Cardassian Language

Jump to: navigation, search

OOC Note: This language first appeared on the Newsgroup alt.startrek.creative on 11 September 1995. It was written by Timothy Miller and converted to HTML by Chris Pinette.

I have since edited it, creating new rules and adding vocabulary. It is therefore considered my language based on the aboves’ base language.

The Cardassian language …….More info on the history and background of the language to come.


Letter Sound Pronunciation in Standard.
a[v] <a> as in Father or Taco
b as in Bob
c <sh> as in Shine
Ch <ch> as in choke, challenge
d <d> as in Dad
e[v] <ay> as in Bay
f <f> as in Fear
g <g> as in Good
G <gh> as in goal
h <h> as in Help
i[v] <ee> as in Beet
I[v] as in eye
j <Zh> as in Zhivago
k <k> as in Kick
l <l> as in Little
m <m> as in Mom
n <n> as in none
o[v] <o> as in poke

as in pop
q <qu> soft ku sound. same as Klingon
r <r> 'r' in Spanish, like in perro
s as in sad
t <t> as in top
Th <th> as in thin, path, this, these
U[v] <oo> as in boot
u[v] as in cut, gul
v <v> as in valve
w <w> as in wild or wow
x <ch> as in Bach, loch, mech, same as Klingon <h>
y <y> as in young or yay
z <z> as in zap
` <`> same as Klingon <`> (glottal stop)

There are no digraphs in Cardassian, so letter combinations like <th>, <sh>, etc. represent two separate sounds next to each other, not a single sound like in English. (Except Th, and Ch which are a single letters that makes the th sound)


The basic sentence structure requires that the Direct object be AFTER the Subject. The verb, however, can be placed before, between, or after them. An indirect object must be placed dead last in a simple sentence.


There are few words in Cardassian that can be classified as only functioning as verbs. Most verbs are derived from nouns or adjectives and suffixed with a tense marker. The tenses are:

'a Past
'I Present
'U Future

For example, if you take the word 'sight', which is <visf> and want to derive the verb 'to see' in the present tense, you get <visf'I>. When a tense is added to an adjective, it indicates that the subject has that property. For example, if you take the word for 'red', which is <gum> and attach <'I> to it, you get <gum'I>, which means 'to be red'.

Passives, Causuatives, Reflexives

There are three aspects that can be prefixed to a verb.

tu Passive
kin Causative
jik Reflexive

Passive indicates that an action is being done to a person, rather than by a person.

tuvisf'I to be seen
nu tuvisf'I I am being seen

Causative indicates that the subject of the sentence is causing the direct object to perform some action.

nu ka kinvisf'I rakith I cause you to see the food

Reflexive indicates that someone is doing something to oneself.

nu jikvisf'I I see myself

And you can combine any of the three:

nu ka kintuvisf'I I cause you to be seen


Prepositions head prepositional phrases and are prefixed to the head of the phrase.

cufrakith gum In the red food

Subordinate Clauses

Subordinate clauses, both dependant and relative, are handled by a prefix-pronoun pair. For dependant clauses (where a noun or verb is being modified), the prefix <ni> is attached to the word begin modified or referred to, and the pronoun <hi> is used in the next sentence to refer to it. <hi> would best be translated into 'that' in English, but it in relative clauses it can somes times be better translated as 'who', 'whom', 'to whom', or 'whose', depending on context.

ka nirayut taskinat'U; hi ka kinkith'I "Don't bite the hand that feeds you."
or more literally "You ni-the-hand will-not-bite; it you causes-to-eat."

Cardassian doesn't have participles (verbs being used as adjectives), but it can get the same effect by using a dependant clause. The sentence "The hired man is working." could be split up into "The man is working. He was hired." and mean nearly the same thing. One must split things up like this in Cardassian. Here, 'biting' is the present participle of 'to bite'.

nu niratunka visf'I; hi kinat'I I see the biting animal
or more literally I ni-the-animal see; it bites

A relative clause provides additional information about a previously mentioned noun or pronoun. The relative clause is introduced as a separate sentence that uses the pronoun <hi> to refer to the topic of the previous sentence.

lam niraduxt ga'I; nu hit visf'I. That is the man that I see
That ni-the-man is; I him see


In English, when a relationship of possession is being expressed, the word that is the possessor is modified, while that which is being possessed is not. Take the phrase "John's car", for example. Here, since John is the possessor, a suffix is added to indicate that relationship. Cardassian uses the exact opposite. In Cardassian, the 'possessed' is modified, while the possessor is not. This is described as putting the possessed into the 'construct state', while the possessor is left in the (normal) absolute state. The construct state is expressed by adding the suffix <ik> to the possessed, and the absolute (possessor) is placed before the construct (possessed).

duxt tapxik The man's house


Imperatives are simply expressed by telling someone that they will (or will not) do something, in the future tense.

ka lam hith'U Eat this. (you will eat this) You this will eat


In English, a word is made definite by putting 'the' before it. In Cardassian, the same is accomplished by prefixing ra.

ra Definite article

Military ships and stations are usually left without this definite article. (see Numbers, Military Words)

Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs fall immediately after the words they modify. Since Cardassian does not have grammatical gender or number, their adjectives are not modified to 'agree' with the nouns that they modify.

raduxt frep the short man (the man short)

If you wish to state that a noun has a certain property, you simply turn the adjective into a verb.

lam aws'I This is big


In most cases numbers are treated as adjectives and therefore fall after what they modify. Plural is not expressed explicitly in Cardassian.

raduxt frep nev The seven short men
(the man short seven) The seven dwarves

Exceptions are when the numbers are applied to denote an object’s position in a group. In such cases the number comes before the object it modifies, and has the prefix -ok to denote that the object is a part of a group.

Nevok rapeTha the seventh box (seventh the box)

Or if the object is a military object.

Terok Nor ninth station
Empok Nor third station

-ok suffice for number groups (first second etc)

zox 0
tud 1
kot 2
emp 3
rav 4
wep 5
hek 6
nev 7
tag 8
ter 9

-in 10
-ek 100
-uj 1000
-ap 10000
-oc 100000
-aq 1000000

Further numbers use a combination of suffixes (this does make for rather large words, most Cardassian prefer to write larger numbers down then to actually say them or write their words.)

Neciz Infinity (ney sheezh)

To Be

The verb <ga> (was, be, is, will be, to be) is used to express relationships between nouns.

si raduxt ga'I He is the man. (He the man is)
si raduxt ga'a He was the man. (He the man was)
si raduxt ga'U He will be the man. (He the man will be)
lam tapx ga'I This is the house.

Or if the tense suffix is required to stand on it’s own.

Without <ga> the following sentence would read “Chek’U, ‘U” which is not possible.

Chek'U, ga'U What will be, will be.

To Do

In most cases the verb ge, which is used to denote the verb to do, did, will do, have done, is not necessary in the structure of most sentences. But there are some that require it.

Nu lam ge’U I will do it.


Like English the word for has many, yet similar meanings, and like the passives, causatives, and reflexives the word for is a prefix that is placed in front of the object it refers to.

nu loxka lam ge’I I do it for you. (I for you that do)
loxsi lam ga’I This is for her (for her that is)


Questions in the English language are presented by having a question mark at the end of the sentence. And when spoken it ends on a high pitch. Plus the word where who what when how why etc when placed first usually denote a question.

Klingon though ends the sentence with the suffix ‘a’ to denote a question.

Cardassian in this is a mix between English and Klingon. It uses the words What when how etc, but also use a suffix at the end of the sentence.

For a question the following must be placed at the end of the sentence. Though (except for the suffix) all these words if not placed at the end of the sentence then statement is not a question (see below)

‘o question, said in a higher pitch to the rest of the sentence.
Gup How
Chax When
Chip Where
Chut Why
Chek What

The Present, Past and Future tenses play a major part in the context of the question.

lam Chek’I’o What is this? (This What-Is-?)
lam Chek’a’o What was that? (That What-Was-?)
lam Chek’U’o What will that be? (That What-will be-?)
lam Chip’I’o Where is this? (This Where-Is-?)
lam Chip’a’o Where was that? (That Where-Was-?)
lam Chip’U’o Where will that be? (That Where-will be-?)

The word ‘is’ doesn’t exist as a word in Cardassian; so to say “Is this big?” you would say.

lam aws’I’o Is this big? (This big-is-?)

If the statement is not a question and still uses the Gup (How), Chax (When), Chip (Where), Chut (Why) and Chek (What), then they are placed at the appropriate locations depending on the context of the sentence. For example the saying “What will be, will be.”

Chek'U, ga'U What will be, will be.

The words do, will you, does, have you, has, etc. Does not exist in Cardassian. The addition of the suffix ‘o to a sentence will be sufficient.

ka lam hith'U'o You're going to eat this? (you this eat-will-?)
ka lam hith'a'o You've eaten this? (you this eat-have-?)
ka lam hith'I'o You're eating this? (you this eat-are-?)
si lam hith'U'o He is going to eat this? (He this eat-will-?)
si lam hith'a'o She has eaten this? (She this eat-has-?)
si lam hith'I'o He's eating this? (He this eat-is-?)
nuka lam hith'U'o We're going to eat this? (We this eat-will-?)
nu ka lam kinhith'a'o I made you eat this? (I you this made-eat-?)

Military Words (or Clipped)

The military use the same language but usually it’s clipped and looses a lot of the prefixes. For example to say “Eat this.” In standard Cardassian you would say “ka lam hith'U” Which literally contains:

  • ka – You
  • lam – this
  • hith – eat
  • ‘U – to be

To say this in the clipped or militarised version you would drop the tense suffix (‘U) and if possible the subject, in this case: You (ka)

So it would be:

lam, hith Eat this. (this, eat) (there must be a paused after lam, otherwise the sentence will not make sense)

Other examples:

lam, aws This is big (This Big) (there must be a paused after lam, otherwise the sentence appears to be an adjective)
Nevok pTha The seventh box (seventh box)
duxt frep nev seven short men
duxt frep The short man (short man)
lam duxt; nu visf. That is the man that I see (that man; I see) (in this case it was not possible to drop the subject, I(nu))

For questions, if using the words Gup (How), Chax (When), Chip (Where), Chut (Why) and Chek (What) it can be possible to drop the suffix ‘o. (Be careful of the placement of he above words, as putting it in the wrong spot end up not meaning a question.) Though for most questions the Past, Present and Future tense will have to stay to maintain coherence.

lam Chek’I What is this? (This What-Is)
lam Chek’a What was that? (That What-Was)
lam Chek’U What will that be? (That What-will be)

Useful Cardassian Phrases

English Cardassian Pronounciation Literal translation
Hello salmakt saa l maa k t Hello
To your health (common greeting, closing, or toast)
hintik heennt eek Your Health
Yes dith deeth yes
No yaq yaa coo no
Do you speak Cardassian? ka jox kardasi'I'o? kaa Zhock kaar daa see eye oh? you speak Cardassian?
To kill Breyet’I bray yate eye to kill
To give strength haz’I kriyet haaz eye kree yate to give strength
What does not kill, strengthens Chek tasbreyet'U; haz kriyet'U Chek tar s bray yate oo haaz kree yate oo What not-kill-will, give strength-will
Victory bokter bok t ayr Victory
For Cardassia loxKardasia loch kaar daa see aa For Cardassia
Are you suggesting an alien conspiracy? ka jakon radakilom sark'I'o kaa jaak oh n raa saarrr k d aa k ee l oh mm eye oh You suggest the conspiracy alien-are?


This is the current vocabulary. More words will be added when they are learnt…

-? denotes prefix

?- denotes suffix

-'a Past
-'I Present
-'U Future
tu- Passive
kin- Causative
jik- Reflexive
visf sight
nu I
ka You
si He, her, etc
nuka we (including speaker)
nusi we (excluding speaker)
kith food
gum red
cuf- in
yut hand
kinat bite, to bite
ratunka animal (both creature and insult)
duxt man
tapx house
hith eat
frep short
lam this that etc
aws big
pTha box
Nor Station
lox for
Gup How
Chax When
Chip Where
Chut Why
Chek What
salmakt hello
hint health
dith yes
yaq no
jox speak
breyet kill
kriyet strength
haz give
tas not
bokter victory
jakon suggest
dakilom conspiracy
sark offworlder (alien) (also a prefix for anything offworld related: sarkka (you alien))
'udu sample
ital not known