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An example of Goa'uld written language

"What the hell does 'kree' mean?"
"Well, actually, it means a lot of things. Loosely translated it means 'Attention', 'Listen up', 'Concentrate'."
"Yes, in a manner of speaking."
Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson[src]

The Goa'uld language is spoken by the Goa'uld, the Jaffa and Tok'ra. The Goa'uld language started out as the Unas language, but it was limited by the vocal abilities of the Unas. As the Goa'uld started to take more human hosts, their language developed and became a primary influence for Ancient Egyptian.

It is now the lingua franca of the Milky Way galaxy and has retained that status in spite of the fall of the Goa'uld Empire.


The grammar of the Goa'uld language is fairly simple to grasp, the language uses a subject verb object (SVO) word order, as in English.


The pronouns of Goa'uld are fairly simple. At present, it is believed that Goa'uld has no third-person pronoun; instead, one uses the proper noun for that object.

The pronouns are:

  • Ta—I
  • Lo—you

Plural forms of these are created with the suffix -p, creating tap "we" and lop "you". The proper noun can also be used instead of the pronoun. It is unknown as to whether any special suffixes are used to indicate possession.


Verbs in Goa'uld do not inflect for tense or person. Therefore, the Goa'uld verb tal pac can, depending on the situation, mean "to fall", "falling", "fell", "will fall", et cetera. In general, the context of the situation or time phrases in a sentence will indicate when the verb is taking place, as in most forms of Chinese.

Suffix order

Suffixes will be numbered (1), (2), (3) in the order that they belong. Intentionally or unintentionally, this is similar to the Klingon language; if the former, it could be a complex joke (a thing for which SG-1 writers are notorious). For example:
nok "now" with -ia "not" (1) and -k "to be" (2) is nokiak "in the beginning there was". Notice that this is translated as "in the beginning", and not "in the end" or "not now", although it could mean either. The phrase mel nok "after now" is used to mean "later", while nokia is used to mean "earlier".


The word kree has many meanings, but it is in essence used as a general call to attention or a call to duty. It is often used as a generic call to action, being translated as "be prepared", "aim", "listen up", "let's go", or even (as Colonel Jack O'Neill once quipped) "yoo-hoo". Kree can be combined with verbs to indicate action or as an imperative. For example, kree hol means "We are going", "Let's go", and by adding mel "to die, to end" it becomes kree hol mel "We are standing by" or "Wait." It is frequently heard addressed to a particular group, as in, Jaffa, kree! (alternatively kree Jaffa!) "Listen up, Jaffa!" or "Jaffa, Attention!" It is occasionally heard addressed to other groups, such as Tok'ra, kree!, Tau'ri kree!, Goa'uld kree!, and Shol'va kree!.


In Goa'uld, tar is a shortened slang form of tau'ri "Human". Lotar literally translates as "You, human", which is probably how the word originated. Over time it evolved to become a very prestigious position among slaves to the Goa'uld.


This is a pejorative term used by Jaffa and System Lords alike to refer to betrayers of their "god" — it is akin to the term "heretic" or 'traitor'. Some Jaffa, such as Teal'c, became notorious examples of the Shol'va, renouncing his "god" (as divine, as ultimate authority by divine right, etc.).

Modifying words

In Goa'uld, adverbs come before the verb they modify. Sometimes, a direct object will precede the verb, rather than follow it.

Dual sentence

Goa'uld is a very powerful language because of the dual sentence ability of the language. This allows two separate ideas to be expressed in one sentence. If the ideas have a common word, then it is only said or written once, saving time and effort.

For example: Lo tak meta satak oz means both "You are speaking to the great Oz" and "I am the great Oz". Broken down, this sentence is composed of two segments: lo ... meta satak Oz "You ... are speaking to the great Oz" interpolated with ... tak ... satak Oz "... I am ... the great Oz" — both of these ideas are conveyed simultaneously within the sentence.


The Goa'uld use several different forms of writing, most of which are based on Egyptian Hieroglyphs (though the show claims the reverse). There is also a cursive Goa'uld script that appears to have been created from scratch.

The alphabet illustrated has been seen in the series, in a text message sent by the Goa'uld to Stargate Command. It is the only Goa'uld script in the series that can be translated easily. The alphabet in the series is actually the Nahkt hieroglyphic font, and it was used to write various jokes in different episodes. Another hieroglyph font used in the series was the Meroitic script font. [1]

It was originally believed that Goa'uld is usually written left to right, top to bottom. However, official documents of the Free Jaffa Nation, as seen in the offices of Gerak and other Jaffa High Councillors, show Goa'uld written from top to bottom; as yet, it is unknown whether the columns begin on the right (as Chinese characters traditionally do) or on the left (as with the Mongolian alphabet).

The Goa'uld have also been known to use various other ancient scripts and languages. Among them are Greek, Chinese characters, Cuneiform, Cretan Linear A, and Maya hieroglyphics.