Hylian Language

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See also: Hylian Language Translations

Hylian is the main language used in Hyrule. When written, the characters are composed mostly of squarelike symbols and dots with a small amount of curved or diagonal lines, and changes slightly from game to game.


A Link to the Past

Hylian text as it appears in A Link to the Past
The first appearance of Hylian was written on various important rocks and pedestals in A Link to the Past. Unlike later examples of Hylian, this was just a repeated string of nonsensical symbols. While the Japanese versions used Egyptian hieroglyphs among them, they were removed from the English language versions. This was also the first time the series showed signs of linguistic evolution, as the Hylian language seen on these rocks and pedestals is seen by characters in this game as an ancient language that is not intelligible to them. The Book of Mudora, presumably a guide to ancient Hylian, is required to translate the ancient Hylian into messages that Link can understand.

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.

Ocarina of Time

In Ocarina of Time, the scripting appeared on places such as tombstones in Kakariko Village's Graveyard. No official translations or character sets had been released by Nintendo until the release of Hyrule Historia in 2011, though some fans had previously created versions themselves. The writing is simply Japanese hiragana and katakana, just written as a cipher with different symbols; as shown in the in-game and box art Hylian inscriptions. However, unlike these scripts, this alphabet lacks several characters like the small form kana (such as the equivalent ァ, ィ, ゥ, ェ and ォ in Katakana) and the chōonpu (一), limiting the full dexterity of the alphabet when emulating Japanese text.

This writing is also present in the land of Termina in Majora's Mask, suggesting that they use the same language as the Kingdom of Hyrule.


The Wind Waker

The Great Deku Tree speaks to Link in ancient Hylian in The Wind Waker
In The Wind Waker, the intro sequence has paintings with the language below it. Like A Link to the Past, The Wind Waker makes use of an archaic form of Hylian that short-lived, contemporary beings cannot understand. At various points in the game Valoo, the Great Deku Tree, and Jabun speak it to the King of Red Lions. Once the game is finished there is an option for a second quest; in this version of the game all Hylian speech is translated. In Japan, an explanation on the Hylian alphabet was printed on the back of the instruction manual, confirming that the language is actually written like Japanese, but using different symbols again as a cipher. This chart was again shown on Hyrule Historia.

This writing is also featured in Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks.


Twilight Princess

In Twilight Princess, the language is represented by an alphabet based directly upon the Latin one, and the Hylian language in the game is a cipher for English. The Wii version of the game has the symbols reversed, making translation somewhat more difficult.

The script used in The Wind Waker is used on tombstones in Kakariko Graveyard.

Most of the text in the game can be translated, but in much of the Hylian writing the L and R symbols are mixed up; for instance, "Lanaylu" written on the map of Hyrule, "Golon Mines" written on the Dungeon Map of Goron Mines, etc. This may have been caused by the L and R sounds being pronounced identically in Japanese.

The script used in Twilight Princess featured a different "X" and "Z" than the one shown in Hyrule Historia, which is shown here (Canonical GameCube version. Wii version is mirrored):


Skyward Sword

In Skyward Sword, Hylian is viewed in its most ancient form. Although no official alphabet translation has been released, a full and proven translation was compiled by a fan under the name of Sarinilli.

A Link Between Worlds

A Link Between Worlds uses a completely new script which is similar in appearance to that of Skyward Sword. Nintendo have released an official key which allows translation of the in-game text into English.

It is important to note that the same characters are used for D & G, F & R, J & T, E & W and O & Z.

ALBW Hylian Legend.jpg

The identity of "ancient" Hylian

Theory Warning hide

The unintelligible Hylian that appears in A Link to the Past is speculated by some fans to be the Hylian language as it was spoken during the era in which Ocarina of Time took place. According to the official timeline in Hyrule Historia however, Ocarina of Time directly predates A Link to the Past. As Skyward Sword takes place a considerable time before both eras, it is possible that the "ancient" Hylian referred to could in fact be from the Skyward Sword era.

See Also