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The Written Word

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Rondstat

Rondstat

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Being a compilation of the written languages of Runescape. What can we learn about Gielinor through lexicography?

Now with pretty pictures!

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CIPHERS & ADOPTED LANGUAGE
These tend to be the most well-developed writing systems in the game, either adopted from real world languages, or direct ciphers to English.


Common
(Roman Alphabet):

The most regularly seen writing system in the game, used not only for the common human tongue, but also to write Infernal, the lingua franca of the Zarosian Empire. As Common was the dominant language of 1st Age humans, and Infernal (possibly) has a unique writing system (see below), it would seem written common originated with humanity (possibly on Teragard), and was later adapted to Infernal when Zaros assumed the human settlement of Senntisten in the 2nd Age.

That said, the Desert Quest series establishes that our character has at least some facility with interpreting non-common alphabets, and the universal appearance of books in the common tongue/script can likely be treated as a game mechanic.


Naragi
(Fvthark):

The written language of Guthix and, presumably, the Naragi, we see this at the World Gate, the Sword of Edicts, Naragun, and throughout Guthix's chambers. This appears to be a 'runic' script in the typical fantasy sense of the word, with the letters themselves apparently imbued with power, signifying magic wards and portals at every use, though this may just be because Guthix is the only known figure to use this writing system.

23-Oct-2015 01:07:18 - Last edited on 31-Dec-2016 07:56:48 by Rondstat

Rondstat

Rondstat

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Vampyric:
(unique):

The written language of Vampyrium, seen throughout Myreque VI and in Drakan's symbol. The characters are based on the eight great Vyre houses, and it is written like an alphanumeric cipher, with its letters' pronunciation changing depending on context. (thanks to BlaivSiocled for this!)


Wushanko
(Hanzi/Kanji):

The "strange letters of the Eastern Lands" are oft referred to, but can only be seen on our PoP map. The language (which seems to be a mock-up of Japanese and Mandarin) is likely ideographic, and (based on Ak Haranu) follows a object-subject-verb pattern, with unique pluralization conventions. We see two further examples of writing in the Arc~

Written on the sides of houses and posted on gema around the island of Cyclosis, these characters seem to be related to the recent zyclops invasion - perhaps a ward or charm. This may not constitute a language.

This script only appears on this npc, inscribed onto an ofuda that enchants the jiangshi of Goshima into a state of undeath. A relic of powerful necromancy, this is likely a magical alphabet, exclusive to grimoires and rituals. Perhaps it is related to Haricanto and the Eastern Occult?


Old Zanarian
(Germanic symbols):

An old writing system, uncommonly used in Zanaris, it appears on the cosmic altar and in a coded message from Fairy Nuff. Like Naragi, it is a phonetic alphabet, and it's possible it originated as a cipher for this older writing system, either via V and his followers (Guthixians who built the altar), or the fairies themselves (contacted by Guthix before his arrival on Gielinor).

23-Oct-2015 01:07:33 - Last edited on 31-Dec-2016 07:56:09 by Rondstat

Rondstat

Rondstat

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BLOCK SCRIPTS
This is a family of visually-similar writing systems. While some are likely graphical placeholders, at least one has been developed with deliberate meaning, and it's possible these languages are meant to share a common ancestor.


Drakkerkin
(unique):

The ancient writing system of the Dragonkin is the oldest known script in the multiverse, and possibly its most powerful. We see this at Daemonheim, in the QBD lair/Rimmington tunnels, at the Motherlode Maw, and on our Rings of Kinship. This writing system appears to be a truly magical script, its power enough to seal away the immensely powerful QBD, ward in the chaotic energies of the Rift, or even act as gatekeeper to whatever strange energies power the Dragonkin visage in the Edimmu lair.

We have only ever seen this used on Dactyl structures, and the use of different scripts to stand for Dragonkin language elsewhere may imply that this is a 'special' writing system, used for its inherent magic, while a separate script is used for more mundane Drakkerkin writing. However, this could also just be a game mechanic.


Mahjarrat
(unique):

Bearing visual similarities to Drakkerkin script, but with a much simpler form, Mahjarrat script can be seen numerous places, including Zamorak's camp, the Barrows, and ritual circles.

Given the Kin's tenure on Freneskae, this may be a degenerated form of their writing system, found in scraps by the Children of Mah. It's also possible that the system doesn't come from the Mahjarrat at all - there are no confirmed instances of a Mahjarrat using this script. At any rate, it seems likely that in the modern age it has become a sort of 'secret script' for Zamorakians in particular, and dark mages in general.

23-Oct-2015 01:07:38 - Last edited on 31-Dec-2016 08:04:30 by Rondstat

Rondstat

Rondstat

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Occult Script
(unique):

These characters are used throughout Daemonheim's Occult floors, usually as a design motif, but occasionally arranged in rows that suggest language. Perhaps this is Bilrach's syncretization of his own language and the Drakkerkin script festooning the ancient castle? Or, maybe he just thought it looked edgy with the decor.


Smoke Script
(unique):

One of the most obscure writing systems in the game, this can only be seen on the mysterious machine in the Smoke Dungeon beneath Pollnivneach. With the origins of this machine still enshrouded, it's difficult to speculate how this language could be used - or if it's even a language at all!


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NATIVE SCRIPTS
Additional unique writing systems. These have likely not been developed as much as the ones above, introduced primarily as design elements.


Menaphite
(hieroglyphs):


The language of the Kharidian desert, possibly one of several. Though we've mostly seen this out-of-game, it does come to play in Stealing Hearts, and the pictographic nature of ancient desert writing is well-established in lore. The presence of such a unique writing system AND language compared to Guthix's first humans may indicate that the people of the desert were brought to Gielinor by Tumeken, from some other far-removed planet in the human diaspora. It's also possible that they adopted Tumeken's own language; it's worth noting that several characters appear to be related to specific Menaphite deities.

23-Oct-2015 01:07:43 - Last edited on 31-Mar-2017 06:36:30 by Rondstat

Rondstat

Rondstat

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Zarosian Infernal
(unique/alchemy):

Appearing in a few places - the Empty Throne Room, Vindicta's standard, and affixed to Zaros' body, this seems to be a more portentous script, possibly a liturgical alphabet. As Zaros' first exposure to language was on Infernus, my guess is that this is actually written Infernal, and the script of the Common language was adapted as Infernal's writing system at the inception of the Empire - a practical measure for ruling a majority-human population.

While most would have adapted to Common characters, classic Infernal would still find use in ceremony and ritual. Notably, Zaros' throne room contains text using both Infernal AND Common alphabets.


Aviantese
(unique):

An apparently 'runic' script, this appears most prominently around the borders of our clan citadels, powering the enchantments that enable their levitation, and on our clan summoning obelisks. Though any knowledge beyond this is speculative, given that the islands of Abbinah float naturally, I'm inclined to think that this is a common script, given magical purpose, rather than an inherently mystical writing system.


Chantlish
(unique):

Language of the Goebies, its primary use appears to be ceremonial. Chantlish appears on scrolls affixed to Goebie elders - while most use the same three characters, some have extensive text. Mazcab temples use what may be a more ornamental form. (if anyone could post a pic of the scroll from the Ancient Goebie in 'Call of the Ancients,' I would be endlessly grateful!)

23-Oct-2015 01:07:49 - Last edited on 31-Dec-2016 08:30:03 by Rondstat

Rondstat

Rondstat

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Ancient Saradominist
(unique):

While this language is only briefly alluded to during the Sea Slug series, Saradomin's latest appearance introduces a new writing system, likely befitting the language in which he 'prefers to hear prayers' (thanks Kitty!).

Given Common's prominence throughout history, I'd surmise that this is not, in fact, a human language, but rather the language of New Domina and the Icyene - Saradomin's chosen.


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PSEUDO-SCRIPTS
Meant to depict generic language, these are some of the game's most prominent writing systems.


Wizard Script
(unique):

Not actually a defined writing system in Gielinor, but rather a graphical catch-all whenever developers want to indicate indecipherable writing, but don't have the budget/inclination to develop something new. Originally seen in wide application on the Wizard's Tower Rework, it has been painted all over World Events, Ports, quests, and a myriad of other newer pieces of content. Can be considered non-canon.


Faladian Script
(unique):

Seen most prominently in Falador, though it's made its way into other newer pieces of content. It's unclear whether this is meant to represent "Common" without depicting a particular language, or whether it's simply a graphical choice.




Beyond what's listed here, Runescape depicts numerous encryptions, symbolic legends, and unique numerical systems. I believe I've covered everything that's likely to be construed as a language, but if I've missed one, please let me know! And of course, if you have any insight or theories, I'd love to hear 'em!

23-Oct-2015 02:23:46 - Last edited on 31-Dec-2016 08:43:42 by Rondstat

Penny Drakis
May Member 2015

Penny Drakis

Posts: 724Steel Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
You forgot the
Zanarian
script from the back of Fairy Nuff's certificate and the cosmic altar!

It is likely old, like multiple fairy lifetimes old. And fairies are very long lived as well going by Fairy Nuff's reminiscing about her college days about 200 years ago. It probably hasn't been used in common communications on Zanaris a few generations, and not even in royal documents, since the Fairy GodFather's thugs completely missed the message on the certificate.
Humility is self-destruction, pride is the destruction of all else. And He said, "
Let there be light.
"
And then there were none.

23-Oct-2015 02:55:27 - Last edited on 23-Oct-2015 03:53:21 by Penny Drakis

Rondstat

Rondstat

Posts: 2,770Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Penny Drakis said:
You forgot the
Zanarian
script from the back of Fairy Nuff's certificate and the cosmic altar!

It is likely old, like multiple fairy lifetimes old. And fairies are very long lived as well going by Fairy Nuff's reminiscing about her college days about 200 years ago. It probably hasn't been used in common communications on Zanaris a few generations, and not even in royal documents, since the Fairy GodFather's thugs completely missed the message on the certificate.


Thanks! I believe this isn't actually a written language so much as a cipher to let us know how to get to secret fairy land (correct me if I'm wrong), but I've added it to encryptions. I dig that fairy style.

23-Oct-2015 16:38:37

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