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The Language Of The Ferengi

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By Timothy Miller



The Ferengi number system is a highly organized, efficient way of communicating numbers that partly evolved from their heavy use of numbers and partly contrived by the Ferengi in order to improve further their efficiency. You will soon find the number system to be very elegant and often more straightforward than English. The only drawback is that the number system is not base 10 (decimal), but rather base 20 (vigesimal). Let's begin with the names of their first 20 numbers:


0 /pen/ 10 /ned/

1 /Din/ 11 /wix/

2 /gid/ 12 /vog/

3 /Ca/ 13 /xee/

4 /tal/ 14 /j&t/

5 /kip/ 15 /dy/

6 /saa/ 16 /Vet/

7 /zik/ 17 /San/

8 /mo/ 18 /qun/

9 /Nat/ 19 /Xaw/


There are next two very important things you can do these words. Firstly, which will become imporant later, if you add /i/ to the end of a number, you make it negative.


But of more immediate concern, if you change the final consontant to (or add it to the end if the last letter is a vowel) an /m/ to the end, you are making a number with is 20 to the power of that number. For example:


/Dim/ = 20^1 = 20

/gim/ = 20^2 = 400

/Cam/ = 20^3 = 8,000

/tam/ = 20^4 = 160,000



To understand a number when written in words, you then have to understand the ordering. Put in technical terms, given a number-word, if a word of lower intrinsic value is to the right, it is simply added, while if a word of lower intrinsic value is to the left, it is multiplied. You can see this in English where the number '202' is written "two-hundred two". You can see that the 'two' to the left is multiplied by the 'hundred', while the two on the right is simply added.


Note that since you can make a number negative by a simple addition if /i/, you can 'add' a negative number to a larger number to improve efficiency. In fact, you can do that all you want, but it can get complicated and and lead to confusion when overused. Ferengi are people, not computers, so when the numbers get too complicated with negatives, it is often better to sacrifice efficiency for understandability.


Here are some examples:

42 /gid-Dim gid/ (2*20 + 2)

457 /gim gid-Dim San/ (400 + 2*20 + 17)

7999 /Xaw-gim Xaw-dim Xaw/ (19*400 + 19*20 + 19)

7999 /Cam Dini/ (8000 + -1)

7980 /Xaw-gim Xaw-dim/ (19*400 + 19*20)

7980 /Cam Dimi/ (8000 + -20)


Now, note something interesting and useful. Take the number /gid/ (2), for example. When adding /m/ or /i/, you have to process the suffixes in order from left to right. Observe:


/gid/ 2

/gim/ 20^2 = 400

/gidi/ 2 * -1 = -2

/gimi/ 20^2 * -1 = -400

/gidim/ 20^(-2) = 1/400 = 0.0025

/gidimi/ 20^(-2) * -1 = -0.0025


As you can see, the /i/ at the end makes the whole number negative, whereas if it is encountered first, it makes the number negative before it becomes the exponnent for 20.


This allows one to communicate in terms of fractions with relative ease and it has the advantage over English in that you can't lose your place when someone reads off consecutive digits after the decimal (or vigesimal or radix) point.


0.05 /Dinim/ (20^(-1))

0.5 /Dinim ned/ (20^(-1) * 10)

0.55 /Dinim ned Dinim/ (20^(-1) * 10 + 20^(-1))


The rule of ordering for 0.5 may look backward at first, but it is consistent in that /Dinim/ is of lower intrinsic value than /ned/, and is therefore multiplied.


This number system can become exceedingly difficult for the unexperienced, especially when dealing with fractions. There is no SIMPLE conversion between decimal and vigesimal like there is between, for example, hexidecimal and binary. In order to make things easier, I will later add a piece of C code to the end of this text file that will convert from decimal to vigesimal and also written form.


In dealing with computers, the Ferengi have adapted to using their number system for communicating in Hexidecimal. This can get very confusing, because it sounds like they're using their base-20 number system if you don't realise that they're using base 16. Basically take all the 20's above and replace them with 16's and only use the digits from 0 to 15. If someone did that in English, using our normal speech for base-10 to communicate base 8 numbers, then someone saying "twenty" would actually mean "16" (decimal), rathern than "20" (decimal).


Likewise, you could use this number system to communicate base 10, but it would be to a Ferengi like it would be to us for someone to use our number system to communicate in base 5. When they said "one-hundred", they'd actually mean "25" (decimal), rather than "100" (decimal).


Ferengi treat all cardinal numbers as either nouns or quantifiers, depending on context, so if a number is being used as a quantifier, it precedes the noun it modifies.


On the other hand, ordinal numbers are treated as adjectives and follow noun. Given a cardinal number, constructed as explained above, you simply attach /aj/ to the end of the rightmost element. When writing out digits, /a/ is appended to the end of the number, but does not have a line through its baseline like the other digits.


/penaj/ 1st

/Dimaj/ 20th

/gid-Dim gidaj/ 42nd


Each Ferengi letter has a numerical value. To write a number you can simply write out the digits (using the first 20 letters of the alphabet), from left to right, highest order of magnitude to lowest. However, numbers which contain a lot of zeros can get lengthy and tedious to write, so values have been assigned to 28 of the remaining 30 letters of the Ferengi alphabet. They start at /?/ (20^1), go to /e/ (20^19), then from /E/ (20^-1) to /^/ (20^-9). These can be inserted into a number, eliminating the need for extra zeros to the right. For example, 8000 can be written out as _Dppp_ or it can be simply written as _r_. Further, 8001 can be written as _DppD_, or as _rD_. Other shortcuts can be made, such as 159999 being written out as _XXXX_, or as _R-D_, where '-' here represents the Ferengi symbol for subtraction.


A vigesimal point is represented by @ seperating the whole number on the left from the fraction on the right.


The shortcut works for fractions too. 0.000125 can be represented as either _@ppD_, or as _Z_, for example.


When written in digits, all letters except a final /a/ in an ordinal have a horizontal line drawn through their baseline. In this text, that line will be represented by replacing the /'s with _'s.


Since the Ferengi have been interacting with other races, they have discovered that they are practically alone in their use of a base 20 number system. For efficiency, they still use their own, but when the need for a base 10 number system arises, to avoid confusion with their own, they borrow the number system, lock, stock, and barrel, from the Klingons. You can get the Klingon number system from reading the Klingon dictionary.


Counting on your fingers


If you've wondered how the 10-fingered Ferengi counted to twenty without removing their shoes, wonder no longer. One starts with one hand (doesn't matter which) to count to 10, and then begins counting from 11 to 20 on the other while the first hand remains in the position for 10. The numbers below are given in decimal. 1 through 5 are shown by extending one finger then the other from their initial fisted position. 6 through 10 usually start from a fisted hand also, and each finger is extended one then the other to touch the tip of the thumb.


0 fist

1 index finger

2 1 (index) + middle finger

3 2 + ring finger

4 3 + little (pinky) finger

5 4 + thumb

6 thumb curled against palm (hand open), against side of index finger


(hand open or closed), or extended from a fist (hand fisted)

7 thumb to tip of index finger

8 thumb to tip of middle finger

9 thumb to tip of ring finger

10 thumb to tip of little finger


A few extra numbers can be signed:


20 little finger extended with other fingers fisted

400 little and thumb extended with other fingers curled to palm


The Ferengi usually point with their index finger and thumb extended, and that configuration does not represent a number




Click for Spoiler:


By Timothy Miller

This section is two lists of Ferengi vocabulary. One is alphabetized by the English words. The other is alphabetized first by the part of speech, then by the gender, and then by the Ferengi word.


As with many other Ferengi names for things, the Ferengi names for the different parts of speech are in the form of gerunds. They are:


zilovt interrogative

nok verb (noun)

vGjov noun

tslot quantifier

Rysqos adjective (noun)

anRysqos adverb

XxTov preposition

pfnok postposition

wenos conjunction

kjovt interjection


Ferengi has four noun classes, and two other types of words that show up in the vocabulary section. They are:


/?/ - Affector

/q/ - Affected

/m/ - Instrument

/p/ - Inanimate

/x/ - Action, verb, or entire sentence

/b/ - Anything which is Plural


When you find a Ferengi word in this listing, it will be in the following format: 12 3...

1 is the part of speech

2 is the noun class (some affixes don't have a class)

3 is the Ferengi word itself



Normally, Ferengi roots are listed alone, and when used, a case vowel should be attached as appropriate. However, if a case vowel is to be imbedded in a word, a # character is inserted where the case vowel should be placed.


English Ferengi


0 t? pen

1 t? Din

10 t? ned

11 t? wix

12 t? vog

13 t? xee

14 t? j&t

15 t? dy

16 t? Vet

17 t? San

18 t? qun

19 t? Xaw

2 t? gid

3 t? Ca

4 t? tal

5 t? kip

6 t? saa

7 t? zik

8 t? mo

9 t? Nat

act, do, action n? n

adjective R? Rysq#s

adverb R? anRysq#s

after a pafn

again a gmeef

agree, agreement nm &k

all of, every t? kyf

allow, permission nm Zd

alone Rp sEn

also a xuult

always a paag

and w wen, -wn

area, integral [math], zone, f nq vrD

ask, question nm zil

be able, can, ability np St

be necessary, necessity np zg

because w wxan

before a XxaT

behind X pefn

belonging to/part of (adj) p -gy

belonging to/part of (noun) p -gi

bite n? Gwl

black grain Rm VaN

broken, break n? bkpt

but w imp

buy, purchase nq il

cause n? vz

circle, surround np kdR

common Rq n&T

compute, calculate, calculatio nm atsl

conjunction R? wen#s

count, number nm tsl

deal nm f&k

diminutive pq -iG

ear Rm sz

earn, wage, salary nm qsf

earth Rq erT

eat, food nq wl

educate, education nm bst

emphasis, augmentative p? -vt

enclosure, container R? ryZ

equals, results in, result n? stum

ever a spi

exist, existence n? sxt

family, familial Rq VEd

father, preside (over) n? negs

federation R? fed

feed nm txwl

ferengi (culture) R? feren

few tp fis

flashing code n? bzal

for X xex

friend, friendly R? itl

from X ti

front R? XxT

gather, group nq dTb

get, acquire, obtain, acquisit nq dk

give, donation n? tx

go, travel, trip, excursion nm sl

good, goodness R? ps

hand R? kax

happy, happiness R? is

have a meal, meal nq wdTb

have, possession np m

here, this place Rp w

home of pq -gal

how (by what means) zm a?

how (in what manner) zm az

how much zm Ng

human R? hjum

if w midk

iff, if and only if w adMk

imply, implication n? studM

in front of X XxeT

in, inside X hoj

inner peace, economic status Rq kin

instinct, instinctive Rm fthg

interjection R? kj#vt

it/they (indefinate) Rq pwaT

keep (an item), protect nq ekf

keep (state), maintain n? ntg

klingon R? tTiN

last Rm fn

learn, knowlege nm pS

light, illuminate n? Nin

love, like, fondness nq idl

make, product nq eek

man R? nkz

many t? Goz

middle Rm as

money Rm bv

more tm gelm

mother, give birth (to) nq kTp

name nm dZfk

need nq lf

no k pax

none of tp puk

not all of tq gip

noun R? vGj#v

obstruct, interfere, obstacle n? ik

one who does/performs (action) p? -ple

only a kaaj

only tp kjy

oomax n? uumaks

open nm ndf

opportunity, opportunistic R? C

or (excl) w mala

or (incl) w lala

parent, care (for) n? kTis

person R? pfat

plus w wan

postposition, suffix R? pfn#k

preposition R? XxT#v

profit nm bj

punish, punishment nm dxn

quantifier R? tsl#t

question word R? zil#vt

read nq d

rear, back Rq pfn

receive, receipt, reception nq Xuj

red, redness Rp Gal

revolve, rotate, rotation nm glg

romulan R? Rihaan

school n? bst#ple

see, sight nq v

sell, sale n? k?

simple, simplicity R? bt

sir, mister R? blk

sit, set, seat nm arf

smell, detect odor, nose nq Xtvk

smell, have odor, odor n? Xkvg

some of tq Zrn

speak, speech, language n? pZ

spend (money), expense n? xD

steadfast, strong, unbreakable R? pik

strike, kit nm vw

study, academic subject np pf

substance, tangible Rp vGj

take n? sj

teach n? gepS

than w joN

that/which (subordinating) w stuS

then (implies) w studM

thing Rp dak

to, in the direction of X isi

trade np fet

trait, exhibit (trait) nq Rysq

under, below X uf

value np spm

VaN bread Rm VaNgw

verb R? n#k

want, desire nq mn

what (action, concept) zx d&s

what (inanimate, thing) zp am

what (instrument) zm uq

wheel around, wheel np kdglg

when zp in

when (subordinating) w qan

where zp pk

which z? kl

who, whom (affected) zq mw

who, whom (affector) z? ug

why zq pod

work n? ken

write, text n? pj

yes k ki

yes on the contrary k kis


Ferengi English


nm &k agree, agreement

pq -gal home of

p -gi belonging to/part of (noun)

p -gy belonging to/part of (adj)

pq -iG diminutive

p? -ple one who does/performs (action)

p? -vt emphasis, augmentative

zm a? how (by what means)

w adMk iff, if and only if

zp am what (inanimate, thing)

R? anRysq#s adverb

nm arf sit, set, seat

Rm as middle

nm atsl compute, calculate, calculatio

zm az how (in what manner)

nm bj profit

n? bkpt broken, break

R? blk sir, mister

nm bst educate, education

n? bst#ple school

R? bt simple, simplicity

Rm bv money

n? bzal flashing code

R? C opportunity, opportunistic

t? Ca 3

nq d read

zx d&s what (action, concept)

Rp dak thing

t? Din 1

nq dk get, acquire, obtain, acquisit

nq dTb gather, group

nm dxn punish, punishment

t? dy 15

nm dZfk name

nq eek make, product

nq ekf keep (an item), protect

Rq erT earth

nm f&k deal

R? fed federation

R? feren ferengi (culture)

np fet trade

tp fis few

Rm fn last

Rm fthg instinct, instinctive

Rp Gal red, redness

tm gelm more

n? gepS teach

t? gid 2

tq gip not all of

nm glg revolve, rotate, rotation

a gmeef again

t? Goz many

n? Gwl bite

R? hjum human

X hoj in, inside

nq idl love, like, fondness

n? ik obstruct, interfere, obstacle

nq il buy, purchase

w imp but

zp in when

R? is happy, happiness

X isi to, in the direction of

R? itl friend, friendly

t? j&t 14

w joN than

n? k? sell, sale

a kaaj only

R? kax hand

np kdglg wheel around, wheel

np kdR circle, surround

n? ken work

k ki yes

Rq kin inner peace, economic status

t? kip 5

k kis yes on the contrary

R? kj#vt interjection

tp kjy only

z? kl which

n? kTis parent, care (for)

nq kTp mother, give birth (to)

t? kyf all of, every

w lala or (incl)

nq lf need

np m have, possession

w mala or (excl)

w midk if

nq mn want, desire

t? mo 8

zq mw who, whom (affected)

n? n act, do, action

R? n#k verb

Rq n&T common

t? Nat 9

nm ndf open

t? ned 10

n? negs father, preside (over)

zm Ng how much

n? Nin light, illuminate

R? nkz man

n? ntg keep (state), maintain

a paag always

a pafn after

k pax no

X pefn behind

t? pen 0

np pf study, academic subject

R? pfat person

Rq pfn rear, back

R? pfn#k postposition, suffix

R? pik steadfast, strong, unbreakable

n? pj write, text

zp pk where

zq pod why

R? ps good, goodness

nm pS learn, knowlege

tp puk none of

Rq pwaT it/they (indefinate)

n? pZ speak, speech, language

w qan when (subordinating)

nm qsf earn, wage, salary

t? qun 18

R? Rihaan romulan

nq Rysq trait, exhibit (trait)

R? Rysq#s adjective

R? ryZ enclosure, container

t? saa 6

t? San 17

Rp sEn alone

n? sj take

nm sl go, travel, trip, excursion

a spi ever

np spm value

np St be able, can, ability

n? studM imply, implication

w studM then (implies)

n? stum equals, results in, result

w stuS that/which (subordinating)

n? sxt exist, existence

Rm sz ear

t? tal 4

X ti from

nm tsl count, number

R? tsl#t quantifier

R? tTiN klingon

n? tx give, donation

nm txwl feed

X uf under, below

z? ug who, whom (affector)

zm uq what (instrument)

n? uumaks oomax

nq v see, sight

Rm VaN black grain

Rm VaNgw VaN bread

Rq VEd family, familial

t? Vet 16

Rp vGj substance, tangible

R? vGj#v noun

t? vog 12

nq vrD area, integral [math], zone, f

nm vw strike, kit

n? vz cause

Rp w here, this place

w wan plus

nq wdTb have a meal, meal

R? wen#s conjunction

w wen, -wn and

t? wix 11

nq wl eat, food

w wxan because

t? Xaw 19

n? xD spend (money), expense

t? xee 13

X xex for

n? Xkvg smell, have odor, odor

nq Xtvk smell, detect odor, nose

nq Xuj receive, receipt, reception

a xuult also

a XxaT before

X XxeT in front of

R? XxT front

R? XxT#v preposition

nm Zd allow, permission

np zg be necessary, necessity

t? zik 7

nm zil ask, question

R? zil#vt question word

tq Zrn some of



Click for Spoiler:


By Timothy Miller


1. Introduction

2. Technical terms

a. Method of articulation

b. Point of articulation

3. Abbreviations

4. Consonants

5. Vowels

a. Short vowels

b. Long vowels

c. Diphthongs

6. Unused letters

7. Phonetic transcriptions

8. The Ferengi alphabet

9. Examples of Ferengi sentences

10. English (American) words written in Ferengi letters

11. The history of the alphabet


This portion of the Ferengi lexicon describes in detail how

to pronounce each of the sounds used in the Ferengi language.

Each sound (phoneme) is described individually, grouped by

type, The order they are explained in does not correspond to

the order that they are arranged in the Ferengi alphabet.




To begin, I must explain some technical terms which will make

my job of describing sounds more concise and your

understanding easier. The information and terms contained in

this file are generally useful linguistics, so even if

you're not interested in the Ferengi language itself, some of

the information here may be a nice introduction to the

subject of phonology. For the reference value, I have chosen

to explain things which are not important to the Ferengi

language alone. I should also note that I am an American; if

there is any question as to how I pronounce things, then

watching a national American news show should give you good

example of my dialect. Nevertheless, I am aware of the

proper pronounciation of British RP and several European

languages, so I attempt to give examples in those languages

so as to reduce ambiguity.


Phonetic segment - This is an actual utterance, a real sound

that one produces when speaking. When a word is written

phonetically, more information is usually given than is

necessary for recognition, because variations in sound that

can be predicted from environment are still written.

Phonetic transcriptions are written in [brackets].


Phoneme - This is an abstraction. It is the basic unit of

how one's brain interprets a sound in accordance with the

rules of your language and the environment of other sounds

around it. For example, consider the letter {t} in the words

{stop} and {top}. If you listen to what you are saying, you

may notice a slight difference in those who {t}'s. The {t} in

{top} has a little puff of air following it (aspiration),

while the {t} in {stop} does not. If you are only now aware

of this difference, then you see how grouping the two

different sounds together is a result of your brain's

filtering of unnecessary information. Which phonetic segments

are actually produced for a given phoneme is, by definition,

always predictable from environment; furthermore, no one

phonetic segment will occur where another should

(complementary distribution). It should be noted that the

{t} sounds in {stop} [t], and {top} [th] are considered to be

different phonemes in many languages, but they are not in

English. Phonemic transcriptions are written in /slashes/.


Allophones - One phonetic segment is allophonic with another

if your brain thinks they're the same. One phoneme may have

several possible corresponding phonetic segments, all of

which are allophones. Consider the different /t/ sounds in

{better}, {top}, {stop}, {train}, and {pot}.


Being trained to think in terms of English, you may think

they're all the same but in reality, they're each slightly

different. If I recall correctly, Navajo speakers consider

[t] to be same as [d], to be the same as [z], etc.


METHOD OF ARTICULATION - How the air-flow is controlled when

pronouncing a phonetic segment. The following


Voiced - The vocal chords vibrate while pronouncing a

particular sound. b, v, d, z, zh, g, r, w, y, m, n, ng,

th(ese), l, j, and all vowels are voiced in English.


Voiceless - The vocal chords are relaxed and therefore do not

vibrate. p, f, t, s, sh, k, th(ing), h, and ch are all

voiceless in English. Compare those to the voiced consonants

and become familar with the difference. Some voiced/voiceless

pairs are: b/p, v/f, d/t, z/s, g/k, and j/ch. Try

pronouncing each one in each pair, one after the other. When

you realize that the only important difference is a matter of

your vocal chords vibrating or not, you will understand the

voiced/voiceless distinction.


Stop - A type of consonant that is produced by stopping the

flow of air and (usually) allowing the air to be suddenly

released. The pressure built up that is released comes from

the lungs (in contrast to an ejective, where the pressure

comes from the larynx, but you don't need to worry about

that). Examples of stops in English are: p, b, t, d, k, and

g. Stops can be followed by a small puff of air, which is

called aspiration, and makes a phonemic distinction in many



Fricative - This term comes from the word 'friction', because

your tongue is approaching another part of your mouth so that

the air flow is subjected to audible friction. In English,

these include: f, v, th, s, z, sh, zh, and h.


Glide - Some part of the mouth must be in motion to produce a

glide sound, gliding from one place to another. In English,

these include: w, y, and r.


Liquid - There is some obstruction of air flow, but not

enough to cause friction. A good example of this in English

is /l/, where the tip of the tongue touches the same part of

the roof of the mouth as for /t/, but the sides of the tongue

are lowered, allowing air to escape around the tongue with no

friction. 'er' in American English is considered by some to

be a liquid because the tip of the tongue it curled up,

causing slightly more obstruction than a vowel.


Lateral - This refers to the sides of the tongue. Air is

obstructed by some part of the tongue, but is allowed to

escape around the sides. In English, /l/ is also a good

example of a lateral, as described above. /l/ is, therefore,

a lateral liquid. /l/ is the only lateral in English, but

'll' in Welsh is a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative.


Nasal - The mouth is used as a resonance chamber, but the

velum is lowered, allowing air to escape through the nose.

In English, these are: m, n, and ng. The velum can be

lowered at other times, like when pronouncing a vowel. In

French, there are four nasal vowels which are seperate

phonemes: in, en, an/on, and un. In English, vowels are only

nasalized when they come before nasal consonants, so they are

not seperate phonemes.


Implosive stop - This is nothing like in English. An

implosive stop is very much like a normal stop, but air is

sucked in by the larynx at the instant that the stop is

pronounced. Examples of implosive stops in Vietnamese are:

P_ and D- (where the horisontal bar is supposed to be

superimposed over the letter).


Trill - Sound in which the tip of the tongue vibrates against

the roof of the mouth.


POINT OF ARTICULATION - The place in the mouth where the

tongue touches or approaches in order to pronounce a

particular sound.


Labial - This refers to one lip or both. Labials in English

are: b, p, m, f, and v.


Bilabial - This refers to both lips. Bilabials in English

are: b, p, and m.


Dental - This referrs to the teeth. Dentals in English

include: f, v and th. Dentals (against the back of the

teeth) in French, Spanish, other romance languages, and

Russian also include: t, d, s, z, l, n, and some times r

(trilled against the back of the teeth).


Labiodental - Upper lip and lower teeth. In English: f and v.


Interdental - The tip of the tongue between the teeth. In

English: th.


Alveolar - This refers to the ridge just behind the teeth.

In English, these include: t, d, s, z, n, and l. Both

Alveolars and Dentals are grouped together as Coronals. In

Ferengi, all Coronals are Dental.


Postalveolar - Just behind the alveolar ridge, where the

palate begins to slope up. In English, these include: sh,

zh, ch, j.


Palatal - The roof of the mouth. An example of this in

German is 'ch' after i, e, u", o", and a".


Velar - This refers to the soft part of the back of the

palate. It can be raised and lowered, blocking and

permitting air flow into the nasal chamber, respectively.

Velars in English include: k, g, and ng.


Uvular - The uvula is the small fleshy bag that hang down in

the back of the throat behind the velum. It raises and

lowers with the velum. Uvulars in Arabic include: khaa'

(usually), ghayn, qaaf.


Glottal - The glottis is the opening between the vocal

chords. The glottis can be relaxed (creating voiceless

sounds), closed tightly (glottal stop), or given some tension

(causing vibration and producing voiced sounds). Examples of

glottals in English are: h and the stop in the middle of "uh-




AE - Standard American English

RP - British "Received Pronounciation"




Here, I do not list consonants in the order that the Ferengi

put them in, but instead I put them in an order which I feel

will help you understand them the most easily so that once

you understand how familiar sounds are pronounced, you can

use that knowlege to produce the unfamiliar ones.


If there is a good English example of a phoneme, it is placed

immediately to the right of the technical description of the

phoneme: the English word is put into {brackets} and

the phonemic transcription is placed in /slashes/. The

pronounciations I give for the English words are American.


/p/ - voiceless bilabial stop {pop} = /pap/

/b/ - voiced bilabial stop {bob} = /bab/

/v/ - voiced labiodental fricative {valve} = /v&lv/

/B/ - voiced bilabial fricative


Like /v/, but the two lips are used, instead of the upper lip

and lower teeth. In Ferengi, /bv/ is usually articulated as



/V/ - voiced bilabial implosive

Pronounced like /b/, but air is sucked into the mouth at the

instant that the lips part.


/m/ - voiced bilabial nasal {mom} = /mam/

/f/ - voiceless labiodental fricative {fife} = /fajf/

/P/ - voiceless bilabial fricative


Like /f/, but the two lips are used. It's about like blowing

air between slightly parted lips. Also similar to the puff

of air that some times follows /p/. In Ferengi, /pf/ is

usually articulated as [pP].


/w/ - voiced bilabial glide {wow} = /w&w/


To better understand other glides, it should be noted that

this sound occurs when one is moving toward or away from an

/u/ (English 'oo') or /o/ sound.

/t/ - voiceless dental stop {tot} = /tat/

/T/ - voiceless dental lateral fricative

The tip of the tongue is against the back of the teeth, while

the sides of the tongue are lowered slightly, allowing air to

escape between the teeth and the sides of the tongue,

creating a lot of friction. This can be pronounced like {th}

in the English word {thin}, but it is not standard for



/d/ - voiced dental stop {dad} = /d&d/

/l/ - voiced dental lateral liquid {lilly} = /lIli/

/D/ - voiced dental lateral fricative

The tip of the tongue is against the back of the teeth, while

the sides oft he tongue are lowered slightly, allowing air to

escape between the teeth and the sides of the tongue,

creating a lot of friction. At the same time, the vocal

chords vibrate. This is very muck like /l/, but the sides of

the tongue are raised up more, so as to cause friction.


This can be pronounced like {th} in the English word {this},

but this is not stardard for Ferengi.


/C/ - voiced dental implosive

Pronounced like /d/, but air is sucked into the mouth at the

instant that the tongue is pulled from the back of the teeth.


/n/ - voiced dental nasal {none} = {n^n}

/s/ - voiceless dental fricative {sauce} = /sas/ or /sOs/


/z/ - voiced dental fricative {zoo} = /zu/

/S/ - voiceless postalveolar fricative {sheesh} = /SiS/

/Z/ - voiced postalveolar fricative {Zhivago} = /Zivago/

This is like {z} in {azure}, {s} in {measure}, {j} in French

{je}, and {g} in French {rouge}.


/j/ - voiced palatal glide {yikes} = /jajks/

The tongue is in the process or moving toward or away from an

/i/ (English 'ee') or /e/ (English 'ay') sound.


/r/ - voiced alveolar trill

This is the same as 'r' in Spanish. This is often called

'trilled' or 'rolled'.


/k/ - voiceless velar stop {coke} = /kok/

/g/ - voiced velar stop {gag} = /g&g/

/N/ - voiced velar nasal {sing} = /sIN/

Just like the {ng} sound in {sing}, but in Ferengi, it can

come at the beginning of words, like in the Vietnamese name



/x/ - voiceless velar/uvular fricative {Bach} = /bax/

This corresponds to the German (not English or Spanish) 'ch'

sound when following u, o, or a. This is also the same as

Klingon "H". Depending on environment, the back of the tongue

may be against the velum or uvula.


/G/ - voiced velar/uvular fricative

This is very much like the Arabic letter ghayn or the Modern

Greek letter ghamma. It's also very much like the Klingon

"gh", which is described as, "... putting the tongue in the

same position it would be in to say English {g} as in

{gobble}, but relaxing the tongue somewhat and humming. It

is the same as Klingon 'H' (see below), but with the vocal

chords vibrating at the same time."

This is usually the same as /R/, but without lip rounding.

Unlike /R/, though, /G/ may be velar after a front vowel.

Most Ferengi don't distinguish between /R/ and /G/, so it

simply becomes a matter of spelling.


/R/ - voiced uvular fricative

This is just like the 'r' in most dialects of German,

French, and Modern Hebrew. It's similar to /G/, but the back

of the tongue is always against the uvula, and there is a

slight amount of lip rounding.


/q/ - voiceless uvular stop

Much like /k/, but the back of the tongue is against the

uvula, rather than the velum. This is the same as the Arabic

letter qaaf.


/X/ - voiced velar implosive

Pronounced like /g/, but air is sucked into the mouth at

the instant that the back of the tongue parts from the velum.


/h/ - voiceless glottal fricative {hahaha} = /hahaha/

Like the sound at the beginning of {hello}.


/?/ - voiceless glottal stop {uh-oh} = /^?o/

There is no letter for this sound in English, but it's not

an uncommon sound. It can also be heard in a Cockney or

Scottish pronounciation of {tt} in {bottle}.


/M/ - Nasal Release

This isn't a normal consonant. Usually, when a stop

consonant is released, the air escapes throught the mouth.

But it's possible for a stop to be released through the nose.

Instead of the tongue pulling from the point where it is

stopping the air, the velum is lowered, letting air to escape

through the nose instead. In Ferengi spelling, the /M/

symbol always follows a voiced stop, which specifies the

point or articulation. Therefore, the following combinations

are possible: /bM/, /dM/, and /gM/, which sound very similar

to /bm/, /dn/, and /gN/, respectively. You can also get this

sound by trying to pronounce a nasal consonant after an oral

vowel, causing a drastic change in air-flow.


Assimilation. In most languages, adjacent consonants of

different voice value tend to both become either voiced or

voiceless. For example, in the word {dogs}, the {s} is made

voiced, taking on the voiced quality of the {g}. Compare

this to {cats}, where the {s} can't be voiced, and note that

is is very hard to say {catz} with the {z} maintaining its

voiced quality. This process of taking a quality of a

neighboring consonant is called assimilation. In Ferengi,

this process could cause trouble since it would cause some

meaning to be lost. As example of where this does happen is

the augmentative suffix /vt/. Some times it is articulated

as [vd] and some times as [ft]. But most often, to maintain

the proper voice quality of all consonants, schwa [@] is

inserted, so /vt/ will some times come out as [v@t]. (When

/vt/ or any other combination of consonants in a verb

modifier (suffix) is part of a verb, gerund, or participle,

the case vowel is inserted instead of schwa, so in the case

of a verb, /vt/ would be pronounced as [vat].)




Vowels are produced by positioning the tongue in the mouth so

as to create a resonance chamber. Different tongue positions

cause sound to resonate differently, creating different vowel



In this chart, the technical names are given for different

tongue positions. For front vowels, the tip of the tongue is

important, for central the blade, and for back the back of

the tongue. When two symbols are shown right next to each

other, the one on the left is pronounced without lip

rounding, and the one on the right is pronounced with lip



front central back

high iy u


mid e% @ o


low & a



When reading this list, pay close attention to the technical

description of any vowels which are unfamiliar to you,

because comparing them to the descriptions of familar sounds

can help you learn the pronounciation.


Short Vowels - The short vowels sound most like short

versions of the long vowels given below, but in rapid speech,

they often sound like the examples given here.


/a/ - low-mid, central, unrounded {but} - /bat/

This actually sounds more like {a} in {father} than the

example, but the example is the closest thing that English

has. A better example would be the {a} in the German word


This covers a range of possible sounds:

'a' sound in {pie} /paj/

{a} sound in French {tas}

'a' sound in {cow} /kaw/

but not {a} sound in RP {pot}

and not {a} sound in RP {lawn}


/e/ - mid, front, unrounded {bet} - /bet/

/i/ - high, front, unrounded {bit} - /bit/

/o/ - mid, back, rounded {boy} - /boj/


This is just like the {o} sound in {boy} and {more}.

Also like {aw} in RP {lawn}, and some times like {a} in RP {pot}.


/u/ - high, back, rounded {foot} - /fut/

/y/ - high, front, rounded

{u"} (u-umlaut) in German and {u} in French. The tongue is

in the same position as /i/, but the lips are rounded like

for /u/.


German {hu"tte}

French {lune}


/%/ - high-mid, front, rounded


{o"} (o-umlaut) in German, and {oe} in French. The tongue

is in the same position as /e/ but the lips are rounded like

for /o/ or /u/.

German {o"ffen}


French {boeuf}


[@] - Schwa: mid, central, unrounded. {about} - /@bawt/

This is the shortest vowel that you can pronounce. The

tongue is completely relaxed. Also sounds like a final {e}

in German, and a final {er} in most British RP words like



Long vowels - The long vowels sound more like the given

examples. It is important that they be pronounced more tense

and longer in duration than the short vowels given above.


/aa/ - low, back-central, unrounded {bra} - /bra/

There are two tense forms of /a/. This is what you get

when it intensifies toward the back.

{a} sound in RP {laugh} (but not American)

{a} sound in German {Wagen}


/&/ - low, front-central, unrounded {cat} - /k&t/


This what you get when /a/ intensifies torward the front.

This is only written as one symbol, but it is a long vowel.

This is also similar to the {a} sound in RP {task} or

French {lac}.


/ei/ - mid, front, unrounded {bait} - /beit/

This is actually a diphthong and is often spelled /ej/. It

is included here because the closest thing English has to

/ee/ is /ei/.

This diphthong occurs less frequently in Ferengi than does

the pure vowel /ee/.


/ee/ - mid, front, unrounded

An English speaker will have trouble distinguishing this

from /ei/, and it will sound like it is somewhere between

/e/ and /ei/.

But to the Ferengi, /ee/ is distinct from /ei/. To

pronounce it correctly, pronounce /ei/, but without the

glide or 'drawl' at the end.


/ii/ - high, front, unrounded {meet} - /miit/


/ou/ - mid, back, rounded {tone} - /toun/


This is actually a diphthong and is often spelled /ow/. It

is included here because the closest thing English has to

/oo/ is /ou/.

This diphthong does not occur very often in Ferengi. The

pure vowel /oo/ is far more common.


/oo/ - mid, back, rounded

This is the {o} sound in AE, German, French, Spanish, and a

lot of other languages, but NOT the {o} sound in British

RP, which is rendered in Ferengi as /eu/.

An English speaker will have trouble distinguishing this

from /ou/, and it will sound like it is somewhere between

/o/ and /ou/.

But to the Ferengi, /ee/ is distinct from /ei/. To

pronounce it correctly, pronounce /ei/, but without the

glide or 'drawl' at the end.


/uu/ - high, back, rounded {boot} - /buut/


/yy/ - high, front, rounded

Long form of /y/.

German {bu"ro}

French {lune}


/%%/ - high-mid, front, rounded

Long form of /%/


German {scho"n}

French {feu}


Diphtongs - A diphthong is a vowel followed by a glide /j/ or /w/.

Often the glide is written as the associated vowel /i/ or /u/,

respectively. /e/ and /o/ are used to represent partial glides

associated with /j/ and /w/, respectively.


/ai/ or /aj/ {bike} - /baik/


/ae/ - This is very much like /ai/, but the glide does not go

all the way up to /i/. Many Ferengi pronounce this just like

/ai/, while for others, the diphthong sound has risen to /ei/.


/au/ or /aw/ {cow} - /kaw/


/ao/ - This is very much like /au/, but the back of the tongue

does not completely rise to /u/. Many Ferengi pronounce this

just like /au/, while for others, this diphtong doung has risen

to /ou/.


/ei/ or /ej/ {bait} - /beit/


/eu/ or /ew/ - This sounds like {o} in British RP.


/oi/, /oj/, or /oy/ {boy} - {boi}


/ou/ or /ow/ {tone} - /toun/


/uj/ - Similar to /oi/, but a the initial vowel is a little




The Ferengi tend to nasalize vowels. This means that the velum

is lowered so that air can resonate through the nasal cavities as

well as in the mouth. In English, all vowels before nasal

consonants must be nasalized to prevent drastic air-flow changes

resulting in weird sounds similar to /M/. But in Ferengi, some

times vowels are nasalized, allowing the nasal consonant to be

dropped, in this pattern:


front vowel + /n/ -- nasalize vowel and often drop /n/

back vowel + /N/ -- nasalize vowel and often drop /N/

rounded vowel + /m/ -- nasalize vowel and some times drop /m/


This pattern changes when there is more than one instance of the

case vowel in a word. The primary case vowel, immediately after

the root, is distinctly nasal, while every other vowel in the

word becomes distinctly oral (normal). Also in this case, nasal

consonants following vowels cannot be dropped. Additionally,

while case vowels are always long, secondary case vowels

are always short.





The Ferengi have three letters which are no longer used, and the

pronounciation has been absorbed by other letters. In this

chart, the sound is described, and to the right is shown the

letter that its sound combined with. These letters are still

used in math and science, and many Ferengi can pronounce them.

On occasion, these letters are even passed over as slient.


/Q/ - voiced uvular stop =} /g/

/K/ - voiced uvular implosive =} /X/

/H/ - voiceless uvular fricative =} /x/





Usually, Ferengi words are written phonemically, which matched

the Ferengi writing system. But when the reader needs more

information about how a Ferengi word is pronounced, the word will

be transcribed in [brackets], and a few extra symbols will be



[-] - syllable break

['] - primary syllable stress

[,] - secondary syllable stress

[w] - glide between [o], , [%], or [y] and the following vowel

[j] - glide between [e], or [y] and the following vowel

[?] - between [a] or [&] and the following vowel

[@] - inserted between impossible consonant clusters


Syllable stress is placed on the syllable of the stem which

contains the primary case vowel (immediately after the root), not

considering suffixes and prefixes. If there is no stem which

contains a case vowel, stress is placed on a suffix which

contains a case vowel.


Ferengi has a lot of large, impossible consonant clusters, and to

break them up, schwa [@] is inserted to make things pronouncable,

but not in writing. In the case of verb modifiers, a secondary

copy of the case vowel is inserted between consonants rather than

schwa, but it is also not written.




The Ferengi letters have a specific order, and each has a numeric

value and a name. They are shown here in order, first all of the

left column, then all of the right column.


Letter Name Value Letter Name Value

p /pe/ 0 G /Gi/ 20^5

D /Di/ 1 f /fy/ 20^6

g /ga/ 2 u /un/ 20^7

C /Co/ 3 U /Up/ 20^8

t /ta/ 4 h /h^q/ 20^9

k /ki/ 5 K /KaN/ 20^10

s /sa/ 6 M /edM/ 20^11

z /zi/ 7 oo /oox/ 20^12

m /mO/ 8 o /oj/ 20^13

N /Na/ 9 Q /Qo/ 20^14

n /ne/ 10 y /yt/ 20^15

w /wi/ 11 & /&T/ 20^16

v /vo/ 12 b /bZa/ 20^17

x /xe/ 13 P /Pu/ 20^18

j /j&/ 14 ee /eeS/ 20^19

d /dy/ 15 e /eZ/ 20^-1

V /Ve/ 16 B /BEt/ 20^-2

S /sa/ 17 Z /Zr/ 20^-3

q /qu/ 18 l /laj/ 20^-4

X /Xa/ 19 ii /ija/ 20^-5

aa /aaq/ ordinal i /is/ 20^-6

? /?E?/ 20^1 % /%z/ 20^-7

H /Hu/ 20^2 T /Tin/ 20^-8

r /ref/ 20^3 a /ad/ 20^-9

R /Ri/ 20^4 @ /puko/ radix




(plus English phonetics)


Here are some sentences for you to ponder and take apart. If you

want some added, email them to me. If you make some of your own,

you can email them to me also and I'll add them to the list. The

English phonetics (in single quotes) is the closest I can get to

how it should sound, written in a way that an English speaker

would understand it.


"Hello, my name is 'ofir'."

/bjaavt, dZfkootu ees ofir/

['bjaa-vat dZ@f'koo-tu ees 'o-fir]

'BYAH-vaht, jf-KOH-too ays oh-fear'


"Sir, do you want food?"

/blk, kamnaaz wloo/

[bl@k kam'naaz w@'loo]

'bl'k, kahm-NAHZ w'LOH'


"Dhak has seen Omei's hand."

/Dak vaav kaxoo omeuu/

[Dak vaav ka'xoo o-me'juu]

'Thahk vahv kah-KHOH oh-may-YOO'


"Fiddle is red."

/fidl Galee/

['fid-l Ga'lee]

'Fiddle ghah-LAY'


"No good deed ever goes unpunished."

/puk noo psyy dxnaapub spi/

[puk noo psyy d@x'naa-pub spi]

'pook noh psue d'x-NAH-poob spi'


"Once you have their money, you never give it back."

/myyt bvoobu studM Tatxaavtp spi bii gmeef/

[myyt 'bBoo-bu 'stud-Mn Tat'xaav-tap spi bii g@'meef/


'muet BVOH-boo stoodn that-KHAHV-tahp spi bee g'MAYF'


"His money is only yours when he can't get it back."

/bvo?uu kuee adMk ?aStaap Tadkaa gmeef/

[bvo'?uu ku'wee adM-k ?a'Staap Tad'kaa g@'meef]

'bvoh-'OO koo-WAY adn-k 'a-SHTAHP thad-KAH g'MAYF'


"Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to."

/xDaavtp gelmoo dkii joN Ngo kalfaa/

[x@'Dav-tap gel'moo d@'kii joN N'go kal'faa]

'kh'THAHV-t'p gel-MOH d'KEE yohng ng-GO kal-FAH'


"Never allow family to stand in the way of oppurtunity."

/Zdaavtp spi Vedoo ikaas Coo/


[Z@'daav-tap spi Ve'doo ik-aas Coo/

'zh-DAHV-tahp spi Be-DOH ik-AHS Doh'


"Always keep your ears open."

/ntgaavt ndfyyt paag szoomku/

[nt'gaa-vat nd'fyyt paag so'zoom-ku]

'n-t'GAH-vaht n-d'FUET paag s'ZOHM-koo'


"Opportunity plus instinct equals profit."

/Co wan fthgo stumaa bjoo/

[Co wan f@t-h@'go stu'maa bjoo]

'Doh wahn f't-h'GOH stu-MAH BYOH'


"A deal is a deal."

/f&k et f&k pikyy/

[f&k et f&k pi'kyy]

'fak ayt fak peek-UE'





This section is to give you a better understanding of how this

phonemic system works. If you want any more added, just ask me

in email. /Dis sekS@n iz tu giv juu @ betr @ndrst&ndiN @v haw Dis

foniimik sist@m wrks. If yuu w@nt @ny mor &d@d, dZ@st &sk mii in



"Have a nice day."

/h&v @ nais dei/


"The Ferengi are a race that grasp the concept of capitalism with

a passion."

/D@ ferengi ar @ reis D&t gr&sp D@ kaansept @v k&pit@lizm wiT @






The Ferengi language has an extensive technical, mathematical,

and financial vocabulary. The Ferengi have a high regard for

academics, especially economics. Knowlege is power, and the

Ferengi know it. A Ferengi's knowlege of calculus or chemistry

could potentially prove profitable in the future, so Ferengi

children are strongly encouraged to do well in these subjects, as

well as have a firm grasp on the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

Future versions of this text will contain some of that

vocabulary, but a much more complete dictionary would be included

in a book.


The Ferengi writing system, unfortunately, can't be represented

in this text file. However, a few things can be said about it.

One of the more common writing systems is a linear, left-to-right

cursive script. For each letter, there are 5 forms: Initial,

intermediate, final, isolated, and simplified. The initial form

is for the beginning of a word, the intermediate form goes

between two other letters, the final form goes at the end of a

word, the isolated form is neither preceded nor followed by

another letter, and the simplified form mostly resembles the

isolated form, but it was originally used for other Ferengi

writing schemes and is used with computers.


If you examine the history of Roman alphabet (the one we use),

you can see that parts of it were borrowed from the Greek

alphabet, which was taken from the Pheonicians, who spoke a

Semitic language. The Semites were the first to develop a true

alphabet (in contrast to a syllabary or pictorial writing

system). Their alphabet could be described as a syllabary where

each letter represents a specific conso

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