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    Reconstructed Hylian Language
    • Hello all,
      this forum is amazing, with so much activity and creative forces!

      I'd like to show an unusual fan work, which is a proposed reconstruction of the whole Hylian language.
      In the annexes it also contains an ancient form of "Classical Hylian", and explores the possibility of "Musical Hylian"...
      :scholar: :science:


      (Click on the picture to see the full introduction PDF.)

      The challenge is to develop a language in the frame of the samples already present in the games of The Legend of Zelda. The universe of the games contains a lot of names (characters, places, items, events, etc.) which serve as basis for the vocabulary of Hylian here. It would therefore be relatively easy to learn for a fan, already familiar with the world of Zelda.

      Here is the ad-hoc alphabet, based on that of Ocarina of Time, which was actually a syllabary for Japanese:


      (Click on the picture to get the TTF font.)
      "C" is pronounced like "Sh".

      In short, words are based on Roots, formed of 3 consonants. These Roots can be derived with vowels.
      For example: Zelda => ZLD, which can give :
      • Zolud: wisdom,
      • Zoldi: wise,
      • Zalod: sage,
      • Zilud: temple,
      • Ezoulud: to get wiser,
      • etc.
      Here is the word set for the 3 parts of the Triforce:


      Here is the set of words for various cycles (life, process, day, seasons, etc.)


      Here is the set of words about the process from the beginning to the end, as opposed to the cyclical movement above.


      And here is a text sample:



      I'm looking forward to your feedback and recommendations, as myself I dive into your creations!

      :artist: :artist: :artist:

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Kaeporah ().

    • Thank you so much @Holden and @Diego! Your encouragements are hitting straight to my heart! :waggle: :DD
      I've actually been heavily obsessed by this project, which grew up surprisingly fast (especially the 300 words i got the first day..)

      I'm loosely in touch with Sarinilli and Kasuto of Kataan to get synergy with their own language projects, but they seem to be less active here, right?

      Regarding the canonical aspect, i'm not sure there is such thing as a whole fully formed Hylian language out there in Kyoto... I'm afraid, like us, they are now trying to harmonize the words and fragments present in the past episodes to actually create a language.
      Actually, i'm about to send my project to Nintendo (although not yet complete), in case they'd still be open to incorporate some ideas. My work in is published under the license "creative common attribution", so they could use it for commercial purpose.
    • ZeldaHistorian wrote:

      Wow, this is awesome! I love how there's a lot of influence from Latin - I took several years of it in school, and see it especially in the conjugation.

      Thanks! For the language as a whole, i'd say it compares a bit to Hebrew because of the 3-consonant roots, but in a much simpler and regular version.

      And for the conjugation, i'd say it's mostly Esperanto, which is both super simple and powerful! Verbs only show the time and mood, no effect of the person (I, you, he, etc.) or number (plural, singular, etc.).

      One particular and handy thing is that any noun (any!) can give a verb and be conjugated.
      Take... Kabol: the postman (from Coboli), you can make kaobul: "to do the postman". And you can nicely say: Ti ren ekaobil nio: "I had her do the postman just now" !
    • Wow, this looks very well thought out and meticulously crafted. I'll admit that I didn't understand a lot of the technical terms at first, though your explanations were pretty good. I'll try to give the best critique I can, because this deserves a lot of attention, though forgive me if I'm weak on the technical aspect.

      I guess overall, I love the conventions of the language and see an amazing potential for language building by these rules. Sounding it out, the sentences formed actually have a good sound and cadence.

      Am I right in thinking that you distinguished between Classical and Modern Hylian in order to justify the switch between the various games' Japanese-based forms (OoT, WW) and Latin-based forms (SS, TP, LBW) of Hylian?

      For the purposes of understanding the world in which this language would exist, do you assume that separate contemporary languages exist? For example, we know that the Gerudo have a Latin-based script by the era of Ocarina of Time, when the Hylians had a Japanese-based script. Clearly the Oocca have a different language with a separate script. Conceivably the Zora and the Gorons might have another language, though we never see it spoken or written, so that might be doubtful. In your mind, what other languages should we be aware of? The reason to know such a thing would be to avoid using words from a non-Hylian language to build the Hylian lexicon.

      My only criticisms are generally with the names chosen to associate with certain concepts. I could probably write forever on it, but ultimately I'd rather just ask. Without explanations, choices can tend to seem arbitrary, so I'm curious to know your thoughts. The ones that confuse me most are the names you chose for the "Cardinal Cycle".

      By the way, I absolutely adore the idea of Musical Hylian. What a wonderful combination of linguistics and music theory.

      Post by Moe ().

      This post was deleted by the author themselves: Sub a rub dub ().
    • The White Maiden wrote:

      I guess overall, I love the conventions of the language and see an amazing potential for language building by these rules. Sounding it out, the sentences formed actually have a good sound and cadence.
      Huge thanks, you make me feel fantastic ! :DD :DD

      The White Maiden wrote:

      Am I right in thinking that you distinguished between Classical and Modern Hylian in order to justify the switch between the various games' Japanese-based forms (OoT, WW) and Latin-based forms (SS, TP, LBW) of Hylian?
      Well not really.. They actually represent 2 stages of a same language, just like we had "Classical Greek" used during Antiquity and Modern Greek nowadays. I don't use the texts which were Japanese or English, since they have nothing to do with Hylian. They are simply other languages written in a Hylian script. The switch from Classical to Modern Hylian is heavier than simply Kana-sillabary to Latin-alphabet, since in Classical Hylian they didn't explicitly write the pronunciation. I've added a page in my tutorial (page 40) to explain more clearly.

      The White Maiden wrote:

      For the purposes of understanding the world in which this language would exist, do you assume that separate contemporary languages exist? For example, we know that the Gerudo have a Latin-based script by the era of Ocarina of Time, when the Hylians had a Japanese-based script. Clearly the Oocca have a different language with a separate script. Conceivably the Zora and the Gorons might have another language, though we never see it spoken or written, so that might be doubtful. In your mind, what other languages should we be aware of? The reason to know such a thing would be to avoid using words from a non-Hylian language to build the Hylian lexicon.
      It's totally open, and most probable. We could imagine that parallel languages influence each others despite fundamental differences of structure (like Arabic and Spanish). In this project, i've assumed that all names are valid a Hylian words. Some might be shared across languages (e.g. Zorah being the Zoran word for "water")

      The White Maiden wrote:

      Without explanations, choices can tend to seem arbitrary, so I'm curious to know your thoughts. The ones that confuse me most are the names you chose for the "Cardinal Cycle".
      Aaaah ! That's an exciting language creation. It's not only from or for Zelda, but it's meant to be a universal piece of vocabulary system for civilizations of the Earth in northern hemisphere.
      The key idea is to link position of the sun in the sky with moments of the day. That gives a correspondence between cardinal points (east, south, west, north) and time (morning, noon, evening, midnight). Then we can link further with seasons, stages of life, and stages of any process (start, continue, end, rest)
      Introducing celestial bodies (start, sun, moon, etc.) is maybe going to far, let me know! Maybe just phases of the moon? (rising, full, waning, new) That could lead us to give specific names of week in the month. Hylian months would be lunar, with 4 weeks of 7 days, names after the 4 phases of the moon!

      Now, the selected Hylian names for the "Cardinal cycle" are:
      • KKR: Kokiri for the idea of childhood, and the sound of the rooster at dawn "Cocorico" or "Kikeriki"
      • RDN: Ordona, because it's a light spirit (= noon, day) which is not already a Triforce goddess in TP. (Faron, Lanayru, Eldin)
      • TWL: Twili, because of the connection with "Twilight"
      • MDN: Midna, for the connection with "Midnight"
      Besides this quite Asian concept of eternal cycles, i also add a "Terminal path" to introduce the ideas of movement from a primal origin to an ultimate end. That is: "Origin, Flow, Destination."
      • SMR: Somaria, the cane that create new things out of nothing
      • LKM: Lokomo, the mean of transportation (locomotion...) from A to B.
      • TRM: Termina, for the connection with "terminal".
      And then a third set which gives a static setup of Above-Middle-Below, or Great-Average-Small, the "Ordinal setup"
      • DLT: Daltus, who is a tall king
      • HRN: Horon, which is a central city
      • MNSh: Minish, which embodies smallness

      The White Maiden wrote:

      By the way, I absolutely adore the idea of Musical Hylian. What a wonderful combination of linguistics and music theory.
      Ha ha thanks, music is also one of my big passions, so i had to marry these 2!
    • Ah! I see what you mean, thank you for explaining. I was unaware of the history of the Greek language! (I think I can be forgiven for that, hah.) I suppose I'm still wondering how you justify not only the presence of four separate scripts, but the necessary difference between them (at least in terms of the number of characters) given their different bases. Further complicating this is the timeline, which shows something like...
      ........................................................................................................SS Hylian (in LBW)
      SS Hylian (in SS) -> OoT Hylian (in OoT and MM) -> WW and TP Hylian (in TP)
      ........................................................................................................WW Hylian (in WW)

      So are you just ignoring the presence of the other scripts entirely, or imagining that they are different ways of writing the same language? How could they conform to the same language, though, with completely different alphabets?

      I suppose what I was struggling to do was imagine the implications of this lexicon from a cultural standpoint. Creating a lexicon using associative reasoning from existing names in the series is a great idea, for the reason you mentioned: it will be far more intuitive to fans that way, and will also be more believable in general within the context.

      Still, if we're using these names to form word roots, then from an in-universe perspective we have to assume the reverse: these word roots were the reason behind the names. So as I look, I am questioning how much each meaning makes sense when directly applied to the name as a literal translation. I guess I'm just wrapping my brain around the in-universe implications. Some, like Ganondorf, obviously work very well. Others I have to think about a little.

      The relevance of doing this would be to recognize additional grammar patterns based on what type of name it is: personal name, family name, name of a race of people, etc. For example, if Zorah comes from the root for Water, and Sheikah is also the name of a race of people, might it be cogent to assume that the suffix -Ah carries the meaning "People of..." for example, "The Water People" or "The Shadow People" (if "Sheik" carried a root meaning "Shadow".)

      Another recurring suffix in the series is -On: Ganon, Goron, Horon, Keaton, Ordon, Malon, Talon, Sakon. Could it have some meaning, in the context of a name? For example, "Child of... Ord/Mal/Tal/Sak/Gan?"

      Speaking of, do you have any method of incorporating or dealing with names from the series which might be useful but do not contain the three-consonant pattern? I see that you must, but I'm confused about it.

      That aside, as far as suggestions (feel free to reject these, I'm not that sensitive):
      Madun = darkness (as a singular thing; like a void; being devoid of all light, notably celestial light)
      Maduni = dark (descriptive verb)
      Tarom = destroyer, ender (works better here than "driver", I think)

      The word "stal" is usually attached to undead things, especially skeletal things, so perhaps "STL" could be the root for "bone".

      "Blin" (BLN) is the suffix for a certain race of monsters, so perhaps it's meaning could be simply "Monster", "Monstrous", "Corrupted", etc.

      Also, Hyrule is a country and a nation, but is not the whole world. A couple of quotes and the very existence of Holodrum and Labrynna prove this. Perhaps using this particular word to mean "world" or "wholeness" isn't quite right?

      The post was edited 3 times, last by The White Maiden ().

    • Thanks a lot for all this, @The White Maiden !

      I'm actually moving out from my house and about to fly back to France on Saturday, so i might take few days to reply to all your inputs..

      Tarom = the destroyer, ender, I love it !
      Madun = the empty dark sky, darkness, yes !

      BLN, STL, there are good discussions about this on Hylian Language?
      So far i stick to what Zelda Wiki says in their Glossary.

      more answers coming soon!
    • Hi 'Dave'!
      Makar has the root "MKR", which translates so far the idea of Frivolity, based on the character's personality. This is in line with the general rule whereby roots starting with M have an idea of confusion or defect.
      It gives Mokri: frivolous, and Moukur: to take lightly, etc.
    • Here is (at last!) my full reply to your deep and passionate message!
      Sorry for the delay, i've been ridiculously distracted by dozens of stuffs.. :glare:

      The White Maiden wrote:

      Ah! I see what you mean, thank you for explaining. I was unaware of the history of the Greek language! (I think I can be forgiven for that, hah.) I suppose I'm still wondering how you justify not only the presence of four separate scripts, but the necessary difference between them (at least in terms of the number of characters) given their different bases. Further complicating this is the timeline, which shows something like...
      ........................................................................................................SS Hylian (in LBW)
      SS Hylian (in SS) -> OoT Hylian (in OoT and MM) -> WW and TP Hylian (in TP)
      ........................................................................................................WW Hylian (in WW)

      So are you just ignoring the presence of the other scripts entirely, or imagining that they are different ways of writing the same language? How could they conform to the same language, though, with completely different alphabets?

      Ignoring these scripts would be a bit harsh, but clearly we can’t assume they write a same language because we know they don’t! Behind the sillabaries (OoT, MM, WW..) there is Japanese and behind the alphabets (TP, SS) there is English. The scripts of WW, TP, and SS are even simply stylized katakana and latin!
      For these 3, I prefer not to integrate them into the script proposal. Even the OoT script is only a sillabary, meaning that it is fit for Japanese mostly, if not only. Besides, it shows no construction logic, just like Hiragana stemmed from Kanji with no transversal logic: similar sounds fail to show similar graphical aspect. Here, what I used for my proposal is the graphic design of OoT, to which I added strong construction logic.

      I also added apparently unnecessary sounds (Ng, Kh, Gh, Th, Dh) but which are present for the sake of symmetry, and could be useful as they sound quite Tolkienesque! :ironic:

      The White Maiden wrote:

      I suppose what I was struggling to do was imagine the implications of this lexicon from a cultural standpoint. Creating a lexicon using associative reasoning from existing names in the series is a great idea, for the reason you mentioned: it will be far more intuitive to fans that way, and will also be more believable in general within the context.

      Still, if we're using these names to form word roots, then from an in-universe perspective we have to assume the reverse: these word roots were the reason behind the names. So as I look, I am questioning how much each meaning makes sense when directly applied to the name as a literal translation. I guess I'm just wrapping my brain around the in-universe implications. Some, like Ganondorf, obviously work very well. Others I have to think about a little.

      I’ve responded about this in the other thread: “I understand the doubts about linking a character's name to its personality, but considering the stories of Zelda like legends and mythologies, we can compare them to the Greek mythology where Helios, Selene, Eros, Psyche and Nike were both characters and concepts or items. In Indian mythology: Ayodhia the peaceful city, Matsya the fish, and Narasimha the lion-man are other examples.”


      The White Maiden wrote:

      The relevance of doing this would be to recognize additional grammar patterns based on what type of name it is: personal name, family name, name of a race of people, etc. For example, if Zorah comes from the root for Water, and Sheikah is also the name of a race of people, might it be cogent to assume that the suffix -Ah carries the meaning "People of..." for example, "The Water People" or "The Shadow People" (if "Sheik" carried a root meaning "Shadow".)

      Another recurring suffix in the series is -On: Ganon, Goron, Horon, Keaton, Ordon, Malon, Talon, Sakon. Could it have some meaning, in the context of a name? For example, "Child of... Ord/Mal/Tal/Sak/Gan?"

      Actually the –Ah a the end of Zora is just added by me in order to have 3 consonants. I have to do this for some words which are too short. The –On pattern is indeed very popular, but considering that the N is part of a consonant root, it can’t be moved around like in our European flexional languages. (e.g. –ation of “creation” and “publication”, denoting a “process”)

      Having said that, I’m now introducing few prefixes in order to decline further the meanings. (e.g. Gu- as equivalent of our De- as in decrease or deconstruct). I’ve added chapter 5.8 in the PDF.
      Tag - Hylian - Notes de Voyage

      The White Maiden wrote:

      Speaking of, do you have any method of incorporating or dealing with names from the series which might be useful but do not contain the three-consonant pattern? I see that you must, but I'm confused about it.

      I’ve done so for a few (Zora, Tael, Din, Rauru, etc. ) for which I’ve introduced extra hidden letters to get to 3: ZoraH, TaYel, DinN, RaWru. When the word is too long, I can either split (like Ganon-Dorf) or identify prefixes (like La-brynna, or Ho-Lo-Drum).


      The White Maiden wrote:

      That aside, as far as suggestions (feel free to reject these, I'm not that sensitive):
      Madun = darkness (as a singular thing; like a void; being devoid of all light, notably celestial light)
      Maduni = dark (descriptive verb)
      Tarom = destroyer, ender (works better here than "driver", I think)

      All good, included! :cheers:

      The White Maiden wrote:

      The word "stal" is usually attached to undead things, especially skeletal things, so perhaps "STL" could be the root for "bone".

      "Blin" (BLN) is the suffix for a certain race of monsters, so perhaps it's meaning could be simply "Monster", "Monstrous", "Corrupted", etc.

      Agreed for STAL! I extended the idea of bone to any kind of structure and, foundation and base.BLN for monster would be annoying since there seems to be a trend for positive bold themes on letter B: Borlov the entrepreneur, Bremen mask for leaders, Baito for seriousness, Basht for sincerity, and Boko for life.
      Making connections with the above, maybe we can see it as “a rogue, independent (Borlov) and free (Basht) form of life (boko): BLIN could be... a “Mob”?
      Since BLIN is probably from "Goblin", it also matches their industrious and wild personality!

      The White Maiden wrote:

      Also, Hyrule is a country and a nation, but is not the whole world. A couple of quotes and the very existence of Holodrum and Labrynna prove this. Perhaps using this particular word to mean "world" or "wholeness" isn't quite right?

      Uh yep, that looks like a tough geographical fact! …well maybe from a Hylian perspective, back then when they couldn’t see farther than their boundaries, it still holds, no?
      Ok ;) ideally we should fine the word for world or whole. Let’s go hunting the Zelda Wiki!

      Post by Celairel ().

      This post was deleted by the author themselves ().
    • Hello Celairel !
      Thank you so much for this detailed and sharp review, including the criticism which is my key driver to improvement.
      I've seen your message the minute you posted it, and i've been struggling to find time writing back to you...

      I promise to to give you a longer feedback this week.
      For the time being, i'd like to point you at the chapter about prefixes (chap 5.8), whose meaning are inferred from relatively consistent match between initial consonant and name connotation. That is the way i introduced a bit of our familiar logic of short agglutinated roots. (you discussed Ru, Nay, Nab, Rau) However i believe that the originality of Hylian would be to use triliterals as roots, which seems to be a consistent feature in over 80% of in-game names. It's exotic but why not ;)

      It finds also potential evidences when comparing words like Marin & Tarin (MRN & TRN) and their counterpart Malon & Talon (MLN & TLN). That reminds the Japanese confusion between R and L.
      Besides*, the English version talks about Ordona, while others give Latoan. But comparing triliterals gives RDN ~ LTN, much more similar, and switching them: Oltona and Radoan. Maybe T and D are to be interchangeable following the voice/mute aspect of the vowel environment?

      If Lonk sounds rubbish (and yes it does! Especially with the meme you showed me), we can make it Lonuk, since U plays the role of neutral vowel.

      More comments soon ! Thanks again ;)

      * discussed here : Hylian Language

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Kaeporah ().

      Post by Ernil ().

      This post was deleted by the author themselves ().

      Post by Ernil ().

      This post was deleted by the author themselves ().