There are many words implied throughout book one that are not actually used in dialog, so I am not including them in this vocabulary list. The usage of the vocabulary is something that the characters struggle with, and interpretations of words with multiple meanings is a process that requires them to have a degree of experience with the language.

Ian Whitewind uses the language fluently but he does attempt to “dumb down” what he is saying so that the others can figure out what he means (the reason for this becomes obvious as the story progresses). EMC

General Vocabulary:

  • Ahn — Equals. Most common word used in the language of the Un Shan Takhu. It is often used to indicate connection to, or in the location of, an object (i.e. Ian ahn Hector = Ian is in the Hector, or Ian belongs to the Hector). Also commonly used as, “to make into the same as.” In this usage it does not clearly act as a verb but might be loosely interpreted as implying action (Oola ahn wath is, “make the outside the same as the inside” or “open the door.”). Can also mean understand when used as a standalone word.
  • Che — Child. Younger. Smaller. It can also be used as “less than” in the middle connective position of a sentence structure.
  • Cata — Under. Beneath.
  • Da — Absolute negative modifier. Not.
  • Ekahta — Gravity.
  • Nu — You.
  • Oola — Outside.
  • Shada — Message. Words. May also mean to talk or  speak. (although this violates a basic aspect of the grammar of the Un Shan Takhu language as it appears to be a verb word form).
  • Shan — Star.
  • Tacra — Archive. May also be used to indicate the Archivist.
  • Takhu — The name of the star of old ones. (used as “Shan Takhu”)
  • Tarah — The name of Earth’s star. (used as “Shan Tarah”)
  • Trana — Not like, is dissimilar. (Apparently different than the concept of polar opposite as meant by da-ahn)
  • Un — Before. Greater than. Bigger. Higher. Older. When capitalized, is also used as shorthand for “old ones.”
  • Wath — Inside


  • Dra — One.
  • Oka — Two.
  • Para — Three.
  • Lor — Four.
  • El — Five.
  • Et — Zero. (Not used in this novel but mentioned here for the sake of being thorough. EMC)

    The Un Shan Takhu numbering system is base six.

Common Compound Words:

  • Tacra Un — Archive of the Un.
  • Un Shan Takhu — Old Ones of the Star Takhu. (The name of the race that built the Tacra Un) also commonly used as used as simply Shan Takhu.
  • Oolawath — Door.
  • Da-ahn — Not equal.
  • Da-nu — Not you. Me.
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