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Batarian Language

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A batarian displaying suspicion and disrespect.

Batarian communication is an extremely subtle art, beyond that seen with most other species in everyday speech. Virtually all batarian languages and dialects encompass the fields of both spoken and body language at once to convey very specific messages.

Body Language:

General

  • Head tilted left: Respect and admiration
  • Head tilted right: Disrespect and contempt
  • Top set of eyebrows raised: Interest, curiosity
  • Head tilted forward, eyes looking up towards conversation partner: Suspicion

Colonial Dialects

  • Beckoning using the right hand, with eyes on the subject: Used to convey violent connotations and derision. Action's meaning specific to colony of Wualh'Halaan'Halaanian. A standard 'come hither' everyhwere else.

Spoken Language:

Despite the previous government wishing it were so, there is no one batarian language. The Hegemony was a collection of nations, and each nation had its own dialect (which pre-galactic contact were seen as separate languages entirely). These have been diluted a lot with international and then intragalactic mixing, but they form the core of the "batarian language". Then you have the castes. Each nation has castes - there are even different subcastes in some of them - and each gradually developed its own slang, which followed more or less the same pattern as the batarian language "proper" - mixing and mingling ever more as time went on.

General

  • Ak: Two, Second
  • Bystryo: Cruiser. Literally, "Swift", but used in this context to mean "fast ship", historical name for any vessel- sail, oar or fuel-fired- performing in a role similar to a cruiser's.
  • Chekt!: "Bite!", a command used when ordering a warbeast to attack the target.
  • Gren: Female child, daughter (possessive)
  • "Gorak nal ibsalis": "Their house, their rules".
  • Goron: Male child, son (possessive)
  • Harak: Literally, "Alert!". The term carried over from the language considered the batarian standard (see 'Spoken Language', above), and refers specifically to actions involving warbeasts such as varren. Other creatures can technically fit the term, but usually in the modern age you’ll see varren when this word’s being thrown around. In the jargon of T-Space mercenaries the term is used as a noun to denote warbeasts and guardbeasts as a category.
  • Provoldoknyy: Frigate. Literally, "submarine hunter/destroyer", a somewhat anachronistic description because the batarian frigate's nautical antecedent was tasked with detecting and attacking enemy submarines.
  • Reth: One, First, Alone.
  • Shan: Suffix indicating a superlative (ex. "Khar'shan", for "highest/greatest father").
  • Shar: Star, astral body.
  • Silahra: Catch-all term for Khar'shan fruit. Also a female given name.
  • Svyatyagor: Dreadnought. From Svyaty Gor "Goro the Sacred", after one of the mythical titans of batarian legend. In much the same way as humanity's experience, this one entered the batarian naval lexicon as the name of the class leader for a revolutionary type of battleship that resulted in all vessels of the type bearing the name (the revolution in this case being in deck armour plating).
  • Teil: Three, Third.

Camalan Dialect

As spoken on the colony of Camala.

  • Isan: Gem
  • Ji: A suffix roughly meaning "has hidden value"
  • Un: Stone
  • Tay: Red
  • Tayisan: A cut ruby
  • Tayunji: An uncut ruby

Colonial Dialects

  • Shmila: A slur specific to Wual'Halaan'Halaan, insulting the patronage of the subject.
  • Beserank: "One who has many husbands, but no love, " origin derived from Car'Pahaa colony.

Slang

  • In bin bin: Onomatopoeical adjective based on the sound of eating, used primarily on the extranet to indicate tastiness or satisfaction (origin unclear).
  • Shullagalag: Pertaining to obscene actions involving brooms.
  • Kra'tash (plural kra'tashi) : arguably the most common and effective batarian insult. Described as "quite filthy and therefore strong". Doesn't translate very well, therefore it tends to be rendered in actual batarian language. Functionally comparable to the quarian word "bosh'tet", albeit stronger and more offensive.

Numerology

On the whole, batarians have a preference for even numbers, and tend as a whole towards multiples of two or four when designing or planning something. This is partly an ingrown biological preference (due to the prevalence of four-eyed species as apex predators on Khar'shan) and partly a cultural construct drawn from religious doctrine and the inherent appeal of symmetry.

  • Due to its solitary nature, one is symbolic of personal initiative and leadership. As an odd number, it also indicates corresponding negative traits, such as stubbornness and overconfidence. Regardless of context, associating a person or organization with the number one suggests a streak of individualism, for better or worse.
  • Two is auspicious. It takes two batarians to produce a child, two hands to create, and two cycles (night and day) to pass time. Second sons in particular are looked upon fondly.\
  • Three is imperfect, close to the ideal four but coming up short, and often represents mortality or weakness.
  • Four is two times two and therefore extremely auspicious. The number recurs in nearly everything batarian-created; even during the atheist Hegemony period, there were four branches of government, four presiding ministers, four departments of interior security, and so on. (Satirists of the time noted the similarity to Kalnekh, at considerable personal risk.)
  • Five is abnormal, reaching beyond fourfold perfection, and often appears in metaphors for hubris, particularly the hubris of trying to reach beyond the state or the natural order for personal gain. The Special Intervention Unit's project to augment agents to thoughtspeed digital processing and physical superiority via nanotechnology and extensive neural implants was called Section Five.
    SIU Section Five emblem

    Emblem of Section Five

  • Six is prosperity: a starting point of four with a profit of two, and is often used when establishing business ventures or planning a large purchase.
  • Seven is death, and considered inauspicious or evil. Pundits on Khar'shan got considerable mileage out of humanity joining the Citadel, as that put the major non-batarian Citadel races (humans, turians, asari, salarians, volus, elcor, hanar) at seven. It is unknown whether this influenced continued hostilities by the Hegemony.
  • Eight ('ob') is written with the same character as 'ub', meaning 'not' or 'anti'. It acts as a symbol for negation; tagging a file with an '8' identifier indicates rejection (for example, of an application).
  • Nine signifies the roads; in the post-spaceflight period, it has come to represent a general form of travel, including use of the mass relays.

Combinations of numbers have interconnected meanings based on their components. For example, batarian merchants sometimes decorate their kiosks with "6666" (good fortune and prosperity), causing considerable bewilderment to their human customers. Seven is "death" and treated as bad luck, but eighty-seven is "not death" and looked upon favorably. Similarly, "879" commonly appears on batarian starships, and any ship with 879 in its registration number is considered auspicious for its passengers, in travel or combat.

Consider "187" of The Life Egregious: essentially, he is alone yet somehow not dead. Amusingly enough, his actual family name, Shar'teil (in essence, "three star") might have connotations of imperfection and inadequacy.

Out-of-character notes

  • "In bin bin" actually came about when one of CDN's batarian members, in the out-of-character IRC room, unwittingly typed what was supposed to be "om nom nom" with their hand in the wrong place on the keyboard.

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