So, as I mentioned on my Twitter tonight, I’m playing through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time again. Best game ever. Well, okay, maybe not ever, but it is my favorite game from my childhood. In fact, it was really my first introduction to a real, story-driven-type-video-game as a kid. Because I’m such a language geek (as witnessed here and here), I am drawn to the languages, syllabaries, and ciphers used in most media, video games included. In Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, they use Old Hylian which is a syllabary based on Japanese units of sound. An example of a written phrase in Old Hylian can be seen here:

It roughly says: Eru. Emu. Sharuwen Unashinku Wotsu (L.M. Sherwin Unearthing Words). Because Old Hylian is based off of Japanese syllables, it doesn’t directly translate to English, so you have to get creative with cross-over pronunciations if you want to write English words in Old Hylian. 🙂

Similarly, Modern Hylian (used in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) is based off of Japanese syllables. Example below:

This one roughly says: Eru. Emu. Shiruwane Unashingu Wotsu (L.M. Sherwin Unearthing Words.) Again, because you are taking an Engish phrase and putting it into a Japanese syllabary AND then a Japanese cipher, things are bound to sound weird.

It is MUCH easier to use a straight letter//syllable to letter//syllable cipher. If you speak and write in English, the Hylian alphabet used in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a great choice. This cipher was based on the English alphabet, so it makes it easy for us English speakers//writers to jot down fun things. An example is:

This one simply says: L.M. Sherwin Unearthing Words. *Whew* A little easier to translate than trying to find the appropriate Japanese sounds for English words. 🙂 I may have gotten some of the letters reversed, because looking at the page with the cipher was a bit confusing for my poor brain, LOL. I apologize for any inconsistencies in that. 🙂

Making your own ciphers is easy as pie and SUPER fun. When I was a kid, I created my first cipher. I was in third grade and I STILL use it. I called it “Eltic” and I used it for secret notes, my writing, and just for fun. I memorized it and have continued to use it for jotting down secret thoughts and notes for myself. I do not have it pictured here, because it is the nearest and dearest to my heart. There are two versions of Eltic: “Old” and “Modern”. Old Eltic is more prone to quick handwriting and Modern Eltic is more geometric and block-looking.

To create a cipher, simply line one side of your loose leaf paper (or plain paper) top to bottom with the alphabet or syllabary your language uses. Next to these letters//characters, draw your own symbols. Then, write with it! Easy as that. 🙂

To prove how fun and easy it is, I created this cipher tonight in about five minutes. I think it’s rather pretty, don’t you?

Happy Sunday! Enjoy my geekery! ZELDA FANS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!!

Random Geekery: Hylian Syllabaries and Ciphers
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