The Yautja language is the constructed language spoken by Yautja in the fictional Predator universe. Deliberately designed by Steve Perry for use in the non-canon Predator novel series, it contains many peculiarities, such as Object Verb Subject (OVS) word order. The language has never been heard on screen; though at some point in both films, the Yautja spoke minimal English (albeit responsively in a mocking manner). A fully-fledged native language was subsequently developed by Perry.
An important concept to the spoken and written Yautja language is canonicity. Only words and grammatical forms introduced by Steve Perry are considered proper and canonical of the language. Though there are no works of vocabulary and grammar in the Yautja language in print (with the exception of the novels which feature their usage), there are a few sources of vocabulary and grammar which are considered to be canon. These are mostly compiled on Predator fan sites on the Internet which include Dark Moon Hunters, Predator: The Hunted, and Predator Zone.
The official writing system for the Yautja language is the Latin alphabet as used above, but in the films and comic books, Yautja use their own alien writing system. This alphabet has never knowingly been named, and there has been little information given about it. When the alphabetic symbols are used in Predator and Aliens versus Predator productions they are merely decorative graphic elements composed of dashes (resembling a series of apostrophes); the most obvious example of this being the LED characters seen in the computer built into a Yautja’s wrist gauntlet. Predator marked the first time the language had been seen (though not heard) on screen.
One of the hallmarks of the Yautja language is its unique approach to orthography, using apostrophe-like dashes as substitutions of other characters, letters or otherwise. When expressing a number in the language, it was initially generally accepted by the Predator fan base that the quantity of dashes in a particular character distinguishes what number the character represents (though this theory could be disputed by the fact that this would blur the difference between; for example, a character such as the letter “m” (which consists of three dashes in the language) and the number 3; the letters “b,” “h,” and “u” also consist of three dashes, though each is situated differently. On August 4, 1997, Jim Sorenson released a TrueType font designed on the basis of the Yautja’s self-destruct device’s script; this font did not clarify every mystery of the language’s orthography, however, as the numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0 as well as letters “k” through to “z” allegedly do not follow through with canonicity. Regardless, this representation has become the generally accepted alphabet, until any official recognizing occurs. Letters “a” through “z” of the Yautja alphabet as adapted from Sorenson’s font are listed below.
A design principle of the Yautja language is the great degree of lexical-cultural correlation in the vocabulary. For example, the words meaning “hard” and “meat” are kainde and amedha respectively, but when used together (kainde amedha) the phrase takes on a new meaning and is used to describe a xenomorph, rather than to describe “hard meat.” There are many words relating to death and hunting (hunting is considered a fine art in Yautja culture). This helps lend a particular character to the language.
There is also a number of “jokes” built into the language, including general expletives such as pauk and c’jit (“fuck” and “shit” respectively, though the latter can be loosely translated to “damn”), and insults among inferior male Yautja such as lou-dte kalei (generally meaning “woman,” though more directly translating to “child-maker”).
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