Unas Language

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Chaka communicates with a young Unas
Daniel, Chaka, and Iron Shirt (Kor Asek) after a successful negotiation

Summary

The Unas are a very primitive society in some ways, but have a very intricate clan and social structure that must have existed for centuries. This is evidenced by their communication. Dr. Daniel Jackson noted that language was a learned behavior, and at first believed Chaka had taught Unas on another planet “his word” of Chaka. Only later did he realize the Unas already knew that word, and in fact, they already spoke the same language (5.07 "Beast Of Burden"). Chaka and Daniel were later able to communicate with Unas from yet a third world (7.07 "Enemy Mine"). Therefore at least the rudiments of the spoken Unas language had developed by the time Unas first left their aboriginal homeworld of P3X-888 (see 4.08 "The First Ones").

Since both the Goa'uld and Unas both originated from P3X-888, and the first hosts for the Goa'uld were Unas, it is also not surprising there are some commonalities in their language. "Kel" is used as an interrogatory in both languages. Also, compare the Goa'uld expression: “Ya duru arik kek onac,” which means “I honor he would kill his god.” with the Unas expression: “Ko Keka onac” means “Bring death/kill the Goa’uld.” Based on this, at least some roots of the Goa'uld language come from the Unas.

Visual and Written Language

Lt. Ritter’s body hung on warning totem
Unas cave drawing

There appears to be no written language for the Unas. They relied mostly on pictographs on the walls of their cavern dwellings to tell stories or relay information (4.08 "The First Ones"). Another way they relayed information was through visual aids. They placed warning totems near their sacred areas, complete with the bodies of those who had trespassed where they should not have been (7.07 "Enemy Mine").

Verbal and Physical Communication

Chaka offers his dagger to Iron Shirt to open negotiations
Chaka accepts Iron Shirt's bracelet in trade
Daniel and others showing submission to Unas

The Unas language is very guttural. Much hissing and snarling with very strong consonants and long vowel sounds. A snort or roar may communicate as much if not more than any spoken words. Words may mean different things if combined with other words. When in mourning, the Unas as a group growl a low keening sound.

Aside from the spoken language, there is a large physical component to Unas communication. The entire conversation can mean very different things if spoken with a different tone while standing up straight rather than from a more submissive position with eyes lowered. The Unas culture is heavily based upon hierarchy. For example when Chaka and Daniel attempted to broker a treaty between the Tau’ri and the Unas of P3X-403, he and Daniel knelt before the Alpha male leader of the clan, Iron Shirt (Kor Asek). Only after a dagger and bracelet had been traded did the negotiation begin (7.07 "Enemy Mine").

Unas to English Dictionary

A Benar 
no direct translation; likely "surrender” or “honor has been given” (see also Benar)
A Cha’ka 
Used as a greeting of respect; (see also Chaka)
Aka 
Thank you
Aka na 
I’m sorry
Asek 
Shirt/Covering
Benar 
Stop fighting (see also A Benar)
Cha 
Join me/Stay with me/staying together (see also Ka Cha)
Chaka 
Means many things, including a gesture of respect, it is also an expression of common goals; a call to a higher power; call to freedom (see A Cha'ka)
Cho’ee’che 
Invitation to Negotiate/Talk/Diplomacy/Peace
Ka 
No
Ka Cha 
Come with me/Return to me/Retreat (see also Cha)
Ka Keka 
Don’t kill/Don’t hurt/Unarmed
Ka Nay 
Friend/Clan Member
Ka Naya 
Working together (see also Naya)
Ka Nok 
Later/Not Now
Kada 
Naquadah
Kan 
Here
Kek 
Go
Kel 
Why/How
Keka 
Danger/Death/Kill
Kekata 
Weapons (specifically referencing Jaffa staff weapons)
Ko 
Give/Bring
Ko Keka 
Bring death/kill
Ko Ka Cha 
Move/Relocate
Kor 
Iron
Lota 
Wait/Stay
Ma 
Agree/Settlement
Ma Kan 
Here by Choice/My decision to come
Na 
Stuck in one place/detained here
Nan 
Food/Eat/Nourishment
Naya 
All/Together (see also Ka Naya)
No Na 
Home
Nok 
Time/Now
Onac 
Goa’uld
Shesh 
I don’t understand/I don’t know/This makes no sense
Ska 
Life
Ska Nat 
Friends
Soseka 
An extremely large number (over one hundred)
Ta 
You; also used interrogatively such as what name is? What do you call...? Is this a
Tak 
Trick/Deception
Tar 
Group/Also used interrogatively, such as what is that group/name/species (see also A Tar)
Te 
Me/My/The name is/also “the”
Tok 
Fight/Defiance
Tonak 
Make War/Battle
'Uman 
Human
Unas 
Unas
Wok Tah 
Marked for death/Sacrifice
Zo 
Leader

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Aurora Novarum 1:10 27 Nov 2005 (EST)