The Let's Play Archive

Ar Tonelico II

by Feinne

Part 61: Hymnos and You

Hymnos and You:

All of this is sourced at the Hymnos Conlang wiki for those interested in more depth. I'm going to stay pretty simple here.

So let's just start with the most basic thing, the glyphs that make up the letters in Hymnos.

We can tell the case of a Hymnos glyph by the presence or absence of a black dot in the glyph. Its position will vary but it is always very obvious. Numbers zero through four in Hymnos are represented by square waves. Adding a pair of dots to the front of them adds five to the value.

The strange glyphs aren't what really defines Hymnos as a language, though. It's the construction of Hymnos statements that does. A basic Hymnos sentence has the following structure:

(emotion sounds) (verb) (object) (compound or object)

So there's two important things to think about with this. The first is that there is no subject. This is because of the second thing, the emotion sounds. By including them we are implying that the subject is ourselves. So what the hell are emotion sounds? Let's take break them down a bit further. Our emotion sounds are structured as follows:

(Intensity) (Type) (Context)

So in our emotion sounds we're going to express how we feel about what's to come, how strongly we feel, and for how long we want to feel it. There's a table in the wiki that lays out the emotion sounds for each role. The most common intensity sounds are 'Was'- "Very much", 'Wee'- "Fairly", and 'Ma'- "One's presence of mind". Our most common type sounds are 'yea'- "Happiness", 'ki'- "Concentration", 'num'- "Nothing". Our most common context sound by far is 'ra'- "I want this to last".

Let's take a look at a simple Hymnos sentence:

"Was yea ra chs Hymmnos mea."

Let's start by parsing the emotion sounds. Yea says we're happy, and was says we're very happy. Ra then says that not only are we very happy, but we want that happiness to last. So now let's look at the rest of the sentence. Our verb is chs, which means 'become'. Hymmnos of course means 'song', and mea means 'myself'. So the final sentence is made up of these words and concepts:

(Very Much) (Happy) (I want this to last) (become) (song) (myself)

And the completed sentence means: "I will be very glad to turn myself into a song."

If we omit the emotion sounds, Hymnos grammar becomes relatively standard subject-verb-object in structure. For example:

"Faura yerwe murfan anw sol ciel" - The little bird chirps her feelings to the world.

The distinction between statements with and without emotion is actually quite important. Only statements with the emotional sounds can be parsed by the Tower as magic (though emotionless statements are also common in Hymnos performances, they just aren't coding sequences). A great example of this is in EXEC_HARMONIUS. The majority of the song is emotionless, and the main emotional statement of the song is its chorus:

"Was ki ra revateil whou Metafalica crushue, Mule"

Our verb is 'crushue', which means craft. We have nouns before it, which means we aren't the actors of this verb. 'Was ki ra' is sort of a hard thing to properly translate, it's basically indicating that we're concentrating heavily on the subject in question. They translate it as 'Oh (noun)' and that seems reasonable to me. The meaning of the world 'revateil' is pretty transparent really. 'Whou' means 'who/whom' and in this context 'Metafalica' refers not to the Hymnos METAFALICA but to a song of hope. Mule is Mir's name in Japanese. So if we just lay this out in order:

(Oh) (reyvateil) (who) (song of hope) (craft) (Mir)

Which is probably best parsed as:

Oh Mir, Reyvateil who crafted the song of hope

Which is then followed by other statements in the song which are intended to follow the line that 'gets her attention' as it were.

You might have noticed that this all only applies to Hymnos songs with EXEC in the title. The METHODS are all in Pastalian, which is a horrible mess. The words sort of merge together to make a really complicated mess. I don't even know enough Pastalian to try and do an example of it, there's an explanation in the Conlang wiki if you're really interested.

This covers a lot of the general rules of Hymnos. So here's your mission, if you choose to accept it. Try to translate the Hymnos in the opening (it's in the shots in the first update). NISA has one translation, see how close/far you think it actually is from the Hymnos statements. Remember that the last part of the wiki is a big Hymnos dictionary, which you will obviously need.