There are many different languages in Teyvat, most of them based on real-world languages.
Just as Teyvat has a spoken lingua franca, Teyvat also has a written lingua franca. The letters appear to be a mirrored and broken up version of Fraktur, a font that was typical for medieval Germany and that was still in use up until the early 20th century. As such, many of the letters are seemingly upside-down, mirrored Latin letters. Unlike English, there appears to be no capitalization, punctuation, or spaces other than line breaks. However, there is a character identical to the letter "A," but written lower and closer to the previous character, that can be (but doesn't have to be) inserted when a sentence continues to the next line. This text is also used in tutorial images so that the same image can be used for multiple languages.
Long texts in this script include the Abyss Order's "ransom note" in the quest Darknight Hero's Alibi and Letter to the Treasure Hoarders during Currents Deep Beneath the Lanterns. In addition, the Liyue trailer "Of the Land Amidst Monoliths" shows Klee opening a book titled Teyvat to pages that contain the following text (spacing, capitalization, and punctuation added for legibility):
...reason that it's necessary for the peacekeepers of Liyue to keep an eye on the location. People nowadays have often forgotten that Liyue's peace and prosperity is not granted but earned from iron and blood, from perseverance and diligence. Legend also claims that the fallen Archon does not die but slowly emits their potency in which monstrous creature
One of the highest mountain of Liyue. It is told that there was a monster named Chi suppressed under
The hilichurls also have their own language, Hilichurlian. A few Hilichurlian words and phrases have been successfully deciphered by analyzing the available in-game text.
Hilichurlian is the most understood distinct language of Teyvat. Unlike most other languages in Teyvat, which are mostly just existing languages such as English and Latin written in a cipher alphabet, Hilichurlian is lingustically distinct, with distinct phonology, words, phrases, and grammar. Hilichurlian is written using the Latin alphabet, however it is unclear if the Hilichurls themselves write their own language, or if the writing system was developed by humans such as Jacob Musk for the purpose of the transcription of Hilichurlian.
Hilichurlian is mostly an SVO (subject-verb-object) language, but SOV (subject-object-verb) constructions do exist.
An official Chinese livestream offered a few translations:
- Olah! is used as a greeting, like "Hello!"
- Mosi mita! is used to express happiness, or literally, "eat meat"
- mosi means "to eat" or "food"
- mita means "meat (from an animal)", which is something that hilichurls like
- Mosi gusha! is used to express sadness, or literally, "eat grass"
- gusha means "grass", "fruits", or "grains", which are things that hilichurls do not like
Liyue has its own local language alongside the common language. Its written form is inspired by real-life Chinese characters, particularly seal script. Such script is common in Liyue Harbor around shops and other businesses — there is a very high degree of repetition of these symbols between shop signs.[Note 1] Other examples of this language can be seen on the Jade Chamber Intel Wall during the animated cutscene in the Archon Quest "Zhongli's Treat" and on bulletin boards around Liyue.
This script appears in several other Liyue character's Elemental attacks including: around Chongyun when Spirit Blade: Chonghua's Layered Frost is active, and when Zhongli's Dominus Lapidis Stone Stele breaks.
There are few instances where characters in this script that have been deciphered and determined to be based on existing Chinese characters. In most cases, the characters closely correspond to seal script, an ancient form of the Chinese writing system.
A few characters appear in the center of the seal at the entrance to Beneath the Dragon-Queller. They are used to indicate which element Azhdaha will be infused with and are based on the Chinese seal script of these Elements: Electro (Chinese: 雷), Hydro (水), Cryo (冰), and Pyro (火). Note that the character for Electro has been simplified from its seal script form (靁) by replacing the 畾 portion with the symbol for Electro .
Four characters also appear when Yanfei's Charged Attack leaves an impression on the ground. These characters have been interpreted to be based on the Chinese glyphs for 福 "blessing," 祿 "prosperity," 商 "business," and 印 "seal" or "stamp" (right to left, top to bottom). The symbol identified as 印 is in fact identical to one seal script form of the character, while the other characters seem to be highly stylized.[Note 2]
There is also another Chinese character found in the game, which is the one on the Unusual Hilichurl's mask. This character is 伟 "Wei," the name of the CEO of MiHoYo. This character, however, does not seem to be in the same style of script.
This language can be found all over Teyvat, usually in non-mundane inscriptions such as those relating to gods, alchemy, astrology, and in association with ley lines; it also appears when magickal seals appear, such as on some chests. The alphabet is based on Latin letters like the common written language of Teyvat, but the words and grammar are based on Classical Latin instead of English. Although there is no capitalization, there is punctuation. Additionally a version of this alphabet is associated with the Abyss Order — and it may be that this was the script of Khaenri'ah.
Examples of the use of this language are:
- The red text that encircles locked objects such as chests and monuments: ad virtutem ("for virtue")
- In Domains:
- Floating text: "weekly dungeon" (in English)
- Short phrases on the walls (meaning currently unknown)
- Scattered individual glyphs, also seen in the We Will Be Reunited story teaser
- The base of alchemy tables: "ENK"
- The base of Ley Line Monoliths: parmae ("shields")
- The introduction text for Spiral Abyss: abyssus obscura ("the dark abyss")
- Mona's astrolabe: "GBL URL MKL RPL" on the outer ring (refers to the archangels Gabriel, Uriel, Michael, and Raphael[Note 3]), and N, W, S, E (north, west, south, east) on the inner ring.[Note 4]
- A more detailed version of the astrolabe is shown during Unreconciled Stars: Ex culmine locis in magno elementorum ("From the peak of light, to the greatness of the elements") and Lux se effundat in mentes dei ("May light pour out, into the minds of the god")
- Jade plates (such as those in Treasure Lost, Treasure Found): Nullum magnum ingenium fortitudoque sine mixture fortunae fuere ("There has been no great talent and strength without a tincture of luck")[Note 5]
- Magic circles with a heptagram around an elemental symbol (such as the sealed door in Mondstadt): Ex culmine lucis in magno elementorum ("From the peak of light, to greatness of the elements"), written twice
- The wall inscriptions in the Mural Room (written vertically from top to bottom, right to left): Fidelis angeli iuvant ("The angels help the faithful") and Audi tace sei voltis vos discite (roughly "Listen and be silent, if you wish to learn")
- Abyss Lectors' catalyst: ego sum fatus abyssi ergo mundo ex culmine lucis in magno obscuritatis lux se effundat in mentes abysso (possibly meaning "I am an oracle of the abyss, thus I cleanse. From the peak of light, to the greatness of darkness. May light pour out into the minds of the abyss." with references to previously found Latin phrases).
- The stone monolith commemorating the sealing of Azhdaha: highly eroded text which is mostly illegible (does not match in-game transcription)
This text and language can also be seen in the Teyvat Chapter Storyline Preview, used to write Latin phrases for each nation's story theme. The sub-texts are:
- Mondstadt: Mea libertas meus canor ("My freedom is my song")
- Liyue: Ruat caelum fiat pactum ("Let the contract be made, though the heavens fall")[Note 6]
- Inazuma: Perpetua perennis impervia ("Perpetual, perennial, impervious")
- Sumeru: Sub floreis lumen sagacitatis ("Under the flowery things, is the light of sagacity")
- Fontaine: Iustitia omnia vincit ("Justice conquers all")[Note 7]
- Natlan: Surge vir fortis i natam victoriam ("Rise, O strong man, and go to your destined victory")
- Snezhnaya: Ducam regina mea gloria haud pluribus impar (roughly "Let me lead my queen to near unmatched glory")[Note 8]
The glyphs of the alphabet are divided into top and bottom half by a thin but deliberate gap — usually the full glyph appears, but in two cases only half of the glyph is shown:
- The event menu for Unreconciled Stars uses only the bottom half of the glyphs: somnia ("dreams") for Unknown Star, ierunt ("they have gone") for Star of Deceitful Dreams, and caelum ("sky") for Star of Destiny
- In the quest A Herald Without Adherents, two texts above a deceased Abyss Mage use only the top half of the glyphs, and appears rotated by 180 degrees as well in the second example. The normally orientated text reads fatae parcae (referring to the fatae and the parcae) and the rotated text reads fati textrix ("the weaver of fate"). The latter appears to relate to the "Loom of Fate" mentioned by Dainsleif. When the text appears, Paimon asks: "Is that the script of Khaenri'ah?," and the Khaenri'ahn Dainsleif begins to read it.
This is a language observed to be used by Abyss Mages to manipulate hilichurls. According to their description in the Adventurer Handbook, this long-forgotten language is what gives the Abyss Mages their magical power. This script is based on the Enochian alphabet, but attempts to decrypt it have only yielded unintelligible text.
It can be seen as purple symbols above the Abyss Mage when it is manipulating hilichurls, such as in the commission Spreading Evil. The script also appears in the yellow protective runes around the weak points of Automatons, where the mirrored glyphs for B, L, and G circle around the core. Ruin Guards are known to have been made by the people of Khaenri'ah, so the text is possibly used by them as well.
If you decipher the series of numbers in the Strange Notebook you get "The Fatui will strike the Golden House". The text can be deciphered by referring a book about Rex Lapis's death that can be found on Ningguang's desk. The code numbers are a modified book cipher, written in the format
[sentence]:[word]:[letter]|[letter]. The letters from these codes will spell out the message.
Nine Ruin Guards located throughout Dragonspine can be interacted with, giving you cryptic Record of Serial No. messages that altogether read "For the nation, we can't forgo this skyborne power, but we failed."
- The sign for the Zhongyuan Chop Suey stall, the sign for the unnamed building next to this stall, the sign for Xigu Antiques and all legible characters on the scrolls, the signs for Yanshang Teahouse, the sign for the Dockyard, the signs for Mingxing Jewelry and all characters on the scrolls, the sign for Northland Bank, the hanging banners in Bubu Pharmacy, and the books at Wanwen Bookstore all share the same eight symbols. Notable exceptions are the last symbol on the banner for Wanmin Restaurant, and the symbols for Wanwen Bookstore.
- The symbol identified as 印 has not been seen in the game prior to Yanfei's release. The three other characters appear throughout Liyue.
- The order seems to be based on the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.
- In older versions, it had the letters from A to L on the outer ring, and N, E, S, W (north, east, south, west) on the inner ring. East and west have been switched, possibly to reflect the order of the cardinal directions on star charts.
- Based on a quote by Seneca in Latin: Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit ("There has been no great talent without a tincture of madness").
- Based on Latin phrase Fiat justitia ruat caelum ("Let justice be done, though heavens fall").
- Based on Latin phrase Labor omnia vincit ("Work conquers all").
- Partially based on an "almost untranslatable" Latin phrase Nec pluribus impar (literally "not unequal to many").
- Teyvat Common Language Alphabet
- Letter to the Treasure Hoarders
- Letter from the Abyss Order
- 《原神》声优小剧场——「蒙德茶会」第二期 (Genshin Impact Voice Actor Theatre: "Mondstadt Tea Party" Episode 2, www.bilibili.com [06:30-08:30])
- u/solidbuta reddit post I love finding the little details in this game; if you use Yanfei's charge attack on sand, it leaves an imprint of her stamp! Does anyone know what the characters mean?
- Deciphering of the Khaenri'ah Alphabet (Chinese post), English translation
- A Herald Without Adherents