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Took the words out of my mouth.

An "alien language" is represented as English with a weird font for the letters instead of the Latin alphabet. Many examples in comic books, some in video games, a few in sci-fi movies and TV (only when writing is seen on screen). Since this requires a visual (and lends itself particularly well to comic books), it can be considered a form of Painting the Medium.

A specific subtrope of Fictionary and Cypher Language. Black Speech might be displayed as this. Here is a great site about this. Compare with Foreign-Looking Font. Contrast with Conlang.

Click here to see how it's like reading in Wingdings.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon has Digicode, or Digimoji, a cypher of katakana and English used throughout the Digital World. It can be seen on signs, ruins, magic circles, evolution sequences, and even the Digimon themselves.
  • In Dragon Ball, the language spoken by Piccolo and Kami at the Budokai, later revealed in Z to be Namekian, was presented this way. Luckily, the word balloons also included a translation for us Earthlings.
  • Hunter × Hunter's written "language" is just a substitution cipher for Japanese kana. What's interesting is that the "a" sounds are all replaced with English letters rotated some degrees. note 
  • For alien letters, Lyrical Nanoha used English characters written forward then overlaid with the same English word written backwards and upside-down. Enough to look like an exotically unfamiliar font at a glance until you take a closer look.
  • Mysteria Friends uses partially-mirror-imaged capital Roman letters to produce a foreign-looking font by which its in-universe text, in English, is printed.
  • Pokémon: The Series eventually started using its own symbol-cipher of English for written text (rather than just using Japanese writing as had been done earlier) in order to make localization easier. There are several different variations used throughout the anime.
  • The runes in Puella Magi Madoka Magica are a sub for German. In the Spin-Off Puella Magi Kazumi Magica a witch speaks them aloud.
  • Shima Shima Tora no Shimajirō uses the PlayStation symbols (circle, cross, triangle and square) as substitution for letters and glyphs in the anime where smaller prints are concerned. Larger prints seems to bounce between the Latin alphabet, hiragana or larger, colored versions of the symbols depending on the level of accuracy required.
  • The font in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann substitutes for the Latin alphabet.
  • Urusei Yatsura:
    • Lum's mother didn't speak Japanese. Her alien language was represented by Mahjong tiles.
    • In another story, Lum got hit on the head and suffered Laser-Guided Amnesia that wiped out only her ability to speak Japanese. Her native tongue was represented by wingdings.

    Comic Books 
  • Three from The DCU: Interlac, Kryptonese, and Venusian.
    • Bonus points: since Kryptonese alphabet has been introduced, readers quickly noticed that Superman's S-shield is really a stylized version of the Kryptonese cipher for the letter S, blending traits from both alphabets (the Kryptonese cipher has an 8-like shape inscribed to the shield, like the familiar S).
    • Mr Mind's Venusian in Power Of Shazam! has since been used by other aliens, where it often turns out to be gibberish or actually say "Alien Speech".
  • Marvel does this with the Skrull language when it's left untranslated. Look for "He loves you" in Secret Invasion (2008).
  • Jonathan Hickman has created two in his Marvel work:
    • Builder Machine Code in The Avengers (Jonathan Hickman). Particularly notable when Iron Man mistranslates Nightmask as Blackveil; it's an understandable translation mistake, but the diagram on his computer screen makes it look more like a mistake in transliteration, as though he was actually trying to work out what English letters the symbols were equivalent to rather than the meaning of completely alien words.
    • The Krakoan language in X-Men (2019).
  • For the first 27 issues of the 2005 run of the Blue Beetle, scarab-speak is represented this way. It's mostly decipherable once given the code, however a fair amount of artistic license is taken with the letters, especially earlier in the comic's run, and based on Jaime's side of the conversation the scarab is actually saying a lot more than what is written. Conversely, Tiny Titans uses a straight substitution cipher for Blue Beetle's scarab, with a key at the end for readers to interpret.
  • In CrossGen's Sigil-verse comics, wingding-style fonts were typically used for speech in languages the viewpoint character didn't understand, and in some cases could be figured out by readers. However, some languages were instead written in plain English but enclosed in brackets to denote the alternate language, rendering them legible by the reader, or used legible fonts for gibberish words.
  • Used a lot by Marvel characters like Loki, in a font that looks like Elder Futhark, for casting spells. In Young Avengers, when he uses something that would translate to "rjerdwrbr" in Real Life Runes, he's actually saying "elsewhere," to take him, well, elsewhere. Here's the key.
  • Two tropes (this and Pardon My Klingon) for the price of one: "Planet Love" by Trina Robbins (appeared in National Lampoon, thus not very underground). The heroine says: "Wait until I get your <wongdong> in my <wingding>!"
  • In PS238, alien tongues are represented in strange font, one font per alien language, but are readable English when deciphered. Prospero's walls of text in his introductory chapter starts off with "If you can read this" and goes on with Monty Python quotes, a recipe, etc, to avoid heavy spoilers, but in the rest of the series, his utterings are often hilarious.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2010) has this occasionally such as on the Vartax detention facility.
  • The aliens in The Ultimates spoke English set in a Japanese (katakana) font.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire introduces us to the protagonist by showing him giving a presentation demonstrating that expeditions to find the book that says where Atlantis is failed because the only piece of evidence was mistranslated, and corrects the substitution cypher from "Coast of Ireland" to "Coast of Iceland." It's not as contrived as it sounds, since the corresponding Norse words really are one similar-looking rune apart: Ísland and Írland.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Cube Zero, the Cube computer systems and written orders (and Title Sequence) use both the latin alphabet and a strange alien one to display English. The characters can read both just fine, but we're given no explanation as to why this is so like a lot of other things in the series
  • In Dune (2021) and Dune: Part Two, all of the in-universe text that we see is written in an invented alphabet. The DVD Bonus Content of the first movie shows it to be a 1:1 match with the Latin alphabet.
  • The written Vogon language in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) was a real shorthand script, it looks alien while referencing the bureaucratic nature of the Vogons: a typographical Bilingual Bonus for the clerically-minded. Given the nature of Vogons, writing things quickly seems out of character for them; as a result, expanded material states that Vogon numbers would be written in unary (so that, for example, one thousand is one thousand tally marks).
  • The Self-Destruct Mechanism that the Predator sets off at the end of the first movie, and earlier in the second, has a digital countdown in alien numbers.
  • Strangely, even though many of the characters in Star Wars speak English, all computer consoles starting with Return of the Jedi, but later including the Special Editions of the previous two films show a made-up script called Aurebesh. The idea is that while the audience hears their own language, the characters are actually speaking a galactically common tongue referred to as "Basic" in the expanded media. Early uses of Aurebesh were gibberish, but a cypher was developed for the tabletop RPGs in the '90s, serving as the basis for later works.

  • Gnommish that appears on the covers and the bottoms of pages of the Artemis Fowl books is Wingdings English though it was extremely hard for Artemis to translate in universe.
    • Also, Centaurean.
  • Not a language as such, but in one of the The Dark Tower books Stephen King presents a Line of Eld symbol (think, "descendant of King Arthur" for a rough equivalent). It's the copyright symbol set in Windings.
  • Averted: James Gurney's Dinotopia picture books has a Cypher Language, not Wingdinglish, despite modern English being only several centuries old compared to the dino civilization of millions of years. Acceptable Break from Reality considering it was designed for children and their parents.
    • However, the Chandaran Transitional Alphabet is like this, English made to match Footprint letters.
  • The ancient language known by Golems in the Discworld novels Going Postal and Making Money is Wingdinglish based on the "angelic alphabet" created by John Dee.
  • A few of the Fighting Fantasy books have puzzles that involve working out which symbols represent which letters to read secret codes. Fangs of Fury, for example, has a prominent Wing Dinglish language which, among other things, is used to hide a puzzle-relevant name-that-must-not-be-uttered in plain sight in a recurring non-illustration image.
  • Somewhat subverted in The Lord of the Rings, it contains several inscriptions (most notably the title page and the writing on Balin's tomb) that, when deciphered, turns out to be phonetically written English. This is in fact part of the book's Translation Convention - Tolkien pretends that the whole book is really translated from an original Westron manuscript by himself, and includes the inscriptions.
    • The Cirth at the top of the title page reads "The Lord of the Rings, translated from the red book" while the Tengwar at the bottom continues, "of Westmarch by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Herein is set forth the history of the War of the Ring and the return of the King as seen by the Hobbits."
    • The map in The Hobbit also has an English text, but that uses real Anglo-Saxon runes, not Cirth.
    • On the other hand, some fans play this trope depressingly straight. Since Tengwar doesn't even have a one-to-one match with the Latin alphabet even in the orthographic mode for English (let alone for other modes in other languages), in most Tengwar fonts, the key you press doesn't correspond to the sound of the Tengwar character. So if you just download an "Elvish font" and type away, be assured all you'll get is gibberish.
  • In Myth Alliances, a native of the computer-obsessed dimension of Kobol greets some visitors by saying a smilie-symbol.
  • In 'The Ogre Downstairs', Diana Wynne Jones has some characters from Greek Legend speaking ancient Greek, that the characters don't understand. However the written text is English transliterated into the Greek alphabet, letting the readers know what the characters are saying.
  • While not examples of extraterrestrial alphabets, there are several Redwall books in which the heroes must decode some ancient writings that are the same as English, only the letters look just different enough to make them unrecognizable.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Babylon 5. A part of a court case is shown where a human is suing an alien because the alien's ancestor abducted his ancestor. The judge asks the defendant how he pleads. The alien responds by holding up a card with a symbol that does not exist in any human language. The judge curses his luck, and requests an interpreter.
  • In an episode of Community Abed writes unrecognizable symbols in his notebook, but when Troy asks him what language it is he shrugs and says "Probably Arabic." (It's not.)
  • "The Impossible Planet" in Doctor Who.
    • Also, Old High Gallifreyan in "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Five Doctors," and what can only be described as "Dalekese" on a display in "Remembrance of the Daleks."
    • In the new series, the various panels on Gallifreyan consoles (such as on the TARDIS) display circles with smaller circles and lines in them. They look like generic graphics, but are actually meant to be Gallifreyan text.
  • The Ancient language in Stargate SG-1 is faux-Latin with different characters instead of the Latin alphabet.

  • Coldplay's Music of the Spheres, there are 12 fictional planets, each representing one song on the album. Each planet has their own alien language. Before the album was announced, the language Kaotican was used to promote their single "Higher Power". The message was delivered via mysterious "Alien Radio" accounts on multiple platforms. When fans decoded the translation, it gave them the song title and release date of the single.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Phyrexian, one of Magic: The Gathering 's few conlangs, is an actually fully constructed language (albeit whose specifics are unreleased to the public). Despite this, some of the known samples are basically just English run through its bizarre script.

    Theme Parks 
  • Indiana Jones and The Temple of the Forbidden Eye has a supposedly "ancient" language written throughout the queue. It's a simple substitution alphabet. Originally, decoder cards were given out by cast members to help guests fight boredom in what was potentially a 5 hour wait.
    • In fact, careful examination of the glyphs reveals that the individual characters are just the letters of the English alphabet, highly stylized. With a little practice, you can read them without decoding.
  • In Tomorrowland, the photo kiosk and nearby restrooms at the exit of Space Mountain have signs in English and an "alien language", but if you compare the two, the latter is obviously just a substitution cipher for the former. Similarly, all signs near Stitch's Great Escape! are written like this, with the "alien language" for that ride being its affiliated franchise's Tantalog script.

  • BIONICLE used circular and later hexagonal characters, but the written language was mostly English. These were most often used to hide easter eggs in various media.

    Video Games 
  • Aquaria does this; clues are given on the opening screen, where the 'runic' alphabet is slowly replaced by the Latin one. Players who didn't want to translate the script could overwrite the graphics file for the runic text with the Latin variant, at the expense of immersion.
  • Bloons Tower Defense: The Monklish is actually English written in some strange symbols that is used in many places in the game, as well as being used to tease many stuffs for upcoming updates.
  • Bubble Bobble had this in the secret rooms.
    • The NES version of Bubble Bobble Part 2 had the word "Bonus" in this font in its Bonus Stages.
  • In Cap'n Magneto, the aliens' speech is written in a dingbat font if you don't have the Tricorder.
  • In Chicory: A Colorful Tale, the insects speak in "bug language", which is rendered in scribbles. Prunus can translate them for Pizza.
  • The Standard Galactic Alphabet in the Commander Keen games.
    • Also used in Minecraft for the enchanting table text, but it translates into a series of random words with no meaning.
  • The marker/unitology text from the Dead Space series.
  • The Mr. Saturns in EarthBound (1994) use this, along with several verbal tics. It should be noted that in this instance the typeface is recognizable as the Latin alphabet, and can be read, if slowly.
  • The Daedric script from The Elder Scrolls games. If you read it carefully, the words even look quite like English words.
  • Fez: The ancient writing can be deciphered. There are six shapes rotated four ways for a total of 24 glyphs, so it does not perfectly map to the English alphabet: "Q" and "V" are combined with "K" and "U" respectively.
  • Final Fantasy X uses an extremely stylized script in some places, such as the screen when choosing a destination for the Fahrenheit.
  • Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels have two different Wingdinglish scripts to represent different languages. The keys to the cyphers are given in the strategy guides.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has an "ancient script" represented by a flowing font with unrecognizable letters. It can be translated though, and the primary speakers of it (Leanne and Volug) actually say quite a few amusing things, mostly about the language barrier, when translated.
    Leanne (in a support conversation, translated): What did you say? Oh, dear, I guess I'll just smile and nod again.
  • The glyph tablets in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn appear to use this for the language of the ancients, but once you have the Glyph Book they're automatically translated. One fan tried to make a usable font of it, but couldn't find a Q-equivalent glyph in the game.
  • Old Ascalonian in Guild Wars and New Krytan in Guild Wars 2 are both examples of Wingdinglish, with different sets of glyphs.
  • Hack 'N' Slash: The magic hat, among other parts of the game, uses an unreadable font. It later turns out that the font was just misconfigured and the player can fix the error.
  • Hyper Light Drifter: The blocky, rectilinear glyphs can be decoded into English. The single-word signs outside shops are easy. The extensive text that covers the hidden monoliths is difficult but, if deciphered, reveals an Apocalyptic Log.
  • Hylian in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was a cipher for hiragana, while The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time used one for katakana. By The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, it was merely stylized Latin letters in English (though the mirroring used undermined this).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword uses one too, but the text isn't actually translated. It turns out everything with the ancient text just has the cipher in alphabetical order, though it's either incomplete or reuses symbols for multiple letters. Either way, it's unreadable.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild uses English as its basis like with Twilight Princess, which was integrated into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a Freeze-Frame Bonus: Those who have decrypted the Sheikah text in Breath of the Wild can use the same key in the Great Plateau Tower stage when glowing blue Sheikah text shows up to decode it as "SMASHBROS."
  • In Master of Magic, the names and descriptions of still-not-researched spells in the spell book are in English but written in unreadable "magical runes" font.
  • NieR: Automata uses the 16th century occult Celestial/Angelic Alphabet to disguise the names of bosses when they are first encountered, as well as in Runic Magic attack visuals in the Final Fantasy XIV crossover raid.
  • In Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, most of the written scripts in the game is made out of characters that is otherwise incomprehensible to the player. Roland has no problem understanding it though, probably part and parcel of the spell Doloran used to bring Roland to his world.
  • Pikmin 3: The Koppaites have their own language with text that shows up on various interfaces. The developers included the cipher in the game's data, allowing for a full translation. While a lot of the text is descriptors, there are some pieces that are developers' comments and a few that make no sense.
  • Pokémon:
    • The text in the Unown Ruins in Pokémon Gold and Silver falls under this. Technically, the Unown are just stylized versions of the English alphabet and some punctuation, but some of the Unown don't look particularly similar to the letters they represent. Interestingly, this would make the words in the Unown Pokédex Gratuitous English in the original Japanese.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire used braille for this (the player's guide had the translations in it). The only place it was used was in a puzzle to unlock some of the legendary Pokémon. FireRed and LeafGreen also used some braille during the Sevii Islands quest.
    • It was assumed the alphabet used in the series was kanji, but games like Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire clearly show they use a fictionalized language much like the anime. It's possible the characters are bilingual since some Japanese and English lettering (like Team Rocket's hat and scrolls) still exist.
  • Powerwash Simulator: The final location contains murals with text written in a foreign-looking script which can be transliterated to English. Decoding them reveals that their makers, the people of the ancient Pacifist civilization, were foretold of your career by time-traveling scientists. To fulfill the prophecy, they turned their palace into an offshore platform housing a volcano-quelling beam for use in the world's time of need. This proves handy as the volcano in question is on the verge of erupting by the time you arrive at the palace to clean it.
  • In Quake IV, the Strogg control panels are marked with odd looking letters that later on in the game (after the player character receives a neurocyte during his Stroggification) look like normal English alphabet (with the exception of the letter E, which, like in Quake II, is horizontally inverted).
  • Ratchet & Clank has this in the form of the Lombax language.
  • Rescue on Fractalus!: The low resolution makes it not immediately obvious, but the Jaggi lettering is English turned sideways.
  • The Sims:
    • Simlish from The Sims has a substitution cipher, too. It resembles Greek, and also uses astrological symbols and such. Enterprising modders have created a TrueType font for it.
    • In The Sims 2, TV programs and commercials clearly use the Wingdings font.
    • This is also noticeable in The Sims 4. Having a minor play Keyboard Commander is a great way to reveal part of the cypher used by the game, since the game will show the item and require the sim to type in the corresponding word. And you know something is fishy when cat and car also has three letters in written Simlish, just like they do in English, and the letters are also consistent. However, the Simlish in Sims 3 and later is different from that in previous titles: with more obscure symbols and more use of circles that make it look closer to Korean than Greek.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • A few games, such as Sonic Riders, depict nondescript text alongside English text.
    • To go with the Earth Drift, Sonic Forces introduces a blocky, shape-based alphabet seen in the background of the stages.
  • In Spiritfarer, signs are written in glyphs composed of dots and strokes for ease of localization, which are stand-ins for the Latin alphabet.
  • Splatoon and its sequels have multiple different fonts for its Conlang, one of which has been completely decoded, revealing that the shirt Jelfonzo wears on Tuesdays reads FUCK YOU. Yes, really.
  • The Junimo scroll in Stardew Valley is written this way, requiring you to seek out the Wizard to translate, and some Junimo speech bubbles use the same script as you fulfill their requests.
  • In Street Fighter X Tekken, Ogre's win-quotes are written this way to represent his alien language; which is slightly odd, since the same language is subtitled in English (or whatever the player's chosen language is) during certain cutscenes.
  • Super Mario:
    • In Super Mario RPG, Geno, an inanimate doll, is taken over by a star spirit who wants Mario's help to recover the lost pieces of Star Road. He introduces himself as "♥♪!?"note , but realizes it's hard for mortals to pronounce, and so asks to be called "Geno" after the doll.
    • The Shroob aliens in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time use a set of strange, unique glyphs. From the few lines of their language that are given translations near the end of the game, it's possible to puzzle out a couple of words that consistently appear in their "dialogue" (mainly "DESTROY").
  • In Tales of the Abyss, signs on shops and inns, as well as a subtitle under the name of any new area you enter, are written in a weird script with curly foreign letters. Said script can actually be downloaded as a typeface.
    • Similarly, any time you enter a new location for the first time in Tales of Vesperia, the location name has a subtitle written in the game's written language under it. Said language is actually stylized English with the letters rotated 90 degrees.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: In story mode, both Paprika and the Winter Sprite race as a whole can't really be understood by the other characters. The dialogue for the Sprites are rune-like symbols while Paprika "speaks" with her own version of Wingdings.
  • Ultima had a bunch of such scripts; even That Other Wiki has an article on them.
  • Undertale has some Dummied Out text written entirely in actual Wingdings, such as Entry 17, the one entry missing from the True Lab. These can be attributed to W. D. Gaster, who is possibly alluded to in the game itself by an NPC who says to "beware the man who speaks in hands", and by a blueprint in Sans's workshop that's written in "strange symbols", suggesting that the character speaks/writes in Wingdings.
  • In Unleash the Light, George speaks in an unintelligible language that's represented by pictograms, but Steven and the Gems still understand him.
  • In Wandersong, the language of spirits and Overseers appears as a sequence of random, colourful symbols. After the bard learns the language, the speech bubbles include the symbols behind the English text, to indicate that it's still the spirit language that is being spoken.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the start of alien turns is signified by an alien script appearing at the bottom of the screen, with each letter then translated into English. Each "alien" character appears to match up with a single Latin letter.
    • In XCOM2, the world has been taken over by the Aliens and all written text is written in the same alien script. With some concentration you can make out English translation of various advertisements and billboards.

    Visual Novels 

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Death Volley, the inscription on the plaque in front of the temple, translated from dwarf runes, reads: "This sphinx will shoot fucking laser eyes if you donat (sic) ..."
  • There was some kind of demonic ritual/summoning with this in And Shine Heaven Now. It transliterated to something like, "If you can read this you're a nerd."
  • The language of magic in Arthur, King of Time and Space is English written in Greek script. Translating the incantations reveals them to be appropriate lines from 20th century sources.
    • The same thing happens in Bar'd, but this time Vas is merely filtering his speech to sound more animal-friendly.
  • Used to represent various forms of Black Speech in Daughter of the Lilies on a few occasions:
    • The speech of the cannibalistic, atavistic cave elves is written like this.
    • The spell to bind a Drath happens to be a transliteration of Jesus's quotations from Luke 4:18 and Mark 14:62.
  • Ancient or otherwise arcane text (particularly Draconic speech) in Dominic Deegan is rendered this way.
    • Earlier, there's a strip of Luna and Dominic talking in mathematical symbols and formulas as they discuss mathematical theories and how they apply to magic.
  • clanBOB comic Grumble features this in all characters, sounds, sound effects, and titling. It's kinda the whole point.
  • Homestuck trolls' language is a reversed Daedric font. Which is unintentionally appropriate, considering how closely they resemble the Dremora from said games.
  • The Homestuck Fanfic A Complete Waste of Time has, in addition to Alternian Daedric, the Ithican script, which is very flowy and calligraphic. cT initially sets the entire Act 5 recap in it, before realizing the readers wanted a legible version.
  • Sorcerous incantations in Keychain of Creation consist of the spell's name (in English) written in Old Realm script.
  • In Leaving the Cradle, when shown from the human point of view, the aliens are speaking in... something.
  • In The Mansion of E, the pidgin language used between Ichyoids and English-equivalent speakers is depicted in this manner.
  • The Order of the Stick has Instant Runes in this strip The runes in the first panel reveal a secret message. The message? Bet you thought you had found a secret message in this didn't you?
  • In Parallax, the raiment's initialization messages are spoken in wingding‑Swedish looking like mathematical symbols.
  • In Roommates English written in runes represents the language of the magical beings. Der Erlkönig speaks this way mostly but his son can use it too (but mostly just swears in it). Odin also used the same alphabet but spoke in German.
  • Angelic language from Slightly Damned. Averted when two (or more) angels are speaking to each other, in which case the font simply changes from black to blue. Played straight when they speak to a non-angelic character or themselves, and 9 times out of 10, whatever they say in those scenarios ISN'T nice at all. Demons are also capable of speaking angelic, and the ones that do are especially dangerous.
  • Alien Santa and his assimilated elves in Sluggy Freelance used a glyph language similar to Predator.
  • The Racconan script from Tales of the Questor
  • Alpabe runes in Unicorn Jelly partially follow this trope, since they include a mixture of Latin, Greek and Hebrew characters (and possibly some other real-world alphabets).

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia uses one of these for its "ancient" or "native" writings. It is a straight one-to-one substitution for English, and, tellingly, leaves punctuation and numerals unchanged. This is strangely justified, as the amphibians speak English anyway. Also, it's intended to be solvable by children.
    • In the series finale, a partially solved translation chart is revealed (made by Sprig in-universe). It doesn't have the X or Z letters in it, because presumably he didn't find them (though the X did show up at one point in the show).
  • Futurama had two alien alphabets: One was one-for-one to English, and one was more complex.
    • The second was devised when the first one became "too easy".
  • There are lots of encoded messages in Gravity Falls, and while most are basic cryptograms, there are ones in an alien language. The Mystery of Gravity Falls fan site has a key to aid in the decoding process.
  • My Little Pony series as a whole tend to wobble between the English alphabet and Wingdinglish. Occasionally they'll have English words but at other times they'll have made up letters.
    • Friendship is Magic goes with script that looks just enough like the Latin alphabet that it parses as letters, but no so much that it's legible.
  • The Prometheus and Bob alien subtitles, which look like Crop Circles.
  • Ratchet & Clank has this for some of the Galactic Signs.
  • Used in the world of Storm Hawks. Sometimes, if you look closely and you know what it's supposed to say, you can make the connections between the symbols and the Latin letters they represent.
  • Transformers gives us Cybertronix. This was used to insert Easter Eggs or crude jokes; one sentence in Beast Machines said, "If you can read this, seek help." Beast Wars would at times even flash obscenities on screen.
    • There are even more fonts now - Autobot text and Decepticon graffiti.
    • There is also Maximal and Predacon true-type fonts.
    • And Aligned Continuity Cybertronian.

    Real Life 
  • The Trope Namer, naturally, is Wingdings. Instead of letters, it uses a variety of random symbols: ranging from hands to faces to normal objects. These were essentially proto-emoji, and indeed every glyph in Wingdings (and the related Webdings) has been given a corresponding proper emoji — leading to some accusations of Skewed Priorities as things like "Man in Suit Levitating" are made into emoji before (insert whatever here).
  • Certain Japanese characters look like other things if you squint really hard, like windowpanes or swords (Kanji were created from simplified drawings, and some resemblance remains). Ad execs there know this too, hence stuff like this and this.
    • And not even kana (well, just Katakana) are immune - The Japanese word for America (アメリカ) looks like the Hebrew word for Douchebag (מניאק) if you squint hard enough.
  • Similarly, computer-savvy Chinese teenagers use certain words (or word-like symbols) as emoticons.
  • Somewhat related is the fact that quite a few real-life languages use multiple scripts, either systematically like Japanese or depending on the speaker like Hindustani. Indeed, one of the most important ancient languages, Sanskrit, has no fixed script at all and can be correctly written (at the very least) in Brahmi, Devanagari, or Roman writing.
  • In English, we have the phonetic scripts of the Shavian alphabet and the Deseret alphabet.
  • There's are a few "Asian-esque" fonts out there that tattoo artists pass off as Japanese or Chinese "alphabet" that is really just completely gibberish wingdings. Probably what's on anyone who gets their name (or their mother's name) tattooed in Japanese or Chinese, or any word that takes exactly as many characters as it would in English, as these languages are logographic (one syllable per morpheme) or syllabic (one character per syllable). That's assuming they didn't just pick a random characters that looked good, use a "Blind Idiot" Translation, or have a tattoo artist that knows the language sneaking in a Bilingual Bonus.
  • Both Braille and Morse code are, in their simplest forms, a one-to-one match for the Latin alphabet and some punctuation marks. Practical use of either code, however, requires knowledge of many abbreviated forms and special signs.

Alternative Title(s): Fake Alphabet Language