Jane Williams
Artwork: John Hughes

As is well-known, the Durulz speak the language of the humans nearest to their homes, though with a slight accent due to the beak - in particular, they find the letter “R” wather difficult. But that’s when they’re talking to humans. What do they speak amongst themselves?

A careful study by a group of renowned scholars of Durulz culture (Jane Williams, Chris Gidlow, Jamie “Trotsky” Revell and John Hughes) has revealed that they speak a language colloquially known to humans as “quicking” (rather like “quacking”, only faster), but known to the Durulz themselves as Ogewicś$łw $qoisąg - a literal translation would be “Proper Gander”. In fact, this is a debased form of the original Proper Gander (or para-Keet), but no Durulz will ever admit it. The few Keets who have ever commented on the subject refer to the Durulz language derisively as “pidgin”.

The written form, as used by the scribes of Laker Mhy, is called Mudlark, consisting of sharp birdclaw strokes designed for ease of use with papyrus and reed. No one can read it of course. Especially not ducks. It sets them arguing.

The spoken language lacks some phonemes common in human languages (the “R” being particularly notorious), and adds some others which can only be properly pronounced with a beak. The long /s/ can be approximated as a combination of a hiss and a spit, but the heavily emphasised /qk/ is more difficult, and human linguists are advised not to attempt /$/, particularly the aspirated form, without a skilled healer to hand. /k/, /Kh/ and /c/ may be regarded as allophones. Or not. Ducks tend to argue about this.

To produce the effect of Quicking in stories or games without having to continually generate a stream of nonsense, we recommend this procedure:

1) Go to Babel Fish, or similar on-line translator, and translate the desired phrase into Polish.
2) Reverse the direction of each word (yes, ducks use Reverse Polish)
3) Replace all instances of "R" with "Q", replace any un-accented "a" with "$"
4) Replace the word for “and” (“i”) with “ssstj” (and give similar treatment to anything else that looks too short).

There is an automatic translator at: www.jane-williams.me.uk/glorantha/quickingtrans.cfm You try to pronounce the result at your own risk.

Some sample translated phrases:

Proper Gander - Ogewicś$łw $qoisąg
My sword’s bigger than your sword - Jóm zceim tsej yzskęiw żin jówt zceim
Shut up and do what you’re told - Jinkm$z ęis ssstj ćiboq oc ic ąż$k (this phrase is normally only used by ducks to drakes)
Danger! Danger! Dive! Dive! - Owtsńezceip! Owtsńezceip! $in$wo! $in$wo!
My hovercraft is full of eels - Moim Poduszkowiec jest pełna węgorze (a colloquial phrase to describe a successful day’s fishing).