Before reading this article, it is highly recommended to watch the trailers for Tears of the Kingdom.
When the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild released for the Nintendo Switch in 2017, like its predecessors, the game featured the use of the Hylian language, but with some significant differences. To match the post-kingdom theme of BotW, cryptic Hylian texts were scattered across ancient ruins, monuments, and tablets of Hyrule. Word-sleuths discovered new clues through transliterations of the language to solve puzzles and even revealed some of the game’s backstory.
The Hylian language in BotW features two different scripts. The first script is like the Hylian script used in previous games and consists of various symbols that represent letters and numbers. The second script, called the Sheikah script, is a unique form of Hylian language that features different symbols and is associated with the ancient Sheikah tribe. Sheikah script is used extensively throughout the game, with many of the game’s puzzles rewarding players understanding of the Sheikah script. The script uses distinctively block shaped letters compared to previous scripts and is typically glowing blue.
As the hype continues to build for the upcoming entry, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a new language may have been teased throughout the trailers. We have extensively reviewed the trailers, and compiled with our best guess of what it all could mean!
In the first official trailer of Tears of the Kingdom, a cryptic looking set of 19-20 markings is displayed on the leftside of an ancient looking being. There are also several glyph looking orbs floating around the being.
On the far left of the hieroglyphic wall we can assume this character is Zelda. There is also another being on the right, but it is unclear who or what that could be. On cross reference, each of these instances indicates this is possibly an alphabetized language and contain different symbols than either iteration of the Hylian Script. Some fans think this might be the Zonai, an ancient magic weilding race who lived in the Faron Woods.
Although not immediately important, a very cryptic image ends the trailer as the brand is revealed of what appears to be bright green dragons eating themselves. This image has mythological significance as it depicts the ouroboros:
Typically, ouroboros is depicted as a singular snake, the dueling ouroboros may have significant thematic implications.
Featuring the powerful voice of Matt Mercer, the second trailer contains several linguistic teases and secrets.
Using the transliteration guide for Sheikah, it appears Link has transported into some sort of trap, as he is greeted by grabbing claws. We can expect to see Sheikah in this game as it was in BotW.
Although Link might be mid flip, we might be seeing a first look at the new language! Across the reanimated blocks, a mirrored green script seems to be glowing.
The text shows up again as we found out from the gameplay reveal because of Link’s new power to move objects and shapes around and attach them together to make vehicles. It’s significant to note that whenever the language appears, it does so as if it were a palindrome, a theme that refects the entire branding of the game and the dual ouroboros.
The question becomes, WHO is Zelda asking to lend power from to Link at the end of this trailer. Perhaps this new language belongs to an undisclosed race? And throughout the first two trailers we see link with some sort of biomechanical/magic arm. What the heck happens in the opening of this game!?
Whatever Zelda is holding in her hands, it matches the stylings of the alphabet from the hieroglphyic wall in the first trailer and is missing half of itself a noteable break from the mirror themeatics in the symbols. Moreover, the reveals in this trailer match the prophetic fortellings of the hieroglphys: Zelda is somehow lost to the darkness, she is raised into a new being, and transformed so that she can “do something only I can do.”
Perhaps Ganondorf and Link are dueling dragons and Zelda is the one who becomes the true catalyst of peace? This would certainly set up the Triforce in a sad but beautiful way. This new language mirrors itself, and seeing the mirror shield in action along with Link’s new powers create more questions than conclusions.
In addition to Breath of the Wild, the Hylian language is also featured in other games in the Legend of Zelda series, including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. In Twilight Princess, Hylian text is used to identify items and weapons, while in Skyward Sword, the language is used for puzzles and to unlock hidden areas.
The inclusion of Hylian language in the Legend of Zelda series has become a defining feature of the franchise, adding a unique and immersive element to the game’s world-building and storytelling. The language has even inspired its own community of fans and linguists, who work to translate and decipher the language to unlock its secrets and hidden meanings. The language provides a sense of authenticity to the game’s lore and story, encouraging players to explore and discover the world of Hyrule in greater detail. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the series, learning the Hylian language is sure to provide an enriching and rewarding experience.
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