- See also: Hylian Language Translations
Hylian is the main language used in Hyrule.[name reference needed] 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.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Other Scripts
- 3 Non-Canon Appearances
- 4 Gallery
- 5 See Also
First Hylian Script
First Hylian, 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|
Second Hylian Script
Second Hylian 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.
|Syllabograms for Second Hylian|
|Monographs (Gojūon)||Digraphs (Yōon)|
|Uvular nasal||Full stop||Comma|
Third Hylian Script
Third Hylian, the third known 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 replaced by Second Hylian by the Era of the Hero of Time, but later came back in use during the Era without a Hero (this somewhat parallels how Romanian is a descendant of Latin, but used the Cyrillic alphabet before the 1800s, and then used the Latin alphabet its ancestor used). 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, most 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 (many real-world languages continued to be used in writing long after their extinction while their descendants were spoken, such as Latin or Classical Chinese). Ancient beings, however, are capable of speaking it, as the Great Deku Tree (the same being as the Deku Sprout from Ocarina of Time) 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. The fact that the King of Red Lions understands Valoo and Jabun while they speak ancient Hylian while never speaking the language himself indicates that the language already experienced a fundamental change before the Great Flood. 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.
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.
|Syllabograms for Third Hylian|
|Monographs (Gojūon)||Digraphs (Yōon)|
|Diacritics (Gojūon with (Han)dakuten)||Digraphs (Yōon with (Han)dakuten)|
|Uvular nasal||Chōonpu||Full stop||Comma||Exclamation mark||Question mark||Quotation marks|
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.
|Fourth Hylian Letters|
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|
Sixth Hylian Script
The Sixth Hylian alphabet appearing in A Link Between Worlds, Tri Force Heroes and Breath of the Wild is a modified form of Fifth Hylian; new characters have been included and some letter values have changed. Like Fifth Hylian, it is also imperfect and possesses 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.
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.