, disowned, and the like. I will probably not extend the meaning of Sikarakirgashek, since it's probably in current use, and sounds too solemn to broaden.
Khigikhuma-noun-The Stage/ Theatre, from words

khiga plays (theatrical), short silent and

Khum- verb- to act.

khigi- verb- to stage.

And if kheger is 'dissent/misbehaviour by underlings',

and girur is 'agree', [be in]-ment',

and guri is 'enemy/ foe',

then would not Khegur make a fine translation for "disagree, -ment"?

Just passing some of my Eaglestone conversions along, ya'll.
An unstoppable inevitable evil/death. It has a rather severe connotation, those who make light of it risk the fate of people today making a cancer or AIDS joke in a hospital.

The word is a literary reference to an ancient poem in volume five (Garirekiik Volume) by the court poet Henariikharaasiradar Aakhenarii in which the hero is stalked by an unnamed menace for twenty pages and it takes a further four pages for him to die. :eek:
By Kurarega Gikur

Amgadaashlaru: The anticipation of imminent, unavoidable battle.
(Constructed from elements of war+wait +RU "cosmic passive" future, I think . . . :rolleyes: )

An idea first expressed in epic poetry during in the era 126 pl-20 VI (circa AD 306) at the end of the Consolidation Wars. It was a word coined by the poets to express the feeling warriors experience just before battle with the barbarians. The term fell out of use during the following centuries until 416 VI when the very popular commander Lord Admiral Garduar* used it to illustrate the events of a victorious battle in lurid detail for the news correspondents. Today it is commonly known term since the great poets of the Consolidations Wars and Early Empire were inducted into the 51st modern revision of the Vland secondary school curriculum in 3,466 VI (500 imperial).

* Lord Admiral Gardur's career was cut tragically short by a bizarre accident when his shuttle lost power, exploded and had to be vaporized to protect the city from debris shortly after takeoff from Vland in 417 VI.

If you don't want all the extra just let me know. I just like to know where the ideas come from. I always saw Vland as a cross between late feudal Japan and Byzantium.
There is no word in the list for battle.

How about "Amalik" I think it obeys the rules for a transitive verb. If transitive is even correct.
Here's an example I did for someone's Vilani player character looking for 'mood' music to woo his lady love [another PC, a Vilani female Ship Captain]:

(Vilani) (chorus)
Laa Kiingaa shen Rishar zur Kamnam,
Laa Kiingaa shen la dara zur Laa;
Laa dara zur Para la’ ala Laa.
Rar Laa Lamazar puriram Kamnam.
Laa lak Simug aamar Amara
Ap-in nur shamraa zur Laa Shiramar;
Laa Dara lak puriram Unaru
Mirri nur Ma’aki zur Laa Tu’un
Laa lak lim Laa Kiingaa nur irii
Laa ka-ankaa siinug um binerii.
Laa Kiinga kuna Laa puriram
Sagamu argu-shii zur mirri
Laa Kiingaa Shurinik shishim nur,
Khu Kireme, khu Iguku zur um!
Laa Shiramar gakku um miirnuur,
Um khar Laa puriram Unaru khiir.

My lover is building a house by the ocean/sea,
My Lover is building a love for me;
My love like a flowing river carries me
To put my beautiful one’s heart by the ocean/sea;

I wish/desire the metal smiths hard iron
To plow the leaves of my flower;
My Love wishes/desires my heart’s Gold
That hides in the hills of my breasts.

I wish/desire to join my lover each night,
I tremble for the touch her.
My Lover calls unto my heart’s
Evening/Dark secrets so hidden

My lover carries a candle to burn,
No copper, No silver for her!
My flower will fall to her digging
Her quest my hearts gold complete

Unfortunately, I never did come up with a title for it. It was good practice with the Eaglestone library tho..

PS: They did 'marry' in game later..
Parmasson, thank you very much for the new words. This is good stuff. The history is fine (I'm going to have to figure out how to wedge it into the spreadsheet), but of course the words are priority one.


My goodness, Liam.

I'm amazed. You've actually written a sonnet. In Trade Vilani, or whatever it's called. Wonderful!

Perhaps the title could be Khema Shiramerak "Flower-Home".
<applause> <cheering>
:cool: :D
Excellent Work!

I can see a PDF book.

The Suma Vilani: History, artistic and cultural traditions of the Vilani People.

Chapter 1: Language and literature
Chapter 2: History
Chapter 3: Culinary arts