Languages don’t always have to arise naturally. Especially for fantasy worlds, some people create a constructed language, a so-called conlang. There is one in Assassin’s Creed too. Namely that of the Isu. It first appeared in Assassin’s Creed 2 from 2009. Now fans have taken the first steps to translate them successfully.
Who or what are the Isu? The Isu in the Assassin’s Creed universe are a more sophisticated species and civilization responsible for creating mankind. They are often viewed by the people themselves as gods or supernatural beings. Since Assassin’s Creed 2, their presence has run through almost every game in the Ubisoft series.
Darby McDevitt, Narrative Director of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, celebrates this achievement on Twitter.
Link to Twitter content
How do you translate an unknown language?
In contrast to some other games, Assassin’s Creed did not make it easy to create the language. Because you don’t just use an existing grammar and then exchange words. The Isu language is in fact independent. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla now provided the missing and crucial clues to translate the unknown language.
In two videos, fansite Access the Animus explains how they with comparisons and the process of elimination were able to deduce the various grammatical cases and conjugations and more by passing down numerous translations of the language into English provided by the game itself.
The rules of the Isu language
Access the Animus derive a total of five rules that language follows:
- The verb “to be” is always placed at the end of a word
- Prepositions follow the word they are referring to
- Numbers always start with a point
- Adjectives always come before the word they describe
- The genitive is always used before the word it refers to
A start: However, this has only just taken the first step and the translators still have a lot of work to do. Because like the Isu in the story of Assassin’s Creed, their language is not completely uniform. There are elementary differences in the letters and sentence structure in the individual documents.
A new riddle: With this knowledge, Access the Animus tried to translate the texts of the Collector’s Edition by Valhalla. In doing so, however, they came across a word whose meaning cannot be clearly deduced: it could be the term “family” or “DNA”.
What exactly is behind it should be hidden in a pond in the game world based on the remaining translations and could provide more information about the background story of Assassin’s Creed.
More constructed languages
In linguistics, so-called conlangs – i.e. constructed languages - are a separate research area. The most common representative is Esperanto, which even has some native speakers. But also Elvish by JRR Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings), Klingon by Marc Okrand (Star Trek) and Dothraki by David J. Peterson (Game of Thrones) were able to achieve quite a bit of fame.
more on the subject
Learn alien language in Star Citizen
But the Isu language is not unique in the video game sector either. Star Citizen, for example, published hundreds of pages of grammars with which you can learn the alien languages from the SciFi universe. We explain exactly how they work in a separate article.
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