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Code of the Sith/Ben Grossblatt email

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Code of the Sith/Ben Grossblatt email

< Code of the Sith

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This page records an email from Ben Grossblatt, used in writing both the articles about the Code of the Sith and the Sith language. It is recorded here for historical purposes, and has been locked from editing.

Source:  EmailAttribution:  LelalMekha

Thank you, I'll use it and begin editing the article accordingly. I sure wish you'd be asked to publish a Sith grammar one day, but it really isn't the kind of Star Wars book that editors want to make. What a shame.

Best regards and linguistically yours, LelalMekha

Source:  EmailAttribution:  Ben Grossblatt

Hi —

I have some good news:

The higher-ups at Lucas have let me know that it's fine for me to share a little more with you.

I asked them specifically about the Code of Sith. (I saw that the user called Doggir had asked about it.) I don't know how to get in touch with Doggir, so I'm sharing it with you. You can pass it on or post it to Wookieepedia.

Here is just the Sith. I can discuss the underlying grammar of this too, if you'd like.

Qotsisajak

Nwûl tash.
Dzwol shâsotkun.
Shâsotjontû châtsatul nu tyûk.
Tyûkjontû châtsatul nu midwan.
Midwanjontû châtsatul nu asha.
Ashajontû kotswinot itsu nuyak.
Wonoksh Qyâsik nun.

Here is the breakdown of the Sith Code:

Qotsisajak
Qo + tsisajak
Way/path/tao/code Sith doctrine
Sith Code

Nwûl tash.
Peace (Ø PRES copula) lie.
Peace is a lie.

Dzwol shâsotkun.
Occur/abide struggle+only
There is only passion.

Shâsotjontû châtsatul nu tyûk.
Struggle+INSTR gain (chats) +ALETHIC MOOD I strength.
Through passion I gain strength.

Tyûkjontû châtsatul nu midwan.
Strength+INSTR gain+ALETHIC MOOD I power.
Through strength I gain power.

Midwanjontû châtsatul nu asha.
Power+INSTR gain+ALETHIC MOOD I victory.
Through power I gain victory.

Ashajontû kotswinot itsu nuyak.
Victory+INSTR break+ERG+LG INAM OBJ chain my+PL.
Through victory, my chains break.

Wonoksh Qyâsik nun.
Free+FUT The Force me.
The Force shall free me.


NOTES:

  • The alethic mood expresses the speaker’s belief that an action is logically necessary, obviously true, inherently predictable, etc.
  • Note the repeated topicalized prepositional phrases. (shâsotjontû, tyûkjontû, midwanjontû, and ashajontû.) The typical word order of Sith is VSO (see for example the last sentence of the Sith Code), but there can be topicalized subjects, objects, and prepositional phrases.
  • The verb kotswinot has a couple strange things going on. In this sentence, it employs –win, labeled as the ergative marker (but it isn’t a true ergative). Compare “my chains break” with “the door opened” or “that’s the way the cookie crumbles.” In those sentences, the door and the cookie are grammatical subjects but semantic objects of the transitive verbs “open” and “crumble,” and the semantic agent of the verb is unexpressed. The other thing that’s notable is that the root kots “to break” is a member of a class of verbs called verbs of handling. Information about grammatical subjects (animacy) and the extent of the action is encoded in these verbs. The verb kotsot (kots + ot) could be translated as “completely break or shatter” an inanimate object.

— Ben

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