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Tazhai - an alternate, older Romulan Language

We regret Tazhai is no longer available, David has sold it to Hollywood - Platinum Studios. You may see it in a future movie, or not. This leaves Rihannsu the only claimant to Romulan language.
Legal Stuff: Platinum Studios reserves all rights of publication, in any media, throughout out the universe, for all time. Without their permission no one may publish, distribute, give away, or sell any form of Tazhai in any way on any media - neither Internet, BBSes, disks, or paper.

 Dune Chakobsa - Secret Language of the Fremen & Bene Gesserit

I can now offer CHAKOBSA:A Dune® Language designed by Alan S. Kaye, Ph.D. and John Quijada. The following article was originally published in the Cal State Fullerton Linguistics Newsletter, Fall-Winter 1991. Dr. McNelly, editor of the The Dune Encyclopedia and holder of the copyright, has kindly allowed the article to be posted here temporarily. He still retains full copyright.

Note: I, Tommy, slightly edited the introduction and added HTML formatting.
Also: 3 Dune® TrueType fonts are avaiable on the SFFONT page.

Chakobsa Introduction Note

[CSFLN publisher's Editor's Note: The following article, originally written more than a decade ago, was commissioned for The Dune Encyclopedia (New York: Berkley-Putnams, 1984), which published the Kaye-Quijada article entitled "The Fremen Language." Although that encyclopedia published a different article on Chakobsa, the following essay was recommended by the editor of DE to appear in the British edition and in any subsequent English or foreign language edition. It now appears highly unlikely that this article will ever be published where it was specifically commissioned to appear. It is therefore offered here "for the record." Science fiction fans take note!]
[Tommy deleted a dated paragraph here. Note, it never was used in other language editions.]

---end intro---


The Chakobsa language was a secret language, invented using mirabhasa principles for use by the Bhotani Assassins of the first war of Assassins. Its use was continued into the eleventh millennium by the Bene Gesserit whose Reverend Mothers were trained in its intricacies. It was also preserved in fragmented form by the Fremen of Arrakis who used it as a tongue of ritual and incantation.
The language itself is derived in part from the languages of the ancient Bhotani (the so-called Bhotani-jib), the first Imperial Assassins, as well as other obscure languages -- these elements being forged into a medium of speech, phonetically altered, designed to convey fine emotional subtleties -- the very principles of mirabhasa language.
An example of Chakobsa is seen in the ancient funeral ritual of the Fremen in which "water"(blood) of a dead tribesman is magically blessed:

Ekkeri-akairi, fillissin-follas.
Kivi a-kavi, nakalas! Nakalas!
Ukair-an ... jan, jan, jan ...
(Dune, p. 315)


The ancient Bhotani-jib is known from documents from the old Imperium. It is mentioned many times throughout these ancient documents that Nebud Khanzir I, the short-lived one who had usurped the throne from his cousin, Abu-Kalb the Elder, had employed the first Bhotani Assassins, who had infiltrated the latter's legions. It was Nebud Khanzir who standardized Bhotani-jib, deliberately altering the three dozen phalange consonant phonemes (or 37 in the northern dialect of Boh-Bho) and the baker's dozen epenthetic vowels (not counting the discrepancies over the rare, ill-documented occurrences of nasal vowels in the lower-class sociolects of the language) into the mirabhasa form in order to convey very fine emotional subtleties while retaining a concise form, well known to scholars (e.g., Naomi Chumpsky) who have studied the relationship between magic and religion and a secret language employed thereby.
As the centuries progressed this streamlined variant of Bhotani became known as Chakobsa, meaning 'magnetic speech'{ chaka 'magnet' + kabs 'speech' via final epenthesis and vowel harmony to kabasa='to speak'. It is reported by Omar Jacobsen (in the third volume of his Collected Writings, published in 10,047 in Ecaz City) that this terminology stems from the fact that the first Bhotani Assassins had a mutant physical characteristic by which they were able to seek out their enemies via the natural magnetic and piercing eyes for which they have been justifiably depicted in later artistic and sculptural works. The language mirrored the culture of its speakers as a hunting force since the Assassins hunted continuously. Reportedly, also according to Jacobsen, the Chakobsa language had the solitary place in the Imperium's Encyclopedia as well as in the curriculum of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood as the language with only one basic color term, RED, for the blood (water) without which life would be meaningless (all other languages have at least two basic color terms; one for a dark color, say black, and one for its opposite, white).
The presence of Chakobsa as part of the Fremen linguistic heritage stems, according to Fabre d'Olivet (in his La langue frémén resitutée), from the mystical coincidence of the Chakobsa script and the ancient Fremen alphabet employing very similar-looking characters. Many Fremen acolytes viewed this as an omen and sought to emulate Chakobsa culture in all language, especially for the secretive purposes of all sorts of rituals. This is evident in the Fremen chant of awareness:

Duy yakha hin mange, hari-hare,
Duy punra hin mange, lama-lama.
I have two eyes, Oh Lord!
I have two feet, Oh Lord!

Several of the leading Imperial families adopted Chakobsa as their personal battle language, and it always managed to serve them well. It was practiced early in the morning and late at night with a very high decibel level. It seems the early morning was best to chant the following hunting proverb (praying for a successful catch): Miseces prejia. Andral t're pera! Trada cik buscari miseces perakirí.


As is typical with other ritualistic languages, especially as used for the religious wars (jihad), Chakobsa uses the linguistic device known as reduplication quite successfully. This is evident in the funeral ritual already cited. The principle of vocalic change is manifest in the roots nakalas-nakelas, which is reminiscent of so-called Swine-Galachian in which vowels count for very little and consonants for even less as phonological mutations employ sometimes haphazard rules. Priests were, it seems to judge from all literature, the number one progenitors of this vocalic process as it had a mesmerizing effect on the Fremen religious acolytes. One acolyte, in fact, according to Fremen legend, worked himself up into such a frenzy that he felt he was communicating with Shai Hulud.
The word order of Chakobsa has puzzled scholars for millennia in that it is predominantly Object-Subject-Verb, that is to say, it is Object first. The only possible explanation for this linguistic aberration is that Chakobsa speakers thought first and foremost of others, and this natural empathy is thought to have produced the "magnetic" mutation.Note 1 There is a slight free variation in Subject- Verb or Verb-Subject, but the Object is always in the first position. Lee Benjamin Worhoff explained in a host of publications but particularly in his Language, Battle and Cry,Note 2 this magnetism as the difference between objective and subjective reality as perceived by the naturally-objective, atheistic, ultra- rational Bhotani people. Some scholars have indeed speculated that mira- in mirabhasa means 'rationalism', contra the standard theory that mirabhasa means "geminated language."


1. "Magnetic" mutation is always accompanied by the chant Jan, Jan, Jan! 'Go, Go, Go!' The more Jans, of course, the more magnetic force. This magnetism is also obvious in the mesmerizing chant: Ima trava okolo! I kornja okolo!
2. This was his graduate B.S. dissertation at the Royal Imperial University, Professor Josef Green Brogue, Advisor.

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