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The Language of the Skeksis

Jim Henson decided to have the Skeksis speak a foreign language, specially devised by linguist Alan Garner based on ancient Greek and Egyptian. An early concept was to have the Skeksis just making noises, but in a way that you knew what they were saying. Though Henson liked Alan Garner's Skeksis language, he decided to reloop the dialogue in English, adding choice one-liners in the process. Though the action on screen remained the same -- no re-shooting was done -- the English dialogue skewed the proceedings away from the purely bizarre and grotesque toward the more familiar comedic territory of the Muppets.

The Skeksis' language, restricted as it is to nouns, adjectives, and expletives, is ill-suited to descriptions of long, complex processes.

 

The following were taken from the novel:

Funeral Ritual

Kekkon, Kekkon, Yazakaide, Akura, Kasdaw.

Hokkvatta skaun Kherron

Kekkon, Kekkon, Yazakaide, Akura, Teedkhug!

Haakhaon!

Trial By Stone

Haakskeekah! ("Trial by Stone")

Pih Tabrokh! (Ritual-Master tells Chamberlain to start the fight)

Haakskeekah, Khrokon! Haakskeekah! Haakskeekah!

Khrokon, Khrokon! (emperor)

The Capture of Aughra

Ekdideothone. (Garthim-Master tells the Garthim to release the captive)

Katakontidzeh! (Aughra calls the Skeksis stupid fools)

Howtee oo mee kelffinks ("This is no gelfling!")

Katakontidzeh tekka! (Aughra curses the Garthim)

"I'll settle your aspects semisquare and quincunx." (Aughra speaks to the Skeksis)

Svaleros ho Kelffinks (Ritual-Master talks about how dangerous gelflings are to Skeksis)

Kataftheeressthou. (Ritual-Master says the gelfling must be killed)

Poostitoc? (Garthim-Master asks Aughra where the gelfling is)

Porroh klet! ("Gelfling gone!")

Aukhra na Rakhash! (Garthim-Master orders Aughra to the Chamber of Life)

Garthim na bullorkhskaunga! (Garthim-Master orders the Garthim to return to their pit)

Kakofrontez! (enigmatic taunt from Aughra)

Kelffinks makhun kim. (Ritual-Master orders the Crystal bats to find the gelfling)

The Capture of Kira

Kelffinks Krakweekah! (Ritual-Master says the gelfling must die)

Kelffink na Rakhash! (Garthim-Master orders Kira to the Chamber of Life)

Kelffink cho tenkha. Vo olk Kelffink ulls? (Garthim-Master asks where the other gelfling is)

The Great Conjunction

Khavekh, Khavekh, Khavekh, Orkhasstim. (Ritual-Master commences the formal ceremony)

Teen Kelffinkim! (Garthim-Master orders the Garthim to get the gelflings)

Klakk smaithh Skwee Kreh! (Ritual-Master sees the shard dropped on the floor)

Gif (give)

 

Translations:

Kakoi - to break the Crystal

Haakskeekah - Trial by Stone

Khrokon - Emperor

Kelffink - gelfling

Katakontidzeh - stupid; fool

Aukhra - Aughra

Rakhash - Chamber of Life

Gif - give

 

The following is taken from the book of Aughra:

xahgniathanor ("skin-winged night-fliers" or "crystal bats")

 

The following were taken from the script:

Haakskeekah!

Haaakseekah!

Kellffinnkh!  Kellfinnkkh! ('A Gelfling, a Gelfling.  In the Dark Crystal.  A Gelfling alive!)

Kelflinkh!  Garthim Klaka Krakwhee! ('Gelflings!  Garthim, Kill them!')

K'luh Kelffinnkhh. ('This is not a Gelfling.')

Shhka Kelffinnkhh? ('You captured the Gelfling?')

Kelffinnkh K'nim.  Krahkwhee! ('Gelfling is dangerous.  Must kill it.  Where is this Gelfling?')

Aukhra na Rakhash! ('Take Aughra to the chamber of Life')

Kelffinkkh Krakwhee! ('Kill Gelfling')

Kelfinkhh Krakweekah! ('Kill Gelfling!  Now!)

Kelfinnkkhh na Rhakhash! ('Gelfling goes to Chamber of Life')

Klakk smaithhh Skwee Kreh!! (Grab that Shard!)

 

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