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Chakobsa (fictional language)

2020-01-10 12:12:02

Chakobsa is a fictional language used by the Fremen people of the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. In the series of novels which begins with Dune, the language is said to be based on another fictional language, the Bhotani Jib (likely derived from Bhutan and referring to a dialect derived from there[citation needed]). Herbert took the name from Chakobsa, the "hunting language" of the Caucasus,[1][2] an anglicized form of Adyghe.

Examples of the language from the books are actually a mixture of the Romani language, from a Gypsy magic textbook Herbert used for reference, one sentence in Serbo-Croatian, and various Arabic terms, with definitions altered slightly to suggest the passage of time.[3]


  • 1 The Dune Encyclopedia
  • 2 2003 miniseries
  • 3 Textual example
  • 4 Notes and references
  • 5 External links

The Dune Encyclopedia

The non-canon Dune Encyclopedia (1984) by Willis E. McNelly includes extensive descriptions of the Fremen language.[4][5] The Encyclopedia was approved by Herbert but rendered erroneous in some areas through Herbert's later works in the Dune series.

2003 miniseries

The 2003 Sci Fi Channel TV miniseries Frank Herbert's Children of Dune includes a song by Brian Tyler entitled "Inama Nushif", which is claimed to contain lyrics sung in Fremen. According to miniseries director Greg Yaitanes, Tyler claimed that he "searched through Herbert's books and deciphered enough of the fictional Fremen language to write this powerful song."[6] However, in reality the song is an alteration of a speech by Muad'dib published in The Dune Encyclopedia, expanded with some repetitions, and a different 'translation' attached to it. The original text's first lines are "Innama nishuf".[5][7]

Textual example

An example of Chakobsa is seen in the ancient funeral ritual of the Fremen in which the water of a dead tribesman is magically blessed: "Ekkeri-akairi, fillissin-follas. Kivi a-kavi, nakalas! Nakalas! Ukair-an ... jan, jan, jan ... .[8]

(Translation "This is the water of (the new owner). Never the more to be measured or counted by the heartbeats of (the old owner). Go, go, go...")

Notes and references

  1. ^ Collins, Will (September 16, 2017). "The Secret History of Dune". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  2. ^ Blanch, Lesley (1960). The Sabres of Paradise. p. 21.
  3. ^ Simon, Olivier. "Tolk de Chakobsa Phrases in Dune". Conlangs Monthly: 31.
  4. ^ McNelly, Willis E. (June 1, 1984). "CHAKOBSA". The Dune Encyclopedia. pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-425-06813-7.
  5. ^ a b McNelly (1984). "FREMEN LANGUAGE". Dune Encyclopedia. pp. 234–247.
  6. ^ Brian Tyler and Greg Yaitanes. "Children of Dune". Discography. Official website for film composer Brian Tyler. Archived from the original on 2007-05-16. Retrieved 2006-11-11.
  7. ^ "Plagiarism of the Dune Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  8. ^ Herbert, Frank. Dune, pp. 315.
  • Herbert, Frank. Dune. New York City: Berkley Books, 1965

External links

  • Discussion on Arabic terms found in Dune
  • Online Frank Herbert book with discussion on Fremen linguistics
  • "Inama Nushif" lyrics and translation -; see also the criticism of the composition