Space Pirate Language

Home | Research | Dictionary

Background

The Space Pirates are a race of anthropomorphs which inhabit the Space Pirate Homeworld in the Metroid series created by Nintendo. They are known for their attempts at intergalactic terrorism.

An unknown writing system appears in the three Metroid Prime games, which I have utilized here (with values assigned at random) for this new conlang based on this story.

Phonology

The Space Pirate oral cavity is different when compared with Humans and Chozo. First, there are 4 rather large incisors located in the top front, with 3 smaller incisors on each side on the top. The bottom consists of 10 small incisors, 5 to each side. There are no molars. as such their phonological inventory will be different as well. We share with them bilabials, alveolars, and velars, all of which have voiced and voiceless pairs, as well as a third configuration involving their nasal cavity which sounds different than Human nasals (these are what we would call voiceless nasals).

However, what we would call a vowel inventory is not present in Space Pirate, as their vocal folds and oral structure are only capable of three different types of grunts: an open back grunt (equivalent to /a/), a mid back grunt (equivalent to /o/) and a closed back grunt (equivalent to /u/).

This leaves Space Pirate with a phonological inventory of only 12 phonemes:

p, t, k
b, d, g
m, n, ng
a, u, o

Orthography

Space Pirate has a many-to-one pairing for letters in their alphabet, e.g. many letters represent one sound. These "duplicate" letters serve three purposes: 1) to distinguish homographs, 2) to represent foreign phonemes, 3) to show the old, now lost pronunciation of native words (a change which occured over evolutionary development). [ ] represents the way to type the letter if different from its sound.

Consonants

Consonant

New Entry Added To Your Logbook

A consonant is any sound produced by partial or complete obstruction of airflow via the contact of the tongue with another part of the mouth.

Native Sounds

Stops p
p
b
b
t
t
d
d
k
k
g
g
Nasals m
m
n
n
X
ng [X]

Diacritics (Homographs)

The value written in parenthesis ( ) represents the realized pronunciation while the value listed is how it could be read for foreign words, though only by foreign people (Space Pirates cannot pronounce these sounds). There are three digraphs: a circle, an X, and a loop which resembles a cursive lower-case L. They can be hard to distinguish between, so be careful!

In speech, the realized value of any letter with a diacritic will always be that letter without it. Though, if a non-native speaker uses the foreign sounds, a Space Pirate will understand.

Fricatives s
s (t)
z
z (d)
S
sh (t) [S]
Z
zh (d) [Z]
f
f (p)
v
v (b)
h
h (k)
Affricates / Approximants C
ch (t) [c]
j
j (d) [j]
l
l (n)
r
r (n)

Vowels

Vowel

New Entry Added To Your Logbook

A vowel is any sound that is not a consonant, produced with unobstructed airflow through the mouth.

Native Sounds

a u o
a  u  o

Diacritics (Homographs)

The + digraph here represents fronting.

e           i
e/ae (a)     i/j (u)

Nouns

Pronouns

Pronoun

New Entry Added To Your Logbook

A pronoun is a part of speech which refers to a noun (person, place, thing, thought, or idea) either previously mentioned or inferred from context. Examples are: I, you, we, me, him, he, she.



Space Pirate has one unique feature in its language: rank. When directly addressing someone, you have to use the correct "rank" suffix on the pronoun. Look at the table below.

gnuo I, me dagnuo we, us
  • poto
    you (superior)
  • potu
    you (equal)
  • pota
    you (inferior)
  • dapoto
    you all (superior)
  • dapotu
    you all (equal)
  • dapota
    you all (inferior)
  • bopf
    it
  • bops
    he
  • boph
    she

  • dabop
    they

Reminder: bopf, bops, boph have diacritics on the last letter and are read like bopp, bopt, bopk respectively.

Plural Nouns

If you want to say that there is more than one of a person, place, thing, thought, or idea (a noun), then you have to add the prefix da. Here are some examples:

metroid
metroid
dametroid
metroids

Demonstrative Pronouns

hmabu
this
hmaba
that
bim
any
mokt
none

Interrogative Pronouns

liSne
how
livna
how much / many
lihat
when
lihma
why
lilaze
where
liZin
who
lidmon
what
libmom
which one

Note: li- is a prefix indicating uncertainty or questioning.

Examples

liSne gnuo upetan goin pakpo How can I format the file?

potu borra libmom Which one did you delete?

potu koSpo lidmon What are you updating?

liZin cofpo bops Who is he?

Indefinite Pronouns

any tom

every/each pana

none nado

some tnaki

Reflexive Pronouns

Verbs

Verb

New Entry Added To Your Logbook

A verb is a part of speech which indicates an action. In English, verbs change endings depending on when the action occurred and in some instances depending on who does the action. Examples include: to be, to run, to sit, to hit, to type.

Verb Agreement

Space Pirate does not use subject-verb agreement. So "I eat" and "he eats" will be the same form. All verb infinitives (the "to" form) end in -tan.

Present Tense

To get the present tense of the verb, we have to remove the tan and add on po. Below is an example:

sotan - to eat

gnuo sopo
I eat
dagnuo sopo
we eat
potu sopo
you (equal) eat
dapotu sopo
you all (equal) eat
bopf sopo
it eats
dabop sopo
they eat

Preterite Tense

Imperfect Tense

Future Tense

Conditional Tense

Perfect Tenses

To create a perfect tense, we need to change the main verb into its past participle by adding replacing tan with ra then adding the verb stubtan afterward, conjugating it accordingly.

Present Perfect

Past participle + stubpo

Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood indicates any action of which the speaker has: uncertainty, doubt, lack of control of the outcome, fear, requests, or desire. This is a common feature of romance languages which Space Pirate also utilizes a form of.

The verbs conjugate like normal, but if the vowel in the final syllable of the stem is a or u, then they get fronted (a + is added and they become e and i).

Examples

gnuo flopo pota kentan I want you to search - the verb kantan becomes kentan because the speaker does not really have any control of the outcome and it is a request. The action has not yet been realized.

gnuo flopo bops sotan I want him to eat - since the vowel is not a or u, no changes are made.

Passive Voice

The passive voice makes the object of the verb the subject of the sentence, and the subject the (indirect) object. In other words, the roles are switched. Here's an English example:

The cat chased the mouse. -> The mouse was chased by the cat.

Pirate has this same feature and is formed in the same way. Use a form of coftan with the past participle of the desired verb. Mark the subject of the original sentence with part.

gnuo koSpo goin -> goin cofpo koSra part gnuo

Auxiliary Verbs

In Space Pirate, an auxiliary verb is any verb that helps another, coming before it. The verb being modified is always in the infinitive "to" form for non-perfect tenses, and in the past participle for perfect tenses. Here's a short list:

Example Sentences

gnuo pakpo sotan
I can eat

Pota mat pakpo sotan
You (inf.) cannot eat.

dagnuo nunpo sotan
We will eat

bopf stubpo sora
It has eaten*

* -ra indicates a past participle.