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Volume 2307

The sounds of spoken 

Mangani Dictionary Project: ERBzine 2113
By Jairo Uparella

be no out of my heartBefore get into the phonology field of the Mangani language, it is necessary to revise how the words were built in order to obtain the Mangani Dictionary. This subject corresponds to the fields of the Etymology science. In simple terms, Etymology is the study of the origin of the words. Even though, we say that Mangani is a fictional language created by ERB, and used in the novels of Tarzan of the Apes, its words are based upon reasonable science. This is true from the point of view in that we could understand the work made by ERB, the way in that each word was made, its aspect, its connotation or its behave in the novel context.

Mangani is a complex language with a certain aspect of an African language that could be difficult to learn. It is like those languages of the world that has a special grammatical structure composed by combination of many words. Learning Mangani depends on the ability that you have for understanding the way it had been developed, instead of its apparent logic.

Mangani language is composed mainly by three kinds of words: adjectives, verbs and nouns. The rest of the words correspond to affixes which are divided in prefixes, infixes, interfixes, suffixes, etc. But we can understand easily this aspect of the semantic just looking at the figure which shows the etymologic structure of the Mangani language. 

Mangani structureFollowing with the research on the grammatical structure of language Mangani, semantics, syntax and grammar,  I have now produced this document on the phonetics of the Mangani words in order to complete the study with one of the most important parts of any language as is the pronunciation.

First we studied the phonemes -- or how to pronounce the few words that already existed. Based on this study we validated the possible pronunciation of other words and proposals in the Mangani Dictionary.

With the help of a TTS (text-to-speech) system, was reproduced the approximated way in that these words should be pronounced. It is true that we failed in to setup an appropriate tone for the rustic way in which the words must be pronounced and with the unique style of the lord of the jungle, but we are convinced that the move opens the door to developing new ideas for those interested in the Mangani language.

Of course I didn't want to use my own voice and any other for the samples, because personally, I think we need to investigate what is the correct accent of Tarzan -- which could be from England, America or Africa. The fact that Tarzan's parents were from England, consequently doesn't mean that he has to speak with an English accent. Another point of view is that he could listen to M'bonga's people, and by imitation that helped him to speak with a certain kind of accent, but I don't want to appeal to the speculations.

When it was observed in the various films and shorts (best sources: "Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle" (1976-1977); Disney's Tarzan and Jane (1999)), the words that make part of Mangani, are pronounced in such a way that would seem words of Spanish language, so we decided to observe this behavior which is considered an advantage for our research development. This further strengthens the hypothesis that Mangani arises from the mixture of Bantu in regions of the Spanish and Portuguese. Words like "Tarzan" are accented on the first syllable by Americans or British and at the end by Spanish-speaking or Latinos, but it is easily identified in either case.

Then we select the voice of a young man with American accent, because it was expecting a relaxed pronunciation without subjection to alter the tone or the frequency of expressions. One of the most important problems we encountered in the combination of the words written in the system, regarding its pronunciation is that there are words that the player voice could not express even with an English accent. The Mangani word "uan" has the same pronunciation of the English word "one", so we had to change the phonetic structure of many words to find their proper pronunciation.

As in Spanish, Mangani vowels consist of 5 letters, easy to learn. Here is a description of the pronunciation of these letters:

            A         (ah)      as in    Ball
           E         (eh)                 French
            I          (ee)                 Seem
           O         (oh)                Off
           U         (oo)                Moon

The vowel "i" has another pronunciation as in the word "time" or "find." It is used in the Mangani word "bi", which means "for". The rest of the letters are consonants, which are pronounced almost the same way as in English. In reference to this, Mangani has no "X" consonant.

We ought to look into other languages in order to find out if the words are pronounced in the correct way. A most striking example is the word "sabor", which is pronounced by the TTS system as "sai-bor", so we had to modify their pronunciation to "sah bor", which is consistent with the other words. We found audio-books using TTSs systems, so the pronunciation of words in the context of Mangani was not correctly treated, leaving the pronunciation to the decision of the TTS.

From the initial investigation of the Mangani grammar, we have taken up the examples that were submitted for consideration. These same examples serve to show us the pronunciation of expressions in Mangani. The first one correspond to the dialog between Tarzan an his ape friend called Barkak:

Mangani in present

Ape - Barkak- unk-wala, unk-Tarzan... Tarzan unk. Barkak go home, with Tarzan... Tarzan go?
Tarzan - Tarzan tand-unk wala... Tarzan unk-lul. Tarzan no go home... Tarzan go-water.
Ape - Tarzan rem pisah. Tarzan fish?
Tarzan - Tarzan tand-rem pisah... Tarzan lul-kor. Tarzan no fish....Tarzan swiming.
Ape -  Unk-yat, zu-horta-lu. Look!, big-Horta-fierce.
Tarzan - Yato-e. Where?
Ape - Gugu zu den, lufo gom-lul. In front of big tree, close to river.
Tarzan - Kreeg-horta, eho-da zutho. Danger Horta, force in big mouth.
Ape - Tarzan utor. Tarzan frightened?
Tarzan - Tand-utor. Horta bundolo-eta,.......Tarzan bundolo Horta. No, if  Horta try to attack, Tarzan will kill Horta.

Mangani in past

The next examples corresponds to the sentences in past. We said that in order to express sentences in past, we use some expressions before the whole phrase, giving the idea that the event had happened, but the rest of the sentence is in present time:

Ho-goro-rand, eho-kando-lu lana zee ul Tarzan. Tarzan balu-den bund ho-kando. Ga-b'yat kando.
Many nights ago, a lot of  fierce ants stung the leg of Tarzan. Tarzan with a stick killed many ants. They were red-head ants.

Ho-kudu-rand, Tarzan ry-balu-den etarad bundolo-eta sheeta. Meeta tand-bund sheeta.
Many suns ago, Tarzan with his bow and arrow, tried to kill sheeta, but Meeta avoided it.

Ho-a-rand, Tarzan b'wang gash yut-o un ul Bara. Bara bund.
Many days ago, Tarzan with knife in hand, stabs the loin of Bara. Bara died.

How to express it in Mangani

The many expresions that you could repeat in oder to understand the Mangani, are listed here:
t`akut-do bi-et (ka) ande-ah.
don't understand why (he) gone
ande`ta wala tro t`a.
left house through the night
(ka) adu uan gom ha wala.
lost (himself) when go home
der-eta knu-do uan yud.
want to know when come
(ka) amba ul den.
fall (himself) from the tree
der-eta da bi (ka) aro sopu ul yel.
need force to throw(you) fruit from here
knu-rem il hut sopu.
find-out who steel fruits
hane wob ara.
do that already
kewa are`ta Dum Dum.
must organize Dum Dum
t`aba-ah wob ul tarmangani.
not wish things of tarmangani
tarmangani unk tro pele.
tarmangani ir through valley
ho balana ande anfee ho ro.
bees let fertilize flowers
ho gani aba sopu bi po.
apes get fruit to eat
o kewa etarad trowee b`wang.
seems to have arrow through hand
get out!
kreeg ah!
you are right!
ben go utor!
t`unk, t`unk.
don't go, but stay! 
t`gogo, t`gogo.
don't speak, but shut up!
t`gogo, po.
don't speak, but eat! 
t`kewa sopu, zut-ul <kewa> ut. 
there's no fruit, but have grain
t`yud koho, zut ul bur yud. 
No hot, but cold be
wo wala yud zu.
this house be big
wo wala yud zu ag.
this house be bigger
wo wala yud zu ag et wob wala.
this nest be bigger than that one.
yud zuvo.
be strong
yud zuvo ag.
be stronger
yud zu.
be big
yud zu ag.
be bigger
o zuvo.
seems strong
o zuvo ag.
seems stronger
odo zuvo ag unk ... N´kima. 
seems stronger compared with...
yud zuvo o. . . N´kima.
be strong as...
yud zuvo ag et ...N´kima. 
be stronger than....
o ngoz-eta ag et . . . N´kima.
seem more worried than ...
kewa eho-hane o &hellip;Tarzan 
have much work as . . .
o kewa eho-hane
seems have much work
odo kewa eho-hane unk &hellip;N´kima.
seem have much work compared with. . .
tand odo kewa eho hane unk. . . N´kima.
no seem have much work compared with. . .
tor der eta unk, ande unk.
if beast want to go, let it go
ande unk tor et der eta unk.
let the beast go that want to go
ab knu-do hane, akut yud.
boy who study hard, intelligent be
il hane knu-do, yud akut.
who get along, be intelligent
eho a rand many days ago
eho a t`zut in many days (time) (ago-today)
eho a tro in many days (time) (ago-today-future), all the time
t`eho a rand few days ago 
t`eho a t`zut in few days (ago-today)
t`eho a tro in few days (ago-today-future)
t`eho t`a rand (t`eho goro rand few nights ago
t`eho t`a t`zut  in few nights (ago-today)
t`eho t`a tro in few nights (ago-today-future)

yud t´zut emo thub

"be no out of my heart"

Many movies in the world have used its own language and special names with the intention of making the story more interesting. We know that "Kerchak" is the "big boss gorilla" in the Disney Movies but in the ERB books is a Mangani, difficult specie to be understood by anthropologists, or let's say, by some readers. Names as Tublat, Terkoz, N'kima and Jad-bal-ja are unforgettable.

Another character is Kala, the tender and big mother who raised Tarzan, who had to save him many times from the paws (hands) of Kerchak. Once the writer has the characters, he has to think in another words which make part of the the natural story. These are the verbs, common nouns, adverbs, prepositions and adjectives, which constitute the variety of terms of communication among characters in the tale respect to the events.

The true is that my wife and I spent many hours at night thinking in the words of the Mangani Dictionary with the applied science to have a valuable document. We thought more in the writers or film makers instead of the common people. We don't know if people want to learn Mangani. I know that a writer or a film maker is not going to use all the words into his production but they could have this dictionary as a reference in some lines of a book or libretto.

One relevant aspect of the Mangani language complexity begins with the lack of words in past or future, because all the verbs are in infinitive way. It doesn't have personal pronouns and few conjunctions that we are not able to think instantly as in Spanish or English. Mangani is as a primitive language defined by its grammar and words in it, not for being an ancient language. It is a language of a short evolution which you can express any kind of situation and of course related with apes. Even for me it has not been easy to learn what I made.

I could have each word in my brain, but not linked as my native language, so the only way to speak it fast is thinking in Mangani, and that means read and read. Or just singing in Mangani, what could be funny. So I translated the Phil Collins Lyrics of the song "You'll be in my heart" what in Mangani is said "All the time not being out of my heart".

The song was translated into many languages of the world, and of course I have it in Mangani. I don't know if the song could be sung in Mangani, because the rustic sound of the words and sentences don´t match easily with the music, but I think an expert could make the difference. When we want to translate a sentence from Mangani to English, we have to think first what to say. For example, the title of the song "you will be in my heart", is a future phrase, not possible to be translated into Mangani. So you have to think in Mangani, word by word, the expression what you want to say. The sentence "Eho a tro" (in long time) is used to represent any situation that (just) happened, is happening or is going to happen. But it doesn't mean that the action depends indistinctly of the time in past, present or the future, but does of the three.

In the list below you will find the song in Mangani, but the second column has the idiomatic representation of the song lines in English (each word in bold) in order to understand easily, the way as they are said in Mangani. You can notice the Mangani column having fewer words than the corresponding lines in English.

Eho-a-tro, yud t´zut emo thub
All the time not be out of my heart
dando eto kree-gor
come stop your crying
wob yud van
that be good (It will be all right)
o-t´ja rem emo b´wang
just take my hand
rem-ah, unk da
hold with force(it tight)
ka-ja, eho-dan
I will protect you - always-
ul u rud
from all around you
yud yel
I will be here
don't you cry
bi obe o eta-ze
for one so small
o zuvo-ag
you seem so strong
emo jen-wang, ka-rem-ah
My arms will  -hug- hold you
ka-ja-eta, eta-koho-ze
keep you safe and, warm
wo jen wee boz
this bond (mix) between both
t´da-ah yud tub-ze
cannot be broken
yud yel
I will be here
don't you cry
bi et yud t´zut emo thub
because you will be in my heart
rak, yud t´zut emo thub
yes, you will be in my heart
ul wo a, eho-dan
from this day on (-always-)
ara, bi eho-dan, ag
now and forever more
yud t´zut emo thub
you will be in my heart
tand gree´ta et obe gogo
no matter what someone (they) say
yud t´zut emo thub, eho-dan
you will be in my heart, always

COPYRIGHT © Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and Walt Disney Music, All rights reserverd. Based upon the Phil Collins Lyrics,"You'll be in my heart" ~ All rights reserved. 

The living beings of the jungle

Here you have some animals which you can listen to their names with only clicking on the image. The Etymology of these words makes one of the most important aspects of the novels written by ERB. Let's take the word "Tar Man Gani" which we can translate as "White-Great-Ape", refering to human beings. So we decided to follow the same directive in order to respect the language created by ERB. Words as "Balana", "Gabusan", "Ga b'yat klu", "Gortar" and many others could make part of the stories of the jungle. Some names were created with only a single word which represents the animal´s name as "boof" and "kela", such as the names of "buto", "gimla", "klu", which has no roots etymologically.
Click to hear animal names 
Eagle Bee Orangutan Deer Gorilla Toad Fly
Bus so 
Rhinoceros Pig Hyena Hippopotamus Pangolin Bonobo Goat
Eta gani 
Eta Kalo 
Little Rat Large Monkey Ginea hen Chimpanzee Cocrodile
Eta pamba 
Ga b'yat klu 
Water buffalo Bullock Lizard Snake Termite Hornet Boar
Hare Gibbon Porcupine Cow Ant Gazelle Dik Dik
Hen Piranha Gnu Tortoise Mosquito Frog Cob
Turtle Duck Gull Great Ape Monkey Okapi Grasshopper
Bird Lion Chameleon Giraffe Heron Crane Mule
Zebra Rat Kangaroo rat Fish Escorpion Toucan Dromedary
Bedouin Lioness Secretary bird Leopard Cheetah Panther Vulture
Wild cat Lynx Rooster Elephant Baboon She Elephant Locust
Tan klu 
Owl Caterpillar Butterfly Stripped jackal Golden jackal Black loin jackal Gazella thompson
Umpa lowa 
Impala Bat Spider Ostrich Crab
Argos - Eagle.- Here there is an explicative note:

"To expedite Tarzan's transportation to and from Pal-ul-don, DuBois gave him many giant animal mounts. The giant eagles, Argus and Aguila were his air transports to many far-flung adventures." (source: Dell, Tarzan and Me : Tantor Trumpets - by Ken Webber).
Ed: See also Duane Adams' Reviews and Commentaries of the entire Tarzan Dell Comics series ~ starting at: ERBzine 0851

Here, "aguila" is a female noun in Spanish, translated to English as "eagle". Argos, corresponds in Greek to Argus, meaning "brilliant". I found that Argus-eyed means Extremely observant; vigilant.

* Balana - Bee - The contraction of the word bal-lana, meaning golden-sting.

Ehodankoro - Pangolin - This word has two meanings, "always-walking" or "hardness-walking".

Gabusan - Large Monkey - Particularly due to the red coloured organ of the large monkey.

Ga b'yat klu - Guinea hen - This kind of hen has a red comb.

Guram - Lizard - With the belly on the floor.

Hoseno - Hare - The particular movement of de hare with many jumps.

Howangani - Gibbon - It is referred to the long arms of this ape.

Hoyuto - Porcupine -It refers to the many sharp spines of the porcupine.

Kolana - Pirahna - The word Pirahna, Piraña o Piragna, comes from the combination "Fish-Dent" in Guaraní language, South America. Eventhough, people says that there is no Piragnas in Africa, I agree Tarzan saw a Citharinus in the rivers of Africa. You can see it at In Mangani means "mighty-pricking", "mighty-bite".

Luhoseno - Frog - or Lulhoseno, "hare of water", refers to the particular movement of de frog with many jumps.

Lulbara - Cob - The Cob is an antelope that seem a deer which is said lives in swamps or near rivers. It is called "aquatic antelope or waterbuck". I must say that a deer is not an antelope and it rarely is in water.

Motag - Okapi - "short-neck" - The opposite of giraffe (Motag).

Omlusremo - Chameleon -The trapping long tongue of this animal.

Omzeekoro - Heron, Crane - The long legs of this animal used to take off.

Pambaseno - Kangaroo rat - Tiny rat that jumps instead of walking.

Rylano - Scorpion - It refers to the curved sting of the scorpion.

Ryomtho - Toucan - The curved-beak of the toucan.

Ryzee - Bedouin - The way it walks, as bending-legs.

Sheebro - Secretary bird - The work of this bird, Reptile-hunter.

Torda - She-elephant - The female elephant, refered as "bestial-force".

Tumbu-nesen - Locust - It refers to the grasshopper which can fly.

* T'ayato, Tand-a-yato - Owl - The nocturnal bird which can see better at night.

Umpa-lowa - Butterfly - The wings of the caterpillar.

Yango - Bat - The bad called "rat with wings", this little mammal sleep hanged.

Zanzi - Spider - The shaggy legs of this bad called "insect".

Zuklugomo -Ostrich- The big hen that runs fast.

Zuyak - Crab - The crustacean with the big pincers.


This work is part of an investigation, as well as the dictionary proposed in previous erb-zines and hence could be subject to changes considered necessary in order to get the better result. The purpose of the whole job is to have a document in support of Tarzan novels. Suggestions or comments are welcome at:


This work was possible done thanks to Bill and Sue-On Hillman, Peter Coogan, Matthew Baugh, Brad Mengel.

My special thankfulness to my wife Adriana Garavito Rozo and Joanna Ramon M, for helping in this work .

Dictionary pdf
You can download the dictionary from:
Word text : .............English-Mangani:
Excel spreadsheet: ............................

Last production in PDF:.....................


Tarzan of the Apes. © by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation Inc.

From Bogota, Colombia
Just a Tarzan Fan
by Jairo Uparella
ERBzine 2114
Investigating Mangani
An Introduction
Prelude to the Mangani Project
ERBzine 2112
The Sounds of 
Spoken Mangani
by Jairo Uparella
ERBzine 2307
ERB Ape Language 
Mangani Dictionaries featuring
The Uparella Mangani Project
ERBzine 2113
Read the mail feedback on this series
Read the Mangani Poem: When the Mangani Cry (Tribute to ERB, JCB and Danton)
See the full Mangani Dictionary in PDF


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