Introduction to the Romulan Language

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Though the Romulan language is often referred to as Rihannsu in English translations, this is incorrect. The word Rihannsu is a noun referring to a group of Romulan people. The actual word used by Romulan speakers to refer to their language is Rihan.

Rihan is the official language of the Romulan Star Empire and is spoken throughout its territory. Various dialects do exist, even on Romulus itself, but in general, all speakers of Rihan can understand each other. Non-native speakers often have trouble with pronunciation, especially the heavy use of aspiration, and it is considered a difficult language to learn.

Romulan words are often formed by combining two or three words into a new construction, much in the way that the Terran language German constructs new words. The language also employs numerous affixes to construct new meanings from existing words.

History of the Language

The Romulan people are the descendants of dissident Vulcans, led by S'Task, who rejected the radical new teachings of Surak and chose to continue living by the Old Ways. As a small minority, they were unable to stem the rapid reform of Vulcan culture that was reshaping the planet, and they chose to leave Vulcan and find another home rather than submit to the new order.

One of the reforms instituted by Surak and his followers had been a logical reconstruction of the Vulcan common tongue. When the followers of S'Task left the planet to begin their journey into the stars, they abandoned this reformed language in order to further distance themselves from those they saw as traitors to the Old Ways. They instead returned to speaking Old High Vulcan. Modern Rihan has developed from that root.

About the Romulan Used on This Website

Information about the Romulan language used on this site comes mainly from the Catoena ih'Swaet Doaege Rihanai website. This website has been unmaintained since 2006 and attempts to contact its creators have failed. Credits are due to those who put together that site, which has the most comprehensive Romulan language website on the Internet up to this date. Fears that this site will someday vanish, as did the Vulcan Language Institute in August 2008, have prompted us to preserve what work has been done and also to expand upon it and make it more accessible.

New words have been added to those found in the dictionary of the Catoena ih'Swaet Doaege Rihanai website, and more will be added as the need arises to create them. The Romulan language used on this site is not endorsed by any official Star Trek representative and is meant solely for use as entertainment. Much of the original work was taken from the novels of Diane Duane, from Star Trek episodes, and from previous use of the language by role-playing groups.

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