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Sinnoh's New Language

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I figured here would be as good a place as any to post this - as of BDSP and PL:A, Sinnoh now has its own language!

I struggled with this one for a long while, so let's start at the beginning so you can see the work I went through on this. You can see these town signs during the BDSP trailer:

signs052921.png

From left to right, these are the signs in Twinleaf Town, Jubilife City, Snowpoint City, and Floaroma Town respectively.

Pokemon's had a long and storied history with meaningless strings of random gibberish characters, but something jumped out at me about these - for Jubilife City and Snowpoint City, the last three characters were the same. For Twinleaf Town and Floaroma Town, the last three characters were the same, but different than the ones in Jubilife and Snowpoint. So, clearly, they were using some kind of structure for these town signs.

It couldn't be any form of English, since the signs were just too short - six or seven characters didn't work for any town name. Likewise, it couldn't be romaji (Japanese names using Latin characters), as while 'Futaba' fit the character length for Twinleaf Town, it didn't fit the characters themselves - there was no repeated 'A' character. Plus, the last three evidently meant 'town,' which meant the signs could only be in Japanese.

Unfortunately, that didn't quite work either - the official Japanese name for Twinleaf Town in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum is フタバタウン (Futaba Town, phonetically fu ta ba ta U N). Again, the ta character wasn't being repeated. Plus, if Jubilife or Snowpoint used their prior Japanese names of Kotobuki City (コトブキシティ, phonetically ko to bu ki shi te I) or Kissaki City (キッサキシティ, phonetically ki s-sa ki shi te I), we'd have three different symbols for the syllable ki. So, clearly, that wasn't it.

After this roadblock, I tried a few different things for a while before I came to the realization that I had a jumping-off point I could use - I knew, for a fact, that those last three characters on Jubilife's/Snowpoint's signs meant either 'town' or 'city'. There were only a finite number of Japanese words for 'city,' and the vast majority of them end with ィ(I) - so the odds were pretty good that dot with three lines under it was ィ. It was also used as the first syllable of the three-syllable word comprising Floaroma Town's sign name, so I started looking up Japanese words that had three syllables and began with I. After a short bit of searching, I stumbled across ine, 'rice.' It didn't fit, but it did sound familiar... I then looked at the page, and eventually ended up at a page about the Japanese legend of Inari Okami. I'll let this speak for itself:

"According to myth, Inari, as a goddess, was said to have come to Japan at the time of its creation amidst a harsh famine that struck the land. "She [Inari] descended from Heaven riding on a white fox, and in her hand she carried sheaves of cereal or grain. Ine, the word now used for rice, is the name for this cereal. What she carried was not rice but some cereal that grows in swamps. According to legend, in the ancient times Japan was water and swamp land."

Does this sound familiar to you? It should, as it's literally the basis for the legend of Floaroma Town, where nothing would grow until a beautiful woman expressed her gratitude atop a hill. The hill burst into bloom, resulting in the flowery meadow of modern Floaroma. This meant the sign for Floaroma must read 'Inari Town.' Three syllables, starts with I, and pretty relevant choice for the town itself!

From there, the rest (somewhat) quickly followed. Snowpoint's was obviously Ōmitsunu City, as Ōmitsunu was an ancient Japanese giant-king and demigod who expanded his kingdom by pulling land from the nearby pre-Korean kingdom of Silla using ropes - again, the direct inspiration for Regigigas, the main feature of Snowpoint City (I wouldn't be surprised if there's a sign next to Snowpoint Temple that reads 'Ōmitsunu Temple', following this logic).

Twinleaf Town was a little more difficult, but going off what I had already, I was eventually able to deduce it read 'Shiyō Town'. 'Shiyō' is another Japanese word for the futaba or cotyledon - the first two (or more, but usually two) leaves that are evidence a plant has sprouted and begun to grow (Twinleaf also gets its name from this). Plus, the ō in Shiyō was the same symbol as the Ō in Ōmitsunu - consistency, I thought, was pretty strong evidence that I was doing something right!

Incidentally, the word used for 'town' here is almost certain to be kotan, which actually translates to 'village' rather than 'town' - but a contradiction came up, in that the same character used for the N in kotan was also used for 'na' in Inari. I thought this was a problem at first, but I then learned that in traditional Japanese syllabaries (usually katakana), the N character is either appended to the bottom of the '-a' column or the end of the 'n-' row. So maybe it's like that on purpose?

Lastly, Jubilife's stumped me for a good long while. I even turned to the generic info sign used for non-town/city signs such as Jubilife TV and Valley Windworks (this thing:)
kizuitarosign.png

According to previous assignments, it should read 'ki ? I ta ?', and if it actually meant anything, that second character would give me what it meant in Jubilife's sign. As it turns out, this sign also translates, although the only reason I found out was due to the name of a popular Japanese song, Kidzuitara Katamoi ('When I realized it was unrequited love'). I noticed that the last character was much closer-looking to the 'ro' character ロ than the 'ra' character ラ, so this sign then read kidzuitaro. This is a heavily modified form of the verb kizuku 'to notice', with modifiers I (outdated but was used for emphasis), ta (past tense), and ro (command/order). Therefore, the sign's closest literal translation in English is 'You must have noticed' (equivalent to signs like 'INFO', 'WARNING' or 'NOTICE' in English) - and the second character in Jubilife's sign must then be dzu!

Returning to Jubilife, I now had '? to ta dzu to ka I', assuming the word for city was tokai (it couldn't be shitei, as this conflicted with other assignments). I had no idea what a '?totadzu' was, as no word like that exists in Japanese, but I eventually got the idea to search for the thing in pieces, assuming it was a phrase. I eventually found that 'tazu' or 'tadu' was a now-outdated kanji reading for 鶴, currently read as 'tsuru' and referring to the Japanese crane (Grus japonensis). In Japanese culture, this crane is widely considered to be a symbol of longevity, love, joy, and good fortune - perfect for a city like Jubilife, shorthand for Jubilant Life in English and whose name Kotobuki in Japanese translates to 'congratulations; longevity' (or congratulations for a long and happy life). So Jubilife is '?? Crane City'. The first word has only two syllables and ends with 'to', but I have no idea what it is - I guess we'll see when this book cover from Pokemon Legends: Arceus gets translated:

bookcomparison.png

And they thought I just wouldn't notice.

And one last thing - in the trailer for Pokemon Legends: Arceus, you can also get a very blurry view of the Prof's nameplate:
professornameplate.png


It's really hard to tell, but this probably reads 'Hinoki', the Japanese name for the cypress tree, if the fan theory that the professor is named Prof. Cypress after a resemblance between his logo and Cyrus' Team Galactic logo is correct.

This one I'm less sure about, but it would be a neat reference. Some of the nameplate signs in the Legends: Arceus trailer are red in color:
red2_upscaled.png
red_upscaled.png


These should translate to 'Mikina' or 'Mikin' assuming prior translations are correct, which is pretty close (but not quite) the same as Michina Town, the setting of the movie Arceus and the Jewel of Life (which incidentally takes place thousands of years ago in proto-Sinnoh). Would be a neat Easter egg!

So, with all that out of the way, these are the symbols we know of for sure:

sinnohese52821.PNG


And now, to wait for more trailers. Preferably ones with town signs in them...

If you want to follow along with my ramblings, you can also find them at pokemonaaah.net (not my site, mind you, but the owner and I collab on Poke-language translations, so he was cool with posting it there).
 
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Just your average everday moon fan
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THIS IS SO COOL! :bulbaLove:
I'm in actual awe at your skills right now lol. Great job deciphering these little details!
 
Cute bunny baby
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Wow, this is awesome. I would have never noticed this. :bulbaWave:
 
pflbbbbt
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I get really excited when I see stuff like this in games! It feels nice to know that someone cared enough to come up with this kind of detail.

I wonder if there will be more secret messages hidden in the games that we can decipher? I think it'd be fun. Having a language made for just a few town signs seems like a lot of work.
 
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You know, I wonder what will you discover once the game releases and we have a closer look at the textures.
 
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I get really excited when I see stuff like this in games! It feels nice to know that someone cared enough to come up with this kind of detail.

I wonder if there will be more secret messages hidden in the games that we can decipher? I think it'd be fun. Having a language made for just a few town signs seems like a lot of work.
I have a feeling there'll be more signs... Omitsunu Temple is top of my list of 'most likely', but I'm not so sure about the others. Spear Pillar? Flower Paradise? Pal Park, even? Not like we're short on choices, even if it is just signs.

You know, I wonder what will you discover once the game releases and we have a closer look at the textures.
More symbols, hopefully! My biggest annoyance would be an incomplete syllabary, like we got for Hoenn. Aside from that... who knows? Maybe we'll get similar names for Arceus, Dialga, Palkia or Giratina and connect them to actual Japanese legends.
 
「僕らは絶対また会うぜ。」*OUT FOR SUMMER~*
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This is extremely impressive!
おつかれ、エレメント博士!
 
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