Making a Tau Phonetic Alphabet

Discuss Tau background and even your own Cadre fiction here.
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Arka0415
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Making a Tau Phonetic Alphabet

Post#1 » Jun 08 2017 08:38

Would Tau infantry and battlesuits have callsigns? Or some other name? If they do, what would a Tau phonetic alphabet sound like? NATO Phonetic Alphabet is the "Alfa Bravo Charlie" that we all know.

What would the Tau one be like? This could be a great tool for Tau fiction as well as army roster fluff!

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TauMan
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Re: Making a Tau Phonetic Alphabet

Post#2 » Jun 20 2017 09:13

Arka0415, what a great idea! Never thought about a Tau phonetic alphabet before?

First I have no idea what the name of the Tau letters would be, because even English the name of letter isn't necessarily the sound of the letter makes. The letter 'T' is called 'tee', but pronounced 'te'; and 'Z' is called 'zee' or 'zed', but pronounced 'zz'. And to complicate things in Tau'sia, like in Hebrew and Arabic, letters are also numbers. So do you say the letter for the number or the word for the number? Do you see the number 'A' and say 'One', or do you see the number 'A' and say 'Aay'? :?

Will get cracking on solving this problem. In the meantime here are the Tau numbers.

Tau Numbers
0. Tsaa
1. Neg
2. Xor
3. Gur
4. Dor
5. Tav
6. Tsurg
7. Dolu
10. Niam (Eight)*

*Tau has a base eight number system, instead of our base ten number system.

Related topic, I know that several writers (myself included) here on the A.T.T. forums have stories where firewarriors using 'combat hand signals'; but no one has ever come up with what they look like.


TauMan -- Will get right on this.
PS I almost missed your post, and had to do a search to find it, after I saw the first time. The flurry of 8th edition posts is crowding everything else out! ;)
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Arka0415
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Re: Making a Tau Phonetic Alphabet

Post#3 » Oct 29 2017 01:04

TauMan wrote:Arka0415, what a great idea! Never thought about a Tau phonetic alphabet before?

First I have no idea what the name of the Tau letters would be, because even English the name of letter isn't necessarily the sound of the letter makes. The letter 'T' is called 'tee', but pronounced 'te'; and 'Z' is called 'zee' or 'zed', but pronounced 'zz'. And to complicate things in Tau'sia, like in Hebrew and Arabic, letters are also numbers. So do you say the letter for the number or the word for the number? Do you see the number 'A' and say 'One', or do you see the number 'A' and say 'Aay'? :?

Will get cracking on solving this problem. In the meantime here are the Tau numbers.

Tau Numbers
0. Tsaa
1. Neg
2. Xor
3. Gur
4. Dor
5. Tav
6. Tsurg
7. Dolu
10. Niam (Eight)*

*Tau has a base eight number system, instead of our base ten number system.

Related topic, I know that several writers (myself included) here on the A.T.T. forums have stories where firewarriors using 'combat hand signals'; but no one has ever come up with what they look like.


I stumbled accross this thread again, I forgot I ever made it! Now, I think we know Tau'sia has an alphabet (not a syllabary like Japanese or logograms like Chinese), but we don't know if it has an order, right?

We know the numbers 1-8, which correspond to the 1st-8th letters of the Tau alphabet, but we don't know which letters those actually are.

I think, to create a phonetic alphabet (for example, assigning "S" to "Shas" or something like that) we'd need to know:

1. The number of letters in the Tau alphabet
2. The order of those letters
3. Enough Tau words to assign each letter to a word which begins with that letter

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Kakapo42
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Re: Making a Tau Phonetic Alphabet

Post#4 » Oct 29 2017 01:57

We know the numbers 1-8, which correspond to the 1st-8th letters of the Tau alphabet, but we don't know which letters those actually are.


Tau numbers are (from what I gather at least) typically considered to be the eight characters that appear on the first edition Tau transfer sheet, a small light blue sheet of Tau decals originally supplied with all battlesuit and vehicle boxes. On this sheet just below a set of coloured roundels (in turn just below a set of two medium and one large Farsight Enclaves logo) are a row of eight characters which appear similar to the characters in the Tau alphabet shown in most editions of the Tau codex, but don't match up to any of them.

Given this disconnect, the fact that it is a set of eight characters and their appearance on several Tau numerical displays in the Firewarrior computer game (they appear on the ammo counters that the pulse rifle and pulse carbine have modelled on them, as well as in the readouts from a Tau supercomputer you encounter in one mission), it can be safe to assume that these characters are the Tau numerical digits. The Expanded Tau Lexicon created by Tauman simply incorporates these numerical digits into the full Tau alphabet where they pull double-duty as numerical digits and extra letters.

In order to create a Tau spelling alphabet, you'll first need to decide which Tau alphabet you'll use, as there are several different interpretations floating around. This is important, because the official Tau alphabet presented in GW codexes (and, I believe, in the Living Tau Lexicon commonly used on ATT) uses the same characters for different letters, while the aforementioned Expanded Tau Lexicon does not. There are also Tau words that may feature in one lexicon set but not in the other.

Thus, I suggest that - if you haven't already - take a look at both the Living Tau Lexicon and Expanded Tau Lexicon threads. You should be able to find them easily enough in the Library (the Living Tau Lexicon in particular is stickied). Both are in common use on the forum, so once you've decided which one to go with (or created your own third lexicon option) focus on setting up a Spelling alphabet for that one - you may wish to co-ordinate your efforts with Tauman on this, especially if you choose to adopt his lexicon set.

In the meantime, to save myself a lot of headaches and confusion, I assign my battlesuits simple callsigns based on colours and numbers - Gold Leader, Red 1, Blue 2 and so on (not entirely unlike the Rebel Alliance starfighter callsigns in the original Star Wars trilogy). Perhaps something like that could work?
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Arka0415
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Re: Making a Tau Phonetic Alphabet

Post#5 » Oct 29 2017 10:59

Kakapo42 wrote:In order to create a Tau spelling alphabet, you'll first need to decide which Tau alphabet you'll use, as there are several different interpretations floating around. This is important, because the official Tau alphabet presented in GW codexes (and, I believe, in the Living Tau Lexicon commonly used on ATT) uses the same characters for different letters, while the aforementioned Expanded Tau Lexicon does not. There are also Tau words that may feature in one lexicon set but not in the other.

Thus, I suggest that - if you haven't already - take a look at both the Living Tau Lexicon and Expanded Tau Lexicon threads. You should be able to find them easily enough in the Library (the Living Tau Lexicon in particular is stickied). Both are in common use on the forum, so once you've decided which one to go with (or created your own third lexicon option) focus on setting up a Spelling alphabet for that one - you may wish to co-ordinate your efforts with Tauman on this, especially if you choose to adopt his lexicon set.


Looking at Tauman's Expanded Tau Lexicon, it seems we have 28 distinct sounds to work with- the standard 26 letter of the alphabet, minus V and Z, plus QQ, FF, TS, and CH. I assume that Tau words such as "O'Shovah" would actually (using the Tau alphabet) be spelled like "O'Shoffah"? Also, in fitting with consonant-pair system, shouldn't SH be its own letter?

TauMan I'd like your input on this too! :biggrin:

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