It was a rough language, full of barks and yelps and drawn out yowls. A mad mixture from the vocal chords from a dozen species, winnowed down to a shared range of sounds. The syntax was even more complex than the sounds themselves, as the Basic language class was finding out the hard way.
Tess muttered something unrepeatable about the Holst’s obsession with irregular conjugation and winced as the instructor’s ear twitched. It was oddly hard to remember that they weren’t human, even with the fur and fangs (and feathers in the case of the Hr’rint’ti). Tess had grown up on a fringe world, just far enough away that it fell out of the main trading routes. She’d never seen a non-human before she’d joined the Academy and she was constantly being caught off-guard.
Other than the ear twitch, the instructor declined to acknowledge that she’d heard the remark. Rhalk led the class through the list of 218 irregular verbs, pausing along the way to show where and why it had been chosen for inclusion into Basic. Once she had the class thoroughly confused, again, the Holst turned the podium over to her human co-teacher who answered the inevitable flow of questions. In Basic.
Tess daydreamed about a portable universal translator for the rest of the class.