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WHAT IS HYLIAN?
Hylian is a series of five to seven writing scripts spanning eleven to twelve Zelda games released over a period of more than nineteen years. There is no canonical nomenclature for these scripts, and so they must be named by fans. Chief translator for Hyrule Historia, GlitterBerri, proposes this classification:
- Dark Hylian (ALttP)
- Time Hylian (OoTs, MM)
- Twilight Hylian (TP)
- Sky Hylian (SS)
- Wind Hylian (TWW, FSA, TMC, PH, ST)
- ALBW (This style is an edited version of SS Hylian which can translate to English, and Nintendo has officially released an alphabet key for translation use found here
The rationale for this division is that it agrees with common themes, timeline eras, and debut games of the Zelda series. Hylian can further be classified into three systems of writing: Dark Hylian is a logography, Time and Wind Hylian are syllabaries, and Twilight and Sky Hylian are transliterations.
WHICH DO I USE?
If you want your Hylian to be translatable to English, you shouldn't use Dark Hylian. If you're familiar with Japanese, the syllabaries (Time and Wind Hylian) are good choices. If you're unfamiliar with Japanese, the best choices are probably the transliterations (Twilight, A Link Between Worlds and Sky Hylian). Between these three, r/hylian recommends Twilight Hylian because it bijects, while Sky Hylian and ALBW Hylian surject, the English alphabet. This means that an English to Sky Hylian or ALBW translation is lossy. For a more intuitive explanation of this concept, consult with this picture of the Sky Hylian script.
There are two versions of Twilight Hylian: one for the GCN TP and one for the Wii TP. r/hylian recommends the GCN version for two reasons. First, Twilight Hylian in the GCN TP was the original intention of the game designer(s). In a last minute decision, the entire game of the Wii port was mirrored. Second, a side effect of this flip is that it makes the mirrored Twilight Hylian in the Wii TP an RTL script. People have in the past not realized this and have tattooed inaccurate Hylian on their bodies. If you're not sure in which to write, you should write in Twilight Hylian for the GCN TP.
- Submit Hylian-related content (pictures, questions, discussion).
- Use Reddiquette.
- If you criticize, do so constructively, not destructively.
It is permitted to post about other Zelda scripts, such as the Gerudo transliteration.
It is encouraged to add link flair to picture submissions to clarify which script you used.
To learn about the different versions of Hylian and how they work, read GlitterBerri's Writing Systems of Hyrule.
To learn about the in-game instances of Hylian and what they say, read Zelda Wiki's Hylian Language Translations.
Download Hylian and other Zelda fonts here.
Memrise: Learn how to write Twilight Hylian.