Tarkas are capable of producing a wide array of pitches, some of which are lower than the average Human bass voice. Their highest pitches are usually well below Human falsetto or coloratura soprano except in the case of very rarely gifted individuals. They hear in roughly the same frequency ranges that Humans do with an additional edge into the sub-sonic. Growling and roaring is no more common among Tarkas than it is among Humans. They have vocal chords similar to our own, with a greater range, and speak in pitches ranging from bass to soprano. An adult male Tarka who has undergone the full Change does have a voice significantly lower than most Human males of any age but in non-stress situations he simply converses in a pleasant low rumble. However, given the size of his thoracic cavity, if the General does raise his voice the sound is truly terrifying!
Tarkasian civilization is splintered into countless hierarchies, each with its own chain from highest to lowest. Any Tarka language will sport countless dialects which identify the speaker by social standing, regional origin and level of education. Speakers of the so-called "gutter dialects" tend to come from the bottom strata of society, the poorest areas and to have the least formal education. They are engaged in the lowest and most dangerous tasks. By contrast those who are able to converse in Kona Kai, "the High Speech", are likely to be family of the Nine Emperors or the Supreme Commander. When Tarkas who cannot speak one another's language or dialect meet and must communicate, they quickly fall back on the one Tarka language which is truly universal—the Egg Knock Code. For military purposes Tarkas use a simple, direct language called Urdu Kai, "Fleet Speech".
On their own homeworld there are 13 main languages, spoken by 13 distinct racial sub-types. Tarkas from long-lost colony worlds have also suffered from genetic and cultural drift and sometimes lose all contact with the homeworld and its empire—developing their own languages and dialects.
The Tarka speak many languages, but the most frequently spoken are Urdu Kai, Kona Kai, and the various "Gutter Dialects" spoken by the lower classes, most of which are mutually intelligible by the use of a pidgin.
Urdu Kai is the language of the Tarkasian military classes and it is the official language of their empire, much as English is for SolForce. Kona Kai is the language you would wish to speak in order to communicate as a peer with the Supreme or the various members of the Kona caste.
One of the most important grammatical rules in any Tarkasian dialect is the difference between the masculine and feminine forms of a word. Most Tarkasian names are descriptive, for example, and come in masculine and feminine forms: "Lan" is the masculine form of "Big/Formidable" in both Urdu and Kona Kai, and "Lana" would be the feminine form.
When used abstractly however, Lan would be an adjective modifier and Lana would represent the active principle and behave more like a verb. "Fane Lan" would be "Large/formidable Fleet", a noun adjective pair. But if you say "fane lana" it's more along the lines of "the fleet enlarges/becomes formidable".
All Tarkas have several names. The first of these are given in the shell, and are usually endearments between caregivers and the unhatched Tarka—pet names, as it were. The more important names are given on hatching day.
The first name is personal and is usually simple and direct. It generally reflects a desirable quality in a person or a positive quality that the parents like about the child. For example, "Ish" is a common name for males born in the military caste, meaning "lively" or "spirited". Male names are usually one syllable; the feminine version of the same name is reflected by an additional vowel:
- Ish, Isha/Ishita: "lively or spirited"
- Sar, Sara/Saruna: "lean", "whip-like"
- Lan, Lana/Lani: "large", "muscular"
- Kal, Kala/Kalu: "beautiful", "glossy"
- War, Wara/Waruti: "emerald", "precious green"
A Tarka's family name is matronymic and is based on the clan and rank of his mother. The rank is first and the clan name is given last. There are countless different Tarka clans, and Tarka clan names, like many human family names, tend to be based on ancestral occupation. The clan name "Orr" has the same meaning as the human name "smith"—"one who works in refining and shaping metal". The clan name "Gulto" has the same meaning as the human name "Cooper"—"one who creates casks and barrels". For example, from the name "Thok'Orr" we learn that this Tarka was the son of a female of the Orr who achieved a rank equivalent to that of a major.
If a male Tarka undergoes the Change, the honorific "Var" is added to his name, which is the equivalent of "Sir" or "Mister". Thus we wind up, in the mid-point of the Tarka's career, with a name like "Var'Ish Thok'Orr": "Mr. Spirited Son of a Major of the Orr". Therefore "Var'Ish Thok'orr" was once simple "Ish Thok'Orr"—but that's Mister Ish Tho'korr to you nowadays!
Additionally, suffixes can be added to the end of names to indicate various states or feelings of the speaker toward the object or person. For example, "Do" is a suffix that indicates intimacy and affection in the Tarka language, with the feminine equivalent being "dora".
Compilation of Tarka-to-English Translations
Like most translations into English, not all words are translated literally. For example, consider the phrase "Ba kreen, Kaan’Ish" which translates to "Listen up, yard-apes". Literally, there's probably not a direct translation of "Kaan'Ish". It means roughly, "Every member of the current force or complement who is currently milling around". "Ba kreen, Kaan'Ish" is what the sergeant would bark if everyone was sitting around throwing dice and playing cards and he had an announcement.
- Translation: Idiomatic. “Please.” Literally, “I will love you.”
- Translation: "The desire to entwine".
- Translation: "Egg lust".
"Hanaru ya Bente Vu."
- Translation: "The Stars Make the Best Eggs".
"Ba kreen, Kaan’Ish."
- Translation: "Listen up, yard-apes".
"Kaan, Kokari, Kogoru — Habas, Harraku, Hanakuum."
- Translation: "Force, Desire, Victory: Honor, Ambition, (Interstellar) Empire".
"Ba kreen dula Fane Go'Rada. Ya Var'Ish Tho'korr, du Tarka massa kaan Haaku. Vreen dumah lolokaad. Praada!"
- Translation: "Your attention, to the Ships of Aliens (Not-Tarka). I am Var’ish Tho’korr, of the Tarka strike force Haaku. Depart from this region-of-space. Now!"
|Hanaru||The Stars||Harraku||Ambition||Ish||Personal name: Of military caste; meaning "lively" or "spirited".|
|Kuum||Empire||Lao||pl. "dieties" or "celestial beings"||Orr||Clan name: One who works in refining and shaping metal.|
|Mek||pl. females, w/ sexual connotation—Human equivalent might be "hotties" or "honies"||Thok'||Personal name: Denotes mother with rank of major.||Tot||Favor|
|Urdu||adj. "Common"; syn. "Fleet"||Vanuu||Lust||Var||"Sir" or "Mister": Title given to Changed males.|
|Vu||Egg||Ya||conj. "to be"|
Tarka planets are generally given a prefix of Ke, Kao, Ku, Ko, or Ka, depending on the dialect spoken by the Tarka who discovered that world. These are all the same word and translates as "fort", "castle" or "citadel", although the same word is also used to describe a temporary camp with a palisade. Any community living within a defensive perimeter is a "ko". While most worlds will follow this pattern, there are some exceptions to this prefix rule.