Skrell Language

From Baystation

The Skrell language, commonly known as Skrellian, can be best described as a series of hums, warbles and croaks; while it would not make sense to other species without intense study and learning, the Skrells' intricacies of communication can display a wide variety of emotion and meaning that Zurich Accord Common (ZAC) cannot. With other languages such as ZAC, Skrell take on the accent of the person who taught them the language.

Skrell have trouble expressing emotion through simple words and body language when speaking in ZAC, but are capable of expressing emotion better then a human would if they were to sing or play an instrument due to their use of tone when speaking their native language. However, the way different emotions are expressed between different species often differ. It is for this reason that, to a Skrell, humans and most other alien species appear to be emotionally stunted, incapable of feeling or expressing as great a range of emotion as a Skrell.

In practice, someone wishing to have a basic, non-specialized conversation in Skrellian can manage with a vocabulary of around three hundreds words. The rest of the language's vocabulary is dedicated to more specific parts of Skrellian society – sometimes to a caste, sometimes to more specialized topics (the psychiatric vocabulary, for example, contains itself four hundred different words, which would bear no utility in unrelated conversations).

Skrellian written language – similarly to the spoken language – is hard to understand for non-Skrell. Based on logograms, it contains thousands of different signs, leading to vocal homonyms only differentiated by small variations in the tone and the pitch of the speaker.

Should the non-Skrell learner overcome these initial difficulties, they would be confronted to a much deeper problem, which is the influence of feelings in Skrellian written language. Indeed, no clear punctuation can be observed in a Skrellian text; the rhythm, intent, and sometimes the sense itself of a word is conditioned by the way it is written. The last word of a sentence might be indicated by a sharp logogram whose extremities are prematurely ended in the case of a formal text or an argumentative one, while in a more sentimental context or perhaps to express doubt the same character would be elongated, slowly fading on the same extremities. Skrell experience a far greater range of feelings that most species – some texts might even become impossible to translate to someone unable to understand those feelings, particularly in non-technical, practical, or scientific fields.

This particular method of writing made Skrellian literature extremely different from its human equivalent. More than a text to be read, it is also a delight to the eye, should the reader know where to look. It is not unheard of experimental writers who completely abandon the semantic aspect of literature to completely focus on the visual aspect, trying to tell their stories only through feelings rather than using traditional narrative methods.

Due to the need to facilitate easy naming and communication with other species, coupled with the difficulty of the Skrell language, Skrell adopt different naming conventions for use in non-Skrell space. While a normal Skrell name may be Uwooziivriziichinovrix Xrivrator'Kloa, this is considered difficult, lengthy, and unwieldy for non-Skrell, resulting in broken up, shortened, rough translations such as Uwoozii Vri'Vrix being adopted for inter-species communication. In some cases, Skrell choose to forgo such a name style and instead take either a nonsense name or one of a specific alien culture for convenience. As such, names like Bartholomew Aramaud and Tria Marsa are also found in use by Skrell in human space.

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