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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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Mr. MoonStone

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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!
 

Sakuraa

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Wow, this is awesome. I would have never noticed this. :bulbaWave:
 

Tood

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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.
 

prog rocker

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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.
 

takoyaki

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This is extremely impressive!
おつかれ、エレメント博士!
 
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Been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been busy trying to decipher this text, especially since the second trailer dropped.

Unfortunately, while most of my new translations make some amount of sense, they’re by no means absolute – if I find one symbol means something different than I thought, it can affect a whole bunch of translations at once. Basically a domino effect. So, take these with a grain of salt – they’re consistent… for now.

First off, with the release of this ridiculously high-quality map of Sinnoh with annotations featuring every town name, I no longer have to rely on blurry screenshots of in-game town signs! This means every symbol is guaranteed accurate (except for one – the first symbol of Eterna’s label is obscured by the white mountains behind it. Poor choice of label coloring, but I managed to extract it with image processing anyway).

E9Pux7UWYAYTwKw


To recap, these are the ones we know for absolute certain:

Snowpoint = Ōmitsunu City (オミツヌ)
Floaroma = Inari Town (イナリ)
Twinleaf = Shiyō Town (シヨオ)
Generic info sign = Kizuitara (キズイタラ)

And these are some fresh, new faces, along with explanations!

Pastoria = Wazashi City (ワザシ): Wazashi is a term meaning ‘tricky wrestler.’ I’m not entirely sure why, as the individual kanji don’t appear to be related to either of those words, but it’s a fitting descriptor of Crasher Wake, Pastoria’s Gym Leader.

Hearthome = Jiteki City (ジテキ): Jiteki means a lifestyle that is easy, comfortable, and free of the cares of life. Seems about right, don’t you think?

Solaceon = Zuga Town (ズガ): Zuga refers to a collection of pictures or drawings, which describes the Solaceon Ruins pretty handily.

Sandgem = Yuniwa Town (ユニワ): Strangely, ‘yuniwa’ translates to ‘archery grounds’. Some of these may be holdover names from the Legends: Arceus time period, so maybe that was what Sandgem was? Alternatively, it’d be a funny way to describe a tutorial zone where you learn to throw Poke Balls in either game.

Oreburgh = Tanmusu City (タンムス): ‘Tan’ (炭) refers to coal, simple enough. ‘Musu’ (産), however, is used here to mean ‘creation’ or ‘production.’ Strangely, ‘musu’ is not used like this in an industrial context, but rather a religious one – the Shinto name for ‘creator of all’ is ‘musuhi’. Given the Shinto context of some of the other names, this might be an intentional obfuscation?

Canalave = Mano City (マノ): Mano appears to be a Buddhist concept referring to ‘mental consciousness’ or the notion of the mind as a whole, which is a vague and tangential relation to dreaming (thus a connection to Cresselia or Darkrai).

Fight Area = Hazumu Area (ハズム): Hazumu means to get lively or be stimulated, and apparently this place is full of Trainers itching for a fight according to the original D/P/Pt dialogue upon arrival to the Battle Zone.

Note: The actual strings meaning 'town', 'city' and 'area' don't appear to translate well - 'city' is probably 'tokai' (トカイ), but the other two are gibberish (Ntana and narayo, respectively). I think the point is more that they're consistent? Hmm.


There are also some interesting translations to be found on the new Hisui map for Legends: Arceus, as well as in Jubilife Village itself in both the first and second trailers.


9441272414e949ac0182072a8cef29a8344c6526.png

Cyllene’s nameplate = Iyukote (イユコテ): Iyu refers to healing or recovery, and kote refers to the forearm or hand. Maybe she got attacked by a Pokemon? Or maybe it’s more of a metaphorical ‘healing hand,’ not sure.

f18ed2924f742cd7e32421baa1e5402550802a3d.png

Village nameplate = Nuata (ヌアタ): ‘Ata’ means ‘rival’, and the nu- prefix is possibly a negation – hence, ‘not [your] rival.’ This might be where the other protagonist character (Rei if you chose Akari, and vice versa) ends up.

3116cfae2def1793139f61eef95488295b35337b.png

Village bridge = Itazura (イタズラ): Itazura means ‘mischief,’ an odd label to assign a bridge. In fact, multiple bridges in Jubilife Village appear to have this written upon them. Not entirely sure why – maybe your rival plays some kind of prank at these?

7cedae6e7ebfc25386187404448402b05adda08a.png

Salon/haircut shop = Tokoyama (トコヤマ): Tokoyama were in the Edo period hairdressing rooms. Nowadays, they instead refer to specific hairdressers who train for years to create the traditional hairstyles used for sumo wrestling.


Map labels (HD map here, since Bulbagarden doesn't seem to like it):

[Mt. Coronet area] = Jita no zako (ジタ の ザコ): Jitaku is a person’s house or home, and zako is ‘an unimportant person.’ I get the feeling either this character has quite an ego (and is being roasted by the mapmakers), or is actually extremely important somehow.


And, finally, we come to the kana chart, which has definitely seen a lot of rearranging. Gold symbols are ones I consider as absolutely true – to change even one of these would upend almost every translation. Black are ones I’m somewhat confident in, as they fit current translations. Lastly, green are guesses based on possible translations.
8ac8db2da15eb515ead020591a46e5a70aaea660.jpg
 
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more than a torchic

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So the new Sinnoh map doesn't use the OG Japanese names for towns and cities?

Also, does the hairdressing sign mean potential customization in Legends?!?!?!
 
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So the new Sinnoh map doesn't use the OG Japanese names for towns and cities?

Also, does the hairdressing sign mean potential customization in Legends?!?!?!
Nope! Looks like it's an all-new set of names to tie in better with the Edo/Meiji-stylings of Legends: Arceus.

As for character customization in Legends, it's a pretty safe bet... for the hair, at least. I think you still have to wear the Galaxy Expedition Uniform.
 

more than a torchic

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As for character customization in Legends, it's a pretty safe bet... for the hair, at least. I think you still have to wear the Galaxy Expedition Uniform.
My guess is that, if we do get clothing customization, the Uniform could be something you have to wear for expeditions or something.
 

Minya_Nouvelle

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Village nameplate = Nuata (ヌアタ): ‘Ata’ means ‘rival’, and the nu- prefix is possibly a negation – hence, ‘not [your] rival.’ This might be where the other protagonist character (Rei if you chose Akari, and vice versa) ends up.
It doesn't really change anything, but I feel like it makes more sense for nu to be 'new'

Really awesome work though; I love seeing everything be deciphered.
 

takoyaki

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It doesn't really change anything, but I feel like it makes more sense for nu to be 'new'

Really awesome work though; I love seeing everything be deciphered.
Well in Japanese "new" is commonly romanized as "nyuu", not "nu".
 

Minya_Nouvelle

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Well in Japanese "new" is commonly romanized as "nyuu", not "nu".
True, but it would have required three characters; maybe they wanted to keep it short? (and nyuu (にゅう) is technically different than niyuu (にゆう) so maybe they didn't want to make a special character for it; idk; I'm just guessing)
 

Timaeus

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Cool stuff. You really put in the hard work here.

Though I am left with a single question to ask of GF: "Okay, but why though?" :unsure:
 
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Another update - the Hisui label south (well, actual south if it's oriented like a Sinnoh map) of Jubilife Village might be 'chigi no ema' - Chigi being a style of Shinto shrine, and ema being special wooden plaques Shinto worshippers attach to said shrines to send their wishes to various kami. Not entirely sure on this one, but it'd be a cool detail to have in the area where Twinleaf will one day be.
 
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My God is that really the 'updated' Sinnoh region map for BDSP? Every location is the same as in the originals; I was expecting at least a few changes but it's the exact same map from 15 years ago only redrawn in a different style. :bulbaFacepalm:

Don't really care about the new language thing but I appreciate that someone put in alot of hard work in translating those runes.
 
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My God is that really the 'updated' Sinnoh region map for BDSP? Every location is the same as in the originals; I was expecting at least a few changes but it's the exact same map from 15 years ago only redrawn in a different style. :bulbaFacepalm:

Don't really care about the new language thing but I appreciate that someone put in alot of hard work in translating those runes.
...I don't know how to tell you that regions offer extremely few geographical changes in remakes. The most that ever really happened were all the extra islands in ORAS (and to a lesser extent the Sevii Isles in FRLG), and even then they were extra. It's not like Fallarbor Town or Sootopolis City packed up and moved a few inches to the left. Plus, the amount of detail in this artwork is staggering for something that a) won't be seen in the game, b) is next to useless for anyone who's played the originals and c) contains absolutely no new information. Whoever did this artwork clearly put a ton of effort into it.

Cool stuff. You really put in the hard work here.

Though I am left with a single question to ask of GF: "Okay, but why though?" :unsure:
My guess? They listened to the people who were complaining about the hot mess that is Galarian language. 40 (41?) symbols, some Romaji translations and some English (and a few neither), and no consistent mapping - symbols that meant G or F in one phrase or word could mean R, K, O, A... in others. I even tried mapping phonemes with absolutely no success.

Anyway, I'd also like to point out an error I made in my post above - the sign I thought read 'Nuata' contains a different character than the 'A' one, which I've currently mapped to 'ga' (since it's also found in Solaceon/Zuga Town). 'Nuga' is a verb meaning 'to wipe/sweep/get rid of', and 'ta' is a past-tense modifier, so 'to have wiped/swept/gotten rid of' would be appropriate for 'nugata'. I think. I'm not as well-versed on Japanese grammar as I should be and that makes a lot of these translations difficult.

However, if the reading for Solaceon Town is instead Zue (means the exact same thing - zua, zue, zuga, zushi, and zuka are all variations on a picture/collection of pictures/map/drawing/etc.), it could then read Nueta. The Japanese nue is a chimeric creature appearing in folklore, described as 'a mythical creature with a monkey's head, tanuki's body, tiger's limbs, and a snake tail', and 'ta' would once again indicate past tense. The nue has pretty scant depiction of what it actually does, only that its cries are kind of creepy - however, one particular story refers to a nue that was killed and the corpse was thrown into a river. It washed up on the shores of the Yodo River, and the local villagers, fearful of a curse, notified the priest. The nue was given a proper burial mound and ceremonial rites, but the mound was torn down at the beginning of the Meiji Period, and as such the nue resumed its torment of others in spirit form. So I guess if this particular house is haunted, then this is the proper translation? Not sure.
 
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