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 fictitious language, the Bhotani Jib (likely derived from Bhutan and referring to a dialect derived from there). Herbert presumably took the name from Chakobsa, the "hunting language" of the Caucasus (cf. Lesley Blanch, The Sabres of Paradise (1960), p. 21), an anglicized form of Adyghe щакIуэбзэ /šhak'oe-bze/ "hunter's language" (щакIуэ 'hunter,' бзэ 'language').
Examples of the language from the books are actually a mixture of Roma (or Gypsy) language, from a Gypsy magic textbook Herbert used for reference, one sentence in Serbo-Croat and various Arabic terms, with definitions altered slightly to suggest the passage of time.
The Dune Encyclopedia
The non-canon Dune Encyclopedia (1984) by Willis E. McNelly includes extensive descriptions of the Fremen language. The Encyclopedia was approved by Herbert but rendered erroneous in some areas through Herbert's later works in the Dune series.
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." 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".
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 ... .
(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...")
The game Fury of the Furries can be played in Chakobsa.
Notes and references
- "Tolk de Chakobsa Phrases in "Dune"" in Conlangs Monthly, p.31, article written in the conlang Sambahsa by O.Simon.
- McNelly, Willis E. (June 1, 1984). "CHAKOBSA". The Dune Encyclopedia. pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-425-06813-7.
- McNelly (1984). "FREMEN LANGUAGE". Dune Encyclopedia. pp. 234–247.
- 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.
- Plagiarism of the Dune Encyclopedia
- Herbert, Frank. Dune, pp. 315.