Hylian Language

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See also: Hylian Language Translations

Hylian is the main language used in Hyrule. Throughout the Timeline, many forms and iterations of both written and spoken Hylian have appeared, sometimes being interwoven and revived across whole eras. There are presently six forms of Hylian confirmed to be used by the residents of the Kingdom of Hyrule, and many more languages used by other species as well.

Overview



First Hylian Script

Hylian text as it appears in A Link to the Past

The first iteration of Hylian text was written on various important rocks and pedestals in A Link to the Past. Unlike later Hylian scripts, this was just a repeated string of nonsensical symbols. The Book of Mudora, presumably a guide to ancient Hylian, is required to translate the ancient Hylian into messages that Link can understand.

The Japanese versions of A Link to the Past include Egyptian hieroglyphs among the letters, whereas English localizations of A Link to the Past removed them.

First Hylian Letters
NA version JP version
ALttP First Hylian Letter Sprite.png ALttP Second Hylian Letter Sprite.png ALttP Third Hylian Letter Sprite.png ALttP First JP Hylian Letter Sprite.png ALttP Second JP Hylian Letter Sprite.png ALttP Third JP Hylian Letter Sprite.png

Second Hylian Script

The second set of Hylian characters was introduced in Ocarina of Time and later appeared in Majora's Mask. The syllabary, where letters represent syllables, is a cipher of Japanese Kana, merging both Hiragana and Katakana. However, unlike these scripts, this syllabary lacks several characters like the small form Kana used in contracted monographs and digraphs (such as the equivalent ァ, ィ, ゥ, ェ and ォ in Katakana) as well as many punctuation marks, such as Chōonpu. Second Hylian also lacks any distinction for diacritical letters via Dakuten and Handakuten, limiting the full dexterity of the syllabary when emulating Japanese text.

Second Hylian appears all throughout Hyrule and Termina on signs and architecture.

Third Hylian Script

The third Hylian syllabary was introduced in The Wind Waker, later appearing in Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, also making a brief cameo in Twilight Princess. Like Second Hylian, Third Hylian is a cipher of Japanese, though with more characters to represent the diacritic monograph sets, Dakuten and Handakuten. However, Third Hylian lacks Yōon compatibility, as all letters are full form, lacking minuscule form diphthong lettering. For example, the Japanese きゃ (Kya) must instead be written as きや (Kiya) and interpreted as Yōon.

Chronologically, Third Hylian is used frequently throughout Hyrule by the Hylian people in the Force Era. It was inexplicably replaced by Second Hylian by the Era of the Hero of Time, but later came back in use during the Era without a Hero. In The Wind Waker, Third Hylian appears as an ancient spoken language dating back to the Era without a Hero. By the time of the Era of the Great Sea, contemporary beings are incapable of comprehending it, though the written form appears frequently throughout the Great Sea, indicating that the syllabary survived the spoken language accompanying it. Ancient beings, however, are capable of speaking it, as the Great Deku Tree accidentally slips into it when he confused Link for the Hero of Time. Valoo and Jabun also exclusively speak it, and certain Rito are appointed the role of attendant to the Sky Spirit, learning the ancient tongue in order to communicate with him. Third Hylian appears as a written text in the World of the Ocean King and is later carried over into New Hyrule by the settlers of the newfound kingdom.

Curiously, Third Hylian appears during the Era of Twilight on tombstones in Kakariko Graveyard. It later succeeds Fourth Hylian in the Era of Shadow.

Japanese copies of The Wind Waker included a key for translating Third Hylian on the back of the instruction manual, allowing dedicated players to decipher the text in-game. However, during The Wind Waker's Second Quest, all Hylian speech is translated, though Link still reacts as though he cannot understand. This key chart was again shown in Hyrule Historia.

Fourth Hylian Script

Fourth Hylian is a stylized cipher based on the Latin alphabet used in English. It appears predominately in Twilight Princess though it briefly appears in Skyward Sword as well. Fourth Hylian appears on signs and maps throughout Hyrule, albeit with a few lexical errors commonly surrounding Japanese transliteration of English text causing L and R to be used interchangeably. There is no letter casing for Fourth Hylian, as all letters are effectively majuscule. Additionally, the non-canonical Wii version of Twilight Princess mirrors the text.

In the Sky Era, Fourth Hylian is used on the box art as well as on walls in the Sealed Temple and Sky Keep.

Fourth Hylian Letters
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Fifth Hylian Script

Fifth Hylian is an alphabet appearing exclusively in Skyward Sword. Like Fourth Hylian, it is a cipher based on the Latin alphabet, though it is imperfect as some letters are duplicated. For example, D is identical to W, E is identical to K, G is identical to Q, I is identical to X, O is identical to Z and P is identical to T.

Although no official alphabet translation has been released, a full and proven translation was compiled by a fan under the name of Sarinilli.

Fifth Hylian Letters
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Sixth Hylian Script

The Sixth Hylian alphabet appearing in A Link Between Worlds is a modified form of Fifth Hylian; new characters have been included and and some letter values have changed. Like Fifth Hylian, it is also imperfect and duplicates letters: D is identical to G, E is identical to W, F is identical to R, J is identical to T and O is identical to Z.

Nintendo have released an official key which allows translation of the in-game text into English.[citation needed]
ALBW Hylian Legend.jpg

Other Scripts

Link's Awakening DX

While the Hylian language does not appear in any form, one of the pictures in the DX version curiously contains posters in plain English and Japanese. As Koholint Island is separate from Hyrule, this should not indicate an evolution of the Hylian language, though it has been derived from real life Japanese and English later on.

Breath of the Wild

Tick tock...

This article or section contains information about an unreleased video game.
It is likely to contain information of a speculative nature, and the content may change dramatically as more information becomes available.

Breath of the Wild uses a new script based on English. Symbols exist for all 26 English characters, of which 24 have been shown. This alphabet appears predominately on Sheikah architecture and artifacts, indicating that it may not be a form of Hylian in its own right.

BotW Hylian Language.png

Gallery

See Also