Zurvár Language and Culture - Ships, Boats and Things that Float

The culture of Zurvár Arèáná being predominantly a marine one, watercraft are encountered by most Zurvár on a day to day basis. As such it seems appropriate to record some of the terminology applying to these craft, and this is what this article attempts.

First of all however there is a translation issue to be dealt with. English has two common terms for watercraft, "ship" and "boat". Where a distinction between the two is drawn (by laymen at least) it is generally size based - "boat" is an acceptable term for almost any watergoing craft, while "ship" refers to boats above a certain size. Most English speakers for instance would accept either "ship" or "boat" as an acceptable term for a cruise liner such as the QE II, but would object to a small metal dinghy being called a "ship".

This point should be kept in mind while reading this article, as although Zurvár has two size determined labels for watercraft, they are not similarly interchangable. A small to medium sized boat is always a lòtò, while a large boat is always a caganaþ. Given the centrality of watercraft to Zurvár culture, confusing the two would (at best) mark the speaker out as an idiot.

With that point covered, we are free to examine a number of terms refering to watercraft one by one.


A katáká is a small boat, such as a dinghy, rowboat, small sailboat or even a coracle. While it is acceptable to refer to a katáká as a lòtò, the specific term is generally prefered (it is unclear at exactly what point a katáká becomes a lòtò although one opinion is that if it can comfortably carry more than five passengers it's a lòtò). Katáká is thought to derive from a proto-Zurvár word *gatlò "Thing that swims".


A fádákatá is a small, elongated vessel, generally propelled by oars, such as a canoe or kayak. It could also reasonably be applied to a ventian gondala or a team rowing boat. A fádákatá is also a kind lòtò, although the elongated shape seems to be the deciding factor for the term used - a long narrow boat capable of carrying twenty people would still be a fádákatá. Fádákatá is thought to derive from the proto-Zurvár *gatlò (see above) and *ghada "long, elongated, thin".


Lòtò is the general Zurvár term for any watercraft. It is generally translated as "boat" and can be qualified with a number of more specific terms such as lòtò keltágol (fishing boat), lòtò tuluk (crossing boat = ferry), or lòtò brentá (trade boat). Historically Zurvár have not constructed boats much larger than about 40 metres, hence vessels larger than this are generally not refered to as mon lòtò.


The Zurvár do not generally construct ships larger than about 40 meters in length, hence when they first encountered some of the much larger ships common on Earth a new word was required, lòtò being considered inadequate. The word that eventually came into common use (in the ST0060's) was caganaþ. This was the name of a huge sea monster in obscure Zurvár myth, and was resurrected to this new purpose in the writings of Cakè Gòzár Praþnikárvá, North American correspondent to the Gorat Kalif Sulnárá from ST0064 to ST0072.

While it may be tempting to translate this word into English as "juggernaut"*From Jagannath a title of the Hindu god Krishna meaning "Lord of the World". the word leviathan would be more appropriate. In general usage however it is usually translated as "ship".

There are several standardised terms for different types of caganaþ. A caganaþ wedem is an oil tanker (wedem = fuel-oil). A container ship is a caganaþ kabùl (kabùl = storage). A cruise liner is a caganaþ kaliþ (kaliþ = resort, holiday town). Any large naval vessel, such as a battleship is a caganaþ gurnik (gurnik = warfare). An aircraft carrier however is a caganaþ vimáná (vimáná = fixed wing aircraft).

As a final note, since the ST0060's caganaþ has also come to be used to refer to large airships and dirigibles, in the term caganaþ ferá ("air leviathan").

Lòtò gurnik

Despite their maritime lifestyle the Zurvár have never really gone in for sea based warfare, hence (with a few exceptions) the distinction between the different classes of naval vessel escapes the average Zurvár. The general term lòtò gurnik (war boat) is used to refer to cruisers, destroyers, and most other small to medium sized warships. Exceptions are particularly large naval ships (caganaþ gurnik) and naval ships equipped with missiles or torpedoes.

Lòtò hûwit

The word hûwit means "missile" or "rocket", hence a lòtò hûwit is a "missile boat", such as a guided missile frigate. Hûwit is actually an archaic word for "squid" (the current term for squid is varatálá). When rocketry was first developed by Zurvár the similarity to the jet propulsion of squids was obviously noticed. The dark exhaust smoke of the earliest rockets may also have invited comparison with the ink ejected by a startled squid.

The word also survives (in modified form) in the term hûtozá (jet engine)*On a related subject it is amusing to note that incompetent subtitling of several Earth movies (notably I Know What You Did Last Summer) for cinematic distribution on Zurvár Arèáná resulted in the actress Jennifer Love Hewitt being credited as Cenivá Urzáhûwit or "Jennifer Love-Rocket". This name sounds as ridiculous in Zurvár as it does in English and resulted in many raised eyebrows before it was corrected to the phoenetic (but meaningless) Cenivá Luv Hyûwit.

Lòtò barhûit

Barhûwit (sea-missile) means torpedo, hence a lòtò barhûit is a torpedo ship. The same term may be applied to naval mines, and obviously a mine laying vessel can also be called a lòtò barhûit. A mine sweeper on the other hand is a lòtò barhûit kalaská (sea-missile dredge boat).


This term refers to a submarine or bathyscape. Prior to Century ST00 Zurvár technology had not made many advancements in this field, and hence there was no defined word in the language to refer to submersible vessels. The earliest occurance of zèdòen dates from the ST0020's, and it is almost certainly an adaption from the Earth Deutsch "unterseebooten" (undersea boats).

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