Star Trek Expanded Universe

Ilojan transliteration, named after exiled Cardassian poet Iloja of Prim (Iloça Uprimou), was a system of transliterating the Cardăsda language into Federation Standard in a way that accurately reflects the language's pronunciation, unlike the more haphazard schemes commonly employed by organizations such as the Federation News Service (FNS). The system is most frequently seen in academic and language-study settings, where it was first employed in the study of Iloja's works. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions)

Ilojan / IPA Comparison[]

This table provides International Phonetic Alphabet equivalencies for each Ilojan letter or digraph.


(Ilojan transcription --> IPA)

Consonants with Standard equivalents[]

b - b

d - d

h - h

m - m

n - n

p - p

v - v

y - j ("y" as in "yet")

z - z

l - ɫ (an "l" pronounced from the back of the throat as often heard in American English, rather than the tip of the tongue as often heard in British pronunciation)

Non-Aspirated/Aspirated Pairs[]

s - s

ç - ɕ (similar to "s" and "sh," but neither: the tongue is lowered slightly from the "s" position to allow air to pass over it, creating a light hiss)

k - k

c - kʰ (aspirated "k")

g - g

gh - ɡʱ (aspirated "g")

t - t

th - tʰ (best described as an aspirated, dental "t")

r - ɾ / r ("r" pronounced with a tap of the tongue as in Spanish "r". The latter, a trill as in Spanish "rr," is an unofficial dialect pronunciation seen in certain individuals such as Gul Skrain Dukat)

rh - rʰ (the "r" is trilled while forcing air out over the tongue, creating a combined trill/hiss sound)


' - ʔ (glottal stop similar to the break in syllables between "uh-oh." Most frequently serves as a grammatical marker or in words coming from non-standard dialects or other species' languages; its appearance as part of an actual word-root is rare.)


ă - æ

a - ɑ

ay - eː

e - ɛ

i - ɪ

iy - i

o - o (may turn to ɔ in rapid speech when un-accented, but "o" is favored)

u - ʊ (never ʌ)

ou - uː

Ilojan /FNS Comparison[]

FNS transliterations, commonly employed by Federation media outlets, are designed to approximate Cardăsda pronunciation enough to give an idea of how a word is supposed to sound without the use of diacritics or sounds not found in Federation Standard. The degree of faithfulness to the original Cardăsda varies depending on how difficulty of the word to pronounce--and some of it is simply determined by the first reporter to translate a particular word, after which other journalists adopt that spelling.

With some names, such as "Akellen Macet," (Akelen Maset), the difference is merely one of aesthetics. In other cases, especially those involving non-Standard sounds, varying degrees of artistic license are taken. One of the most notable is the last name of Ambassador Natima Lang, whose last name is actually Laync. Given the difficulty most Standard speakers have in distinguishing the non-aspirated "k" from aspirated "c," a reporter decided to render her surname as the familiar English name "Lang"--even though the "ng" sound does not exist in Cardăsda!

Links including examples of Ilojan transliteration[]