Kzinti count in octal, which means decimal-ten is represented a o12, d100 as o144 and so on. Script is based on claw-carvings in wood and is often described as 'dots and commas' by humans.
The language sounds clashing and terrible to human ears, but is in fact pitched and cased with several modes; mode being dependent upon who you are talking to. Although there is only one main language (the Heroes' Tongue), it has many modes including Mocking, Deferential, Technical and Royal, which is only spoken to and by royalty(the Patriarch and his kin). A human with plenty of spit and a good falsetto can learn the basic mode of the H. T. and be understood anywhere, but pronunciation will be difficult; similarly Kzinti can learn to speak Terran with some difficulty.
|zheerekti, n.||Judging by the kzinti reaction to this plant, it contains a substance much like catnip.|
|kz'eerkt, n. Kz'eerekti pl.||Looks and acts very much like a monkey: humans (derog).|
|kshat, n.||A herbivore capable of digesting offal: An insulting term for one behaving as a kshat. [O.K. /Kshauvat/, eater-of-offal].|
|raaairtwo,||A large herbivore. 2 metres high at the shoulder, covered in n. shaggy orange hair, it typically weighs in at about twelve tons. It has the temperment of a rhino, and with the spiked ball on it's tail, is well capable of defending itself.|
|sthondat, n.||'unfit for kzinti consumption'. Sthondats feature in a great many colourful kzinti insults, and an extract of the blood is used by telepaths.|
|terrenki, n.||A rather strong, fast animal which fights ferociously when cornered|
|vatach, n.||A creature analogous to an earless Terran rabbit. The meat is reputedly tasty, but the animal is considered too tame for kzinti sport.|
|zianyas, n.||A herbivore, and a favoured kzinti food|
|ztirgor, n. .||A herd beast used by the kzinti for freight haulage|
|ch'rowl||/ch'RAOWl/||vt. to have sex with; vi. the act of mating, highly emotive sexual trigger word.|
|h'rr||/hr~/||cas. Interrogative modifier; conversational fill-syllable ('um...' 'er...').|
|hrung||/Hr~ng/||v. To think (1st sing. 'hrunge').|
|hvraf||' /h'vR~AF-/||v. To scent.|
|k'tze||/KTsey/||adv. That I-|
|kchee||/kch'EE/||prn. Giant: extremely large.|
|kreera||/creer'a/||n. A saw-edged kzinti short sword.|
|kshat||/cssh'AT/||n. An offal-eating herbivore; prn. expression of disgust with.|
|kshinn||/csh'in/||n. The sun of Homeworld, any local star.|
|kzinrret||/ksin'R~ET/||n. kzinti female.|
|kzintosh||/ksin'TOSH/||n. kzinti male|
|mearowet'aatrurre||/me'AROW'et'atru'R~E/||v. To follow on from, to be led by.|
|prret||/PR~'t/||n. (arch.) courtesan, pornocrat.|
|Riit||/reEt/||p.n. A member of the patriarchal family.|
|su||/soo/||v. To slash.|
|t'kzintar||/t'KSINtar/||n. warrior, hunter, provider|
|tai||/ti/||v. To be; adv. emphasises previous verb.|
|ta'sskin||/ta'SS'kin/||n. Animal, non-kzin, alien.|
|tauurre'||/TAU~'r~e/||v. To terminate, to stop.|
|tui||/twi/||n. The prey.|
|tza||/tsa~/||v. To be present.|
|u'-||/ao'.../||cas. Genitive casing - belonging to ...|
|wtsai||/wt'SAI/||n. Ceremonial duelling knife, a symbol of virility (arch.).|
|ya-nar||/yah-NAR/||n. Defier of.|
Thus: H'rrearow t'chsee mearrowet'aatruure -> This does not follow.
Ya-nar kshinn -> Sun-defier (name of proven vessel)
Body language is, of course, very different from that of humans. A list of kzinti expressions and gestures follows:
|worry||A flattening of the fur.|
|frustration||Open-shut flare of nostrils, ticking noise from throat.|
|readiness||Ears laid flat.|
|'smile'||Twitching of ears.|
|slyness||Slight lidding of eyelids. Could also mean calculating thought.|
|laughter||Twitching of ear & tail.|
|puzzlement||Careful sniffs of air, slight raise of muzzle.|
|threat||Careful sniffs of air, slight raise of muzzle.|
|salute||Claw rake in front of own face.|
The tail is a great indicator of a kzin's mood. A lashing tail signifies worry. A dragging tail shows depression, a raised tail happiness. If the kzin's tail is hidden between it's legs, it is badly frightened. A slow, teasing motion of a kzinrret's tail-tip is considered extremely sexy by males, as is a cool, defiant stare. (cf. Cathouse)
The ears, too are highly expressive - a twitching indicates amusement, laid flat they indicate nervousness or readiness; and fanned out they indicate intent concentration or alertness.
Sitting, standing or lying down with the legs splayed is considered obscene in both males and females.
Body language is also important in social encounters. Those of lower social status keep their eyes averted, except when challenging (and that in it's correct place). Submission is signaled by covering of nose with paws, prostrating oneself or, in extreme circumstances, exposing belly and throat. A kzin who is about to attack or challenge will often adopt a threatening posture. The ears fold back to prevent them from being ripped or torn, the fur bottles out to hide the shape of the flesh, the tail becomes stiff and erect, ready to whip an opponents legs from under him. The lips pull back from the fangs in challenge, and the claws emerge ready for a fight. A kzin in this posture is about one second away from screaming and leaping - a favoured method of attack.
Kzinti also use scent a lot. They scent-mark with glands in cheeks and hands, occasionally using their urine. Their hormones are far more active than humans: a gingery smell signals excitement - either anger or fear.
Click HERE to download the zipped font
Kzinti.ttf VERSION 2.00 READ ME
27 April 2002
Daniel U. Thibault
Well, we've got fonts for nearly every major fictional alien race out there in SF TV/Movie Land, from Babylon 5 to Star Trek by way of Star Wars.
But what of Larry Niven's Kzinti?
I have been able to find only two attempts at pictorial representations of this "dots-and-commas" script. Neither was very pleasing in my opinion, and neither was a font. So I had to make one up.
The two pictures (Kzinti.gif and Kzinti Sample.gif) show my resulting font. It looks best printed (300+ dpi) or at large screen sizes (24+ pt).
Note that the "c" is meant to be a "ch" or "sh", and that there are no Q, X, 8 or 9.
In Larry Niven's Known Space, we learn that the Kzinti
script evolved from claw markings in wood. This would influence the script
the same way that runes were. Runes were also mostly graven in wood, so
they had no transverse strokes --to avoid going across the grain. So I
figured Kzinti markings would be dots (a simple peck of the claw) or vertical
scratches with a twist (commas). This gives us a basic sub-glyph set of
five symbols (the period and the vertical and horizontal mirror images
of the comma). Not enough for a full alphabet, obviously, so letters and
other symbols must be small groupings of dots and commas. I chose a roughly
two by three matrix as my basic glyph
The numbers only go from 0 to 7, since the Kzin have
an octal (base eight) numeral system. I used the dot as a "one"
and one of the commas as a "two". Simple superpositions supply
the numbers 3 through 7. I used what should by all logic be an 8 for the
zero --I didn't want to use a blank. The remaining symbols follow a strict
convention of having a dot at the lower left, to minimize confusion when
symbols run into each other. The other sub-glyph at the lower right serves
to regroup the symbols.
The vowels (plus H, W and Y) form one group, plosive, sibilant and labial consonants three more (with the appropriate correspondences being apparent when the symbols are compared; for example, B and P only differ by the lower right sub-glyph). The last group (which uses the double-dot base) contains the miscellaneous symbols --punctuation, mathematical, etc.
I originally made this font with a combination of Corel Draw 4 and Softy 1.07b; after a four year hiatus, I revised it thoroughly using Font Creator Program 3 and some home-made software tools.
2.00 27 April 2002; Complete overhaul, added characters
1.11 07 January 2001; re-release
1.10 02 April 2000 re-release
1.04 04 August 1998; Rebuilt using Softy 1.07b
1.03 Rebuilt using Softy 1.07a
1.00 12 March 1998; Original release (Softy 1.06b)
Feedback is welcome to Daniel U. Thibault
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