Surrogate Language Primer w/ PDF Link

PDF Version available here: Surrogate Series Language Primer


NOTE: This primer is subject to periodic update. (last update 8/14/17)

There are five languages spoken in the Surrogate Series: Terran Common, Alyward, Cycalk, Takla, and Panpobal.

NOTE: I’ve basic linguistic understanding and a bit of training, but I am in no way a linguist, so if there’s a mistake in your eyes, remember, these are my worlds, languages, and peoples—all my creations. The decisions made are mine alone be they good or bad.

Here are a few pointers concerning each language to get you going.

Terran Common is the language of diplomacy, trade and of Humans in the Surrogate Series, because the Takla, Humanity’s greatest ally, cannot be easily spoken by Humans. Taklas can, however, speak Terran Common with relative ease. Terran Common is a future version of English, with heavy influence from other languages like English, a borrower language, so often does.

Alyward is well, the language of Alywards. There are hundreds of dialects depending on what world someone is from, but Etain speaks both Gno’ worker Alyward and formal Alyward, both of which she teaches her children.

Alyward Language Features: Alyward is a flowing, vowel-concentrating language that’s almost poetic in its sound

Cycalk is, simply put, the language of the Cycalk species. Again, there are variations based on point of origin, but the Cycalk spoken in the Surrogate Series is common to the Znyrs religious cult and the political group Clkya Sa.

Cycalk Language Features: Cycalk is a harsh, consonant-heavy, guttural language. There are two vowel sounds – an a (ah, like in amen) and a y that represents a long e (as in tree) when it is inside or at the end of a word. For example, one of the characters in Hunted, Yaltnry’s name is pronounced as Yahln-tree. All sounds take the harder English version, meaning c sounds like k, g sounds like the g in gold, etc. This derives from Cycalk [kee-kahlk] biology. Their mouths hold double rows of teeth, so it’s almost impossible for anything they say to come out sounding smooth or flowing to the human ear.

Takla is divided into two pitch-based dialects, High and Low. Easy enough in principle, but each version derives from the Takla species’ aquatic roots. High Takla is used beneath the water, because high pitches carry better there. Low Takla pitches lie within the normal Human speaking range and are used above the water when speaking to each other and to other species. Humans and Alywards living among the Takla wear aural modifiers which adjust High Takla tones into their hearing range.

Takla Language Features: The Takla tongue flows like water, soft consonant with notable exceptions. Additionally, when a Takla splits tones, jumping from Low to High Takla or the reverse, they are showing stress.

Panpobal isn’t given space inside this primer, because it’s based on binary code— zero/one, off/on. Etain Ixtii understands the language because of her Panpobal genetics, and teaches it to her children and others. That said, the language has two distinct rules: No more than four words, six syllables in each sentence.


NOTE: this language primer is listed in alphabetical order so readers don’t need to know the language of origin to search for each term.

Achn at tnk–(Cycalk) [ah-kn aht tnk] have fun/ play

Achta na–(Cycalk) [ahk-tah nah] help

Adrat–(Cycalk) [ah-draht] bandage

Aeja–(Alyward) [ah-ae-jah] time between, Alyward pregnancy scent

Ah–(Cycalk) you, your (singular)

Ahta–(Cycalk) [ah-tah] you, your (plural)

Ahta sa–(Cycalk) [ah-tah sah] what do you want?

Alth–(Cycalk) [ahlth] easy

Akierlasta–(Takla) [ah-keer-last-ah] male royal head of the Takla Empire

Akierli–(Takla) [ah-keer-lee] female royal head of the Takla Empire

Alyward–(Alyward) [al-eeh-ward] humanoid species whose original genome has been has been irrevocably altered by millennia of genetic engineering

Ashk–(Alyward) [ahshk] any person who identifies as queer, intersex, transgender, asexual, or nonbinary no matter their physical gender

Autalaci–(Alyward) [aut-a-laech-ee] faithful one (term used for male or sire-capable ashk committed to a breeding female or ashk)

Aya–(Cycalk) [ah-yah] edible yellow tuber resembling a yam

Badyan–(Cycalk) [bahd-yahn] child

Barnr–(Cycalk) [Bahrn-r] a Clkya Sa city on the Clkya moon Tah

Batzk–(Cycalk) [baht-z-k] dangerous

Blan–(Cycalk) [blahn] blood

Brval–(Cycalk) [br-vahl] family

Brvalta–(Cycalk) [br-vahl-tah] A Znyrs cult member who promises to care for and protect a friend’s family if they should die

Calla–(Cycalk) [cahl-lah] to hear, listen

Calla sa–(Cycalk) [cahl-lah sah] You hear? / What’s that noise

Calla Yaltan–(Cycalk) [cahl-lah yahl-tahn] Znyrs military ranking below Yaltan (elder) status, elder listener

Cirlec–(Alyward) [sir-leek] Circle, the layout of consensual sexual relationships between Alywards, the breeding and support system commonly surrounding an Alyward woman or breeding ashk

Clkya–(Cycalk) [kl kee-yah] small, class M world with extended polar caps and a small, equatorial temperate zone from where Cycalks derive

Clkya Sa–(Cycalk) [kl-kee-yah sah] Clkya’s largest and most powerful unified Cycalk political entity

Clthrc–(Cycalk) [kl-thr-k] kill

Clthrcla–(Cycalk) [kl-thr-clah] die

Crllat–(Cycalk) [krl-laht] first Cycalk city Etain and Brigit are brought to on Clkya

Cullea–(Alyward) [cool-lee-ah] protein rich, mixed grain cereal

Cycalk–(Cycalk) [kee-kahlk] intelligent, bipedal, humanoid species native to Clkya possessing a large frame, a height between two and three meters, double rows of teeth, ears that rest high on the head, and body pelts that vary in color and texture but all turn silver when their breeding years are finished

Da–(Cycalk) [dah] my

Dadtyl–(Cycalk) [dahd-teel] tell, say

Dae Flynae–(Alyward) [day flee-nay] my heart’s desire (term of endearment)

Dafan–(Cycalk) [dah-fahn] defend

Dafan Dana–(Cycalk) [dah-fahn dah-nah] Defender, Znyrs military member

Dafanlk–(Cycalk) [dah-fahn-lk] defenses

Dana–(Cycalk) (dah-nah] our, ours

Dast–(Cycalk) [dahst] now

Da tnnaw–(Cycalk) [dah tn-nahw] please

Edaeal–(Alyward) (ee-day-ahl) family

Eja–(Alyward) [ae-ja] female breeding time-span where instinct outweighs the woman’s morals and personal safety

Fdatyl–(Cycalk) [f-dah-teel] fighter

Fttsas–(Cycalk) [ft-tsahs] {short for Fyts tsasas – body burners} those trained to euthanize the badly injured/ terminally ill and care for the dead in Znyrs communities

Fytahsas–(Cycalk) [feet-ah-sahs] soother, counselor (literally: one who eats the fire for you)

Fyts–(Cycalk) [feets] fire

Gllt–(Cycalk) [gl-lt] poison

Glltazna–(Cycalk) [gl-lt-ahz-nah] powdery fast-acting poison often pressed into pill form

Gno’–(Alyward) [noh] Etain Ixtii’s home world

Grar–(Cycalk) [grahr] female orgasmic fluids

Grar tch sa–(Cycalk) [grahr tk sah] sexual aid

Gstas–(Cycalk) [g-stahs] blade-toed climbing straps that fit around shoes or boots

Gly–(Cycalk) [glee] wait

Haeck–(Takla) [heyk] insect

Imma–(Alyward) [im-mah] intimate best friend

Lyttlyr–(Cycalk) [leet-t-leer] scent masking oil

Lak–(Cycalk) [lahk] like

Lanch–(Cycalk) [lahnk] a Znyrs execution ceremony involving the ritualistic shredding and consumption of the condemned while keeping them alive as long as possible

Mahnty–(Cycalk) [mahn-tee] Dafan Dana rank, leader

Matz–(Cycalk) [mahtz] {contraction} I have

May ohn toive–(Takla) [mae ohn toh-eve] take me tides (used as an oath/swear)

Maz–(Cycalk) [mahz] I, me

Maz tsa–(Cycalk) [mahz tsah] lover (literally: the one I eat)

Mioto–(Takla) [mee-oh-toh] mine

Mo–(Takla) [moh] my

Monkierli–(Takla) [mon-keer-lee] royalty secondary to the akierlasta and/or Akierli

Myt Basa Tra–(Cycalk) [meet bah-sah trah] Fertile Forest

Naba–(Cycalk) [nah-bah] Mama/mom

Nabata–(Cycalk) [nah-bah-tah] Mother

Ntch–(Cycalk) [ntk] ye

Ntch sa–(Cycalk) [ntk-sah] very much

Ntch ya–(Cycalk) [ntk-yah] thank you

Ntch ya sa–(Cycalk) [ntk-yah-sah] thank you very much

Ottonol–(Alyward) [ah-tah-nahl] woman who protects and aids another woman through eja

Pa–(Cycalk) [pah] we

Pac’za–(Cycalk) [pahk-zah] {contraction} we will

Pahalyn–(Cycalk) [pah-hah-leen] communication device worn on the ear or carried like a table

Pltar–(Cycalk) [pl-tahr] yellow fruit like thick-skinned apple

Pltznach–(Cycalk) [pltz-nahk] fool

Ptrrryl–(Cycalk) [pt/rolled r/ eel] large, black predatory bird with hooked wing feathers

Ptz–(Cycalk) [pt-z] water-activated foam used to trick stomach into filling full and stopping bleeding

Rantzla–[rahnt-zlah-ah] (Cycalk) knife

Ryah–(Cycalk) [ ree-ah] Clkya Sa’s standardized monetary system

Ryt–(Cycalk)[reet] hurry

Sa–(Cycalk) [sah] multi-meaning word (too, more, also…) depending on context

Safe Harbor–(Terran Common) [seyf hahr-ber] {variant on the Takla Sey Harrair – sheltered place} One of two moons orbiting Takran, the only inhabitable moon of Takran, Takran’s docking/trade moon and sole port of legal entry to the planet Takran

Sala–(Takla) [sey-ley] family

Salk su–(Takla) [sahlk- soo] sweet sand (term of endearment)

Sanallyna–(Cycalk) [sahn-ahl-lee-nah] the finding, a time in life where a silver pelt changes her/his life and is expected to marry or find a long-term relationship

Sata–(Cycalk) sah-tah] prayer

Satk–(Cycalk) [sahtk] prayers

Shae-Bast–(Alyward) [shay-bahst] (She-Beast in Terran Common) term which commonly refers to the Alyward female breeding instinct

Schatja–(Cycalk) [skaht-gah] little treasure (term of endearment reserved for Alyward spouses)

Slydrra Za–(Cycalk) [slee-d/rolled r/ah–zah] Znyrs town

Sntcha–(Cycalk) [snt-ka] no, not

Sntcha Blan sa–(Cycalk) [snt-ka-blahn-za] not for blood (curse/oath)

Sntcha sa–(Cycalk) [snt-ka sah] stop

Strydak–(Cycalk) [stree-dahk] large rodent raised for meat (resembles capybara)

Tah–(Cycalk) [tah] one of Clkya’s two moons, a terraformed moon used for agriculture and livestock, home of the largest Clkya Sa city Barnr

Takran–(Takla) [Ta-kran] the Takla home world

Tch–(Cycalk) [tk] bring

Terin–(Takla) [tair-een] pulse, heart beat

Tnnaw–(Cycalk) [tn-nahw] to show (often in kindness)

Tnnaw sa–(Cycalk) [tn-nahw-sah] sorry, apologize, uncertain

Tnnry–(Cycalk) [tn-nree] order (as in – items, food…)

Trvamp–(Cycalk) [tr-vahmp] to wiggle, squirm

Tsa–(Cycalk) [t-sah] eat, feed

Ttrnklan–(Cycalk) [t-trnk-lahn] the sacrifice – gaming torture where victim is manipulated into compliance through threats to loved ones

Trrnka–(Cycalk) [t-trnk-kah] male/man

Trrnkwda–(Cycalk) [t/rolled r/nk-w-dah] combined sex, multi-gendered person, non-binary person, or transgender person

Tryttrs–(Cycalk) [treet-trz] small, black-fleshed bird raised for meat

Tval sa–(Cycalk) [t-vahl-sah] come here

Tyn–(Cycalk) [teen] he, she, they [both singular and plural), him, her

Tyna–(Cycalk) [teen-ah] yours, his, hers, their, theirs

Van–(Cycalk) [vahn] well, good

Vyny–(Cycalk) [vee-nee] understand/ comprehend

Wda–(Cycalk) [w-dah] woman

Wgna–(Cycalk) [wg-nah] vehicle used to transport Cycalks to Fertile Forest

Ya–(Cycalk) [yah] go

Yaltan–(Cycalk) [yahl-tahn] elder

Za–(Cycalk) [zah] why

Znyrs–(Cycalk) [zn-eerz] militaristic religious cult that doesn’t believe in eating bipedal, higher-thinking animals