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Hilichurlian is one of the main languages of Teyvat. It is spoken primarily by the Hilichurls, however some humans such as Ella Musk also study and use it.

Overview

Hilichurlian is the most understood distinct language of Teyvat. Unlike most other languages in Teyvat, which are real life languages such as English and Latin written with a custom alphabet, Hilichurlian is a constructed language and is therefore linguistically distinct, with distinct phonology, words, phrases, and grammar.

Attempts to fully decipher the language of the Hilichurls have been made using a combination of sources including the official manga (Part 4 Chapter 5), Hilichurl Ballad Selection, Hilichurl Cultural Customs, and the quests involving Ella Musk. Hilichurlian is transcribed using human languages both in Genshin Impact and in real life; it is unknown if hilichurls have their own writing system for Hilichurlian.

Hilichurls take their language seriously and take the words/phrases quite literally; a single mistake can often result in them becoming aggressive in an instant, regardless of the speaker's Hilichurlian proficiency.

However, materials with the Hilichurl language are scarce, and the current major reference materials were written by the same person, Jacob Musk. He is not known to have worked with anyone, and his materials are currently uncontested. It is unknown whether they have been reviewed by other scholars of Hilichurlian linguistics or if there ever were other such scholars besides Ella.

Quests in which the Traveler attempts to converse with Hilichurls include Lionfang's Legacy in which they attempt to retrieve a shield; and Language Exchange and Poetry Exchange in which Ella Musk attempts to further human-hilichurl relations.

A key part of understanding the language comes from the second episode of the official Chinese livestream "Mondstadt Tea Party," which gives two translated phrases: Mosi mita and Mosi gusha, which literally mean "eat meat" and "eat vegetables" respectively, and are used figuratively as expressions of happiness and sadness, respectively.[1][2]

A major source of information on Hilichurlian is the Handy Handbook of Hilichurlian (HHH), written by Ella Musk's grandfather, who may be Jacob Musk or an entirely different person in the Musk family. The HHH can be treated as generally correct as the Traveler will not run into issues when using the HHH as a guide. However, it may have dubious accuracy when it comes to the exact nuances of Hilichurlian due to Ella's own errors in the language as well as any errors in understanding that the original author had.

The Abyss Mages are capable of speaking fluent Hilichurlian.

Lexicon

A list of known common words of Hilichurlian. Please pay attention to the references.

Hilichurlian English Notes
mosi to eat[3]
mita meat[3][4] Has positive connotations.[3]
gusha vegetables[3][4] Has negative connotations.[3] The color of gusha is green.[4]
mi (plural: mimi) I, me (plural: we, us)[5]
muhe triumph;[5] like, want[4]
biat to hit, to curse[5] May be used for emphasis (e.g. "very").
ye (plural: yeye) you, your (register unknown, possibly condescending[5] or informal) May be similar to Japanese お前 or Korean where it does not express pure condescension, but can imply closeness to the addressee. However, it still connotes condescension by implying that the addressee is of a lower social standing and socially impermissible usages of the pronoun should be understood as a sign of contempt.
yo (plural: yoyo) you, your (register unknown, friendly[5] or formal)
da/dada good/very good, affirmation, very (emphasis)[4][5] Can be used as praise[6]
domu to dance[5]
eleka now[5] Meaning uncertain
sada to sing, singing, song;[5] solid, hard[4] The phrase upa sada means that you are prepared to do something.[4]
nye not, un-[5] Can be used for negation
nunu to sleep[7] The color of nunu is black.[4] This may refer to nighttime.
nini storm, wind, Anemo[5]
(as a verb) to disappear
Meaning uncertain. The color of nini is white.[4]
Conveys the concept of ephemerality.
zido here, this [5]
(as a verb) to go
May also mean "nothing" in some contexts. May also mean "to mark" or be used to otherwise indicate a specific thing.[8] Possibly deictic.
movo to move, to bring, to come[5] Meaning uncertain. Movo lata is water.[4]
kuzi mighty, strong[5]
celi heat; Pyro, fire; the sun (typically celi upa)[4] The color of celi is red.[4] The phrase celi lata (literally "hot cold" or possibly "fire cold") refers to things that emit light, but not heat, such as Small Lamp Grass, fireflies, stars, and the moon.[4]
upa to combine, to merge, to gather[5] Dada upa means "very tall/large mountain."[4] Celi upa means "the sun."[4] Upa sada means that you are prepared to do something.[4]
shato like, alike, similar[5]
lata Cryo, ice, cold[4][5] The color of lata is blue.[4] Movo lata is water.[4]
unu god;[5] one [4] A holy word that embodies hilichurls' concept of gods and the origin of life.[4] The color of unu is yellow.[4]
du two[4]
unu du three[4] Literally "one two."
dudu four[4] Literally "two-two."
ya (plural: yaya) human[5] Can also mean "person" or "people" [5]
ika enemy, bad people[4][5]
kundala to kill, to fight[5] May also mean "enemy" as a noun
dala what?[5]
si thing[5]
valo thank you[5]
buka stomach[5] May possibly indicate hunger.
guru-guru hungry[5]
kucha weak;[5] small[4] Kucha gusha (lit. "small grass") means seed.[4] Slightly contemptuous connotation.[4]
odomu friend[5] Meaning currently under review.
tiga stone, Geo[5]
plata shield[5]
vin wine[5]
pupu grass[5] Meaning uncertain, may be used insultingly
beru si what are you doing?[5] Meaning of individual words uncertain
beru nye / beru nya stop talking or be quiet
mani to give;[5] hands, physical labor; five[4] The meaning of "five" possibly comes from the number of fingers on a hand.
olah hello[9]
tomo unique, unusual;[8] help;[10] ally[5][Note 1] Mentioned many times in the Mutual Exchange and Hilichurl Justice quests in the Mimi Tomo event. No direct translation given. Meaning currently under review.
aba before Used by Ella Musk in Language Exchange, and by hilichurl in Poetry Exchange. Possibly means "before."[4] Possibly means "want."
ka unknown Used by Ella Musk in Language Exchange.
todo unknown Used by Hilichurl in Language Exchange. May mean "give."
biadam bad Exact meaning unknown, always strong negative. May be rude.[11]
boya color[4] Used as a suffix for colors. Celi boya (lit. "fire color") is red, gusha boya (lit. "grass color") is green, lata boya (lit. "ice color") is blue, nini boya is white, nunu boya (lit. "sleep color") and sama boya are black, and unu boya (lit. "God's color/one color") is yellow.[4]
mito know[8]
lawa king or chief[12] As in Lawachurl.
sama unknown As in Samachurl. The color of sama is black.[4]
hili unknown As in Hilichurl.
in in[4] Meaning uncertain.
unta unknown Mentioned in Handy Handbook of Hilichurlian. Possibly means "after."
Du ya zido dala? Where did this thing go? Mentioned in Handy Handbook of Hilichurlian. Meaning of du uncertain. Inconsistent with other translations. Possibly idiomatic.

Phonology

Hilichurlian vowels
Front Central Back
Close i
ɯ
Mid ɛ
ə*
ʌ
Open æ
Allophonic vowels
Front Central Back
Close
Mid ɔ
Open a
Full monophthongs
Hilichurlian Vowel Allophone
ika æ a
celi ɛ
mani i
movo ə ʌ
movo ʌ ɔ
gusha ɯ
Consonants
Tenuis Aspriate Voiced Nasal Approximant
/p/ Allophone of /b/ /pʰ/ plata /b/ buka /m/ mita
/t/ Allophone of /d/ /tʰ/ tiga /d/ dala /n/ nini /l/ lata
/ɹ̠/, /r/ beru
/k/ Allophone of /g/ /kʰ/ kundala /ɡ/ guru-guru /ŋ/ Allophone of /n/ /w/ lawa
/t͡ʃʰ/ kucha
/β/ vin
/s/ sada /z/ zido
/ʃ/ shato /j/[Note 2] ya
/h/ homu[Note 3]

Hilichurlian is observed to have high allophonic variation. Some speakers may pronounce the graphemes ⟨a⟩ and ⟨e⟩ as both /æ/. Voiced consonants may sometimes be pronounced with tenuis consonants instead.

The mid central vowel, /ə/, although present in Hilichurlian, is not very common. It only appears as the rendition of the grapheme ⟨o⟩ in special cases. ⟨o⟩ is normally pronounced as /ʌ/. For example, the word movo is pronounced with /ə/ in the first ⟨o⟩ and the regular reading of /ʌ/ in the second ⟨o⟩.

Official Transcription Voice-Over
Odomu Movo![13]

Hilichurlian does not appear to have diphthongs. In words where vowels are adjacent to each other, such as biadam, hiatus is employed instead and ⟨bi⟩ and ⟨a⟩ are considered separate morae.

Official Transcription Voice-Over
Biadam![11]

Morphosyntactic alignment

Hilichurlian is generally an ergative-absolutive language, however it does not purely abide by the rules of ergative-absolutive morphosyntactic alignment.

One main example is the interrogative mood of a transitive verb; in a classical ergative-absolutive language, the agent of a transitive verb is always the ergative, and never the absolutive. However, in Hilichurlian, when a transitive verb takes the interrogative dala as the object, the agent must be marked in absolutive case. For example, ye muhe dala? instead of yo muhe dala?

The following table lists ergative-absolutive pairs.

Pronoun Ergative Absolutive
First-person mi mi
First-person plural mimi mimi
Second-person yo ye
Second-person plural yoyo yeye

Orthography

Hilichurlian is written with the Latin alphabet, however it is unclear if the Hilichurls write Hilichurlian themselves or if the orthography was simply developed by humans such as Jacob Musk to transcribe the sounds of Hilichurlian.

Hilichurlian is observed to not use the letters f, j, q, and x. Therefore, the Hilichurlian alphabet contains 22 letters: 5 vowels (A, E, I, O, U) and 17 consonants.

  • A a
  • B b
  • C c
  • D d
  • E e
  • G g
  • H h
  • I i
  • K k
  • L l
  • M m
  • N n
  • O o
  • P p
  • R r
  • S s
  • T t
  • U u
  • V v
  • W w
  • Y y
  • Z z

Pluralization

In Hilichurlian, nouns and pronouns are abstractly pluralized through reduplication. The first-person singular pronoun mi is reduplicated to become the first-person plural pronoun mimi.

Verbs

In Hilichurlian, verbs are not inflectionally distinguished from nouns or adjectives. A verb as a headword can be used as a noun and adjective too in some cases. They do not inflect or conjugate, but have some main constructions.

Hilichurlian is a subject-verb-object (SVO) language, like English and Chinese. The direct object is placed directly after the verb, and the subject precedes the verb.

Hilichurlian does not have definite or indefinite articles, much like Chinese or Japanese.

SUBJECT VERB OBJECT
Mi muhe ye.
I-erg like
or win (over)
you-abs.
SUBJECT VERB OBJECT
Yoyo zido ika.
You (plural)-erg fight
or kill
(the) enemy-abs.
SUBJECT VERB OBJECT
Ye muhe dala?
You-abs want
or like
what?-abs
What do you want/like?

However, the locative case is marked by placing the location prior to an intransitive movement verb.

qualifier SUBJECT locative VERB
Kuzi Unu ya zido.
Mighty Unu-erg [a god] (the) human-abs-loc goes (to)
The mighty Unu goes to the human.

Hilichurlian has 9 grammatical moods in a total of 2 grammatical mood categories:

  • Realis (real)
    1. Declarative (decl). This mood is used to declare that something is the case.
    2. Negative (neg). This mood is used to encode negative (non-affirmative) polarity into an utterance.
    3. Immediate (imm). This mood is used to signify that a verb is being performed in the immediate present.
    4. Emphatic (emp). This mood is used to stress and emphasize a verb.
  • Irrealis (irr)
    • Deotonic (deo)
      1. Imperative (imp). This mood is used to directly issue commands to a second party listener.
      2. Optative (opt). This mood is used to indicate a wish or hope to either the speaker themselves or a second party.
      3. Desiderative (desi). This mood is used to indicate a speaker's desire.
      4. Jussive (jus). This mood is used to issue commands to a third party.
    • Epistemic (epi)
      1. Interrogative (int). This mood is used to obtain information from a second party listener.
Conjugation of muhe (to win, to like, to want) transitive
Realis Irrealis
Declarative Negative Immediate Emphatic Emphatic negative Imperative Optative Desiderative Jussive Interrogative
First person (singular) Mi muhe Mi muhe nye Eleka mi muhe Mi muhe mita Mi muhe mita nye - - Mi muhe muhe - Mi muhe dala
First person (plural) Mimi muhe Mimi muhe nye Eleka mimi muhe Mimi muhe mita Mimi muhe mita nye - - Mimi muhe muhe - Mimi muhe dala
Second person (singular) Yo muhe Yo muhe nye Eleka yo muhe Yo muhe mita Yo muhe mita nye Muhe Yo muhe Yo muhe muhe - Ye muhe dala*
Second person (plural) Yoyo muhe Yoyo muhe nye Eleka yoyo muhe Yoyo muhe mita Yoyo muhe mita nye Muhe Yoyo muhe Yoyo muhe muhe - Yeye muhe dala*
Third person Muhe Muhe nye Eleka muhe Muhe mita Muhe mita nye - Muhe Muhe muhe Muhe Muhe dala
Conjugation of kundala (to steal, to rob) transitive
Realis Irrealis
Declarative Negative Immediate Emphatic Emphatic negative Imperative Optative Desiderative Jussive Interrogative
First person (singular) Mi kundala Mi kundala nye Eleka mi kundala Mi kundala mita Mi kundala mita nye - - Mi muhe kundala - Mi kundala dala
First person (plural) Mimi kundala Mimi kundala nye Eleka mimi kundala Mimi kundala mita Mimi kundala mita nye - - Mimi muhe kundala - Mimi kundala dala
Second person (singular) Yo kundala Yo kundala nye Eleka yo kundala Yo kundala mita Yo kundala mita nye Kundala Yo kundala Yo muhe kundala - Ye kundala dala*
Second person (plural) Yoyo kundala Yoyo kundala nye Eleka yoyo kundala Yoyo kundala mita Yoyo kundala mita nye Kundala Yoyo kundala Yoyo muhe kundala - Yeye kundala dala*
Third person Kundala Kundala nye Eleka kundala Kundala mita Kundala mita nye - Kundala Muhe kundala Kundala Kundala dala
Conjugation of upa (to go beyond) transitive
Realis Irrealis
Declarative Negative Immediate Emphatic Emphatic negative Imperative Optative Desiderative Jussive Interrogative
First person (singular) Mi upa Mi upa nye Eleka mi upa Mi upa mita Mi upa mita nye - - Mi muhe upa - Mi upa dala
First person (plural) Mimi upa Mimi upa nye Eleka mimi upa Mimi upa mita Mimi upa mita nye - - Mimi muhe upa - Mimi upa dala
Second person (singular) Yo upa Yo upa nye Eleka yo upa Yo upa mita Yo upa mita nye Upa Yo upa Yo muhe upa - Ye upa dala*
Second person (plural) Yoyo upa Yoyo upa nye Eleka yoyo upa Yoyo upa mita Yoyo upa mita nye Upa Yoyo upa Yoyo muhe upa - Yeye upa dala*
Third person Upa Upa nye Eleka upa Upa mita Upa mita nye - Upa Muhe upa Upa Upa dala

Notes

  1. The event Mimi Tomo is not named with the Hilichurlian Mimi Tomo in all languages. The event name in Chinese includes a term (折箭) that can mean alliance (lit. to break an arrow [to seal a promise]), and the event names in both Japanese and Korean use the word for alliance (結盟 and , respectively). Discussed in a comment on Hilichurlian and the wiki's Discord server's #wiki-suggestions and #genshin-languages channels at the beginning of June 2021.
  2. The glide /j/ is not present in front of the vowel /i/.
  3. Homu is a name referenced by the Unusual Hilichurl and not a word. It is a reference to the mascot in previous games of HoYoverse.

Trivia

  • Based on the proposed translations, Ella Musk sometimes says something completely different from what she intends to, especially in dialogue lines available since before the event Mimi Tomo.
  • Some of the translations of Hilichurlian were based on the Chinese equivalents provided during an official voice actor livestream.[3]
  • In the official voice actor livestream, Jean's voice actor says that their information comes from Ella Musk, who also approves of their plans to give Hilichurlian lessons.[14] It's unlikely that this interaction is canon since Jean's voice actor says this as herself, the voice actor in real life. However, it is still noteworthy that the information is presented as information from Ella Musk rather than from anyone in real life who worked on Hilichurlian.
  • Non-Hilichurl characters who are known to, claim to, or are implied to know at least some Hilichurlian:

Other Languages

LanguageOfficial Name
EnglishHilichurlian
Chinese
(Simplified)
丘丘语
Qiūqiū-yǔ
Chinese
(Traditional)
丘丘語
Qiūqiū-yǔ
Japaneseヒルチャール語
Hiruchaaru-go
Korean츄츄
Chyuchyu-eo
SpanishHilichurlio
FrenchBrutocollinus
RussianХиличурлский язык
Khilichurlskiy yazyk
Thaiภาษา Hilichurl
Phasa Hilichurl
VietnameseTiếng Hilichurl
GermanHilichurlisch
IndonesianBahasa Hilichurl
PortugueseHilichurlês

References

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