Artificial Script YKTTW Discussion
When a work includes a fictional alphabet.
Found mainly in fantasy settings, this trope is about fictional scripts invented by the author. Sometimes, they are used as a fancy substitute for the letters in the work's original language, at other times, they come along with an entire Constructed Language/Fictionary. An aspect of World Building. Super Trope to Cypher Language. Compare Wing Dinglish.
Will go under Language Tropes.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica contains a number of inscriptions made in not one but three different runic scripts, which had to be deciphered by the fans, who discovered that the runes were used to write sentences in German.
- A parallel alphabet exists in Disney's Atlantis The Lost Empire. In fact, Milo Thatch deduces that no further evidence of Atlantis has ever been found because one glyph was mistaken for an "R", leading searchers to Ireland in vain. The glyph is rightly a "C", because Viking raiders routinely made port in Iceland, near the dormant fumarole which is the access point to Atlantis.note
- J. R. R. Tolkien is, if not the Trope Maker, then definitely the Trope Codifier for this one, as he had single-handedly developed several scripts (along with entire languages) for the peoples of his Legendarium. That he was a distinguished professor of linguistics has had a lot to do with this.
- The Klingons in Star Trek have their own language as well as a writing system◊.
- Circular Gallifreyan is the writing of Time Lords in Doctor Who.
- Babylon 5. The Minbari language◊ is used a number of times throughout the show. In one case they have a small joke; Vir is sent to be ambassador on Minbar and shows up later wearing a ceremonial welcoming robe which says on the front in Minbari writing "Aloha."
- Subverted by the "Maraglyphs" in Disneyland's Temple of the Forbidden Eye: the characters look like a con script but are actually highly stylized letters of the Latin alphabet.
- The Ultima series had the default Runic, Gargish, and Ophidian Alphabets. Its Spiritual Successor, the Shroud of the Avatar series has its own artificial runic script, as well.
- The Elder Scrolls series has the Daedric Alphabet, the Dragon Alphabet, the Dwemer Alphabet, and the Falmer Alphabet.
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker the Hylian language appears in text as a Artificial Script. In the second playthrough, Link can comprehend the Hylian language, or it becomes legible to the player at the very least. Or you can take the time to translate them yourself.
- Not an alphabet, but in Riven, you have to learn the base-25 D'ni numerals to solve some puzzles.
- The Ancient Language in Fire Emblem Tellius, spoken mostly by the Heron tribe, which uses a highly stylized writing. It's actually English in a font that's so fancy as to be unrecognizable. Translations can be found here and here.
- Commander Keen has an alien script but if you can translate it, the words are in English.
- For the various comics set in Overside, Evan Dahm created a number of different scripts and alphabets for the different societies. Some of them are just scribbles, but others are fully functional writing systems, such as Seen Script (from Rice Boy), Machine Script (mainly used in Order of Tales), and Sahta Script (from Vattu).
- In Paranatural, several ghosts and spirits speak in a script that's actually a modified Latin alphabet. Each letter is a rough trace of the negative space in the corresponding Latin letter, then the whole sentence is rotated 90 degrees.
- Futurama has an alien script which the writers threw in to amuse and bewilder their audience, but the script was solved fairly quickly. So the made up another whole alien script.
Will go under Language Tropes.