|Ferengi (Native name)|
Created by – unknown
|Codes and Resources|
The Ferengi language (native unknown), called Trading Tongue in some literary sources, is the primary language of the Ferengi Alliance. While there are no statistics on its usage, its role in trans-stellar commerce makes it likely to be a strong influence in the Alpha Quadrant, with a growing influence in Gamma Quadrant space near the Bajoran wormhole.
- Pip im gren tovat. (“This is all your fault!”)
- Armin Shimmerman (Quark), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “Little Green Men”
Aside from names and a few nouns, spoken Ferengi was first heard in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Little Green Men,” and again in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Acquisition.” It is not currently known who invented the words used in these episodes; the screenwriters are the most likely candidates.
A fan named Timothy Miller once attempted a comprehensive manual on the Ferengi language. However, the last known edition of his work is dated February 8, 1995, preceding “Little Green Men” by ten months, and a majority of the work in this project was nullified when the episode aired. No other major attempts to develop the language seem to have been undertaken since then.
There is speculation that the renditions of Ferengi heard in Deep Space Nine and Enterprise are different dialects or mutations, but there is no direct evidence to confirm this.
Some of the material in this section is original work of the Sato Institute. It may not reflect information found in other sources.
Ferengi consonants are contained within an “initial-final-mutable” structure, wherein a given phoneme may either begin a syllable, end it, or in select cases do both. The table below does its best to illustrate how this system functions using a romanized orthography. There are a grand total of 66 consonantal phonemes, accompanied by eight vowels.
* - Mutable; can be initial or final.
† - Also functions as the vowel 'oo', as in oo-mox.
Ferengi vowels... [work in progress]
Ferengi syllables follow a body-coda structure, the body composed of an optional onset and a nucleus. Some consonants take a different form depending on whether they appear in the onset or coda of a syllable, as an initial or final consonant respectively. [work in progress]
Morphology is primarily used to indicate the tense of a word. For example, the infinitive form of the verb “to do” is skin; to indicate past tense, [-in] is dropped and replaced with [-o].
Ferengi do not differentiate pronouns by nominative or possessive case; “you” and “your” are the same word (gren). Likewise, the verb “to be” (im) does not change regardless of who or what the subject is.
Basic Ferengi syntax follows a subject-verb-object order, like English. [work in progress]
Typical Ferengi writing follows a unique “flowchart” system, with words and morphemes branching off from one another in all directions, or outward from a central primer. It can also be written horizontally from left to right in descending lines. [work in progress]
The Sato Institute is currently working on a comprehensible Ferengi script with assigned phonetic values. The flowchart system was originally designed by Michael Okuda.
- “What is the First Rule of Acquisition?!”
- “...'Once you have their money, you never give it back.'”
- - Armin Shimmerman (Quark) and Max Grodenchik (Rom), Deep Space Nine, “The Nagus”
Ferengi culture revolves around the acquisition of material wealth, and the properties of their language are a reflection of this. [work in progress]