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Languages

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"Inscribed on it was a circle with a much smaller circle inside and at the bottom of it. Tarduk frowned. He had run across things like this before, with similar symbols. He had no idea what they meant, and neither did anyone else, so far as he knew. If they were a language - what language and spoken by whom?"
— Narrator, Riddle of the Great Beings

External Image

Languages
Matoran Alphabet.png
Society
Location Solis Magna System, Matoran Universe (formerly)
Purpose Communication


The presence of multiple races within the BIONICLE storyline requires a variety of languages which the races use to communicate with each other.

Spherus Magna

On the planet of Spherus Magna, a common language nicknamed "Agori" is primarily used amongst the resident Agori and Glatorian, along with other species. There are several other spoken and written languages as well. Mata Nui was able to understand and interact with beings of the Spherus Magna system, owing to the fact that the language in which the Great Beings programmed him was the Agori language.

Agori

Words

The following words can be literally translated into their English counterparts.

Aqua

Sea

Bara (BAH-ruh)

Barren

Bota (BAH-tuh)

Jungle

Cendox (CEN-docks)

Serpent Strike

Dormus (DOHR-muhs)

Peaceful

Magna (MAG-nuh)

Great

Marendar

Salvation

In the Spherus Magna Alternate Universe, the residents were able to communicate with those from the Matoran Universe after either populations learned of the other's language.

Alphabet

The written language of Spherus Magna and now Bara Magna differs from those of the Matoran Universe and is primarily called "Agori." However, there are some similarities, thus allowing Toa Hagah Bomonga to translate "Bara Magna" from the text inscribed in the walls of a tunnel deep beneath Metru Nui.

Skrall

The Skrall species has a separate language system, though they also speak Agori in order to interact with other tribes.

Words

Baterra (bah-TEAR-rah)

Silent Death

Bone Hunters

The Bone Hunters, vicious nomads, utilize a different writing and spoken system than other Bara Magna inhabitants.

Vorox/Zesk

Following their devolution, the Vorox and Zesk developed their own dialect, composed of a broken version of the main language and a series of gestures and whistles. Although they are unable to converse in standard Agori, Vorox and Zesk can understand the tone and intent of the language. Likewise, Malum is able to follow the intentions of speakers of the broken dialect, but cannot speak it himself.

Matoran Universe

The language of Matoran is the primary dialect among the former inhabitants of the Matoran Universe, and is the programming language of the Great Beings. After the Battle of Bara Magna, Mata Nui used the energies of the Prototype Robot to grant inhabitants of the Matoran Universe the ability to speak Agori.

Matoran

The language used by the Matoran is spoken in the majority of the Matoran Universe. The Great Beings used the language as programming language when constructing the Matoran Universe, and as such, the language would not be recognized to most reading or listening to it. An ancient version of the language exists, which is known by select beings.

The Matoran language is complex and has many dialects. These dialects are often kept similar enough so that Matoran, or other Matoran-speaking beings, can understand each other. Chutespeak (later known as Treespeak on the island of Mata Nui), which is spoken by the Le-Matoran of Metru Nui, is a form of Matoran slang.

Words

Nouns

Barraki (BUH-rock-KEE)
Warlord

Cordak (KOAR-dack)

Desolation

Hagah (HAH-gah)

Guardian

Hordika (hoar-DEE-kah)

Half-Beast, or Primal

Inika (i-NEE-kah)

The energies of a star

Jaga (JAH-guh)

Scorpion

Ka

One of the words for "Spirit"

Kane-Ra (kan-NAY-rah)

Bull

Kanohi (kah-NO-hee)

Mask

Kanoka (kah-NO-kah)

Disk

Karda (Car-duh)

Heart, or Core

Kini (kih-NEE)

Temple

Kopen (KOH-pen)

Wasp

Koro (koar-OH)

Village

Mahri (MAH-ree)

Ocean or Water

Makoki (muh-KOH-kee)

Key

Manas (MAH-nuhz)

Monster

Mangai (MAHN-gigh)

Protector

Mangaia (MAHN-gigh-uh)

Protector (archaic)
Mata (MAH-TAH)
Spirit

Metru (MET-troo)

City or District

Mistika (miss-TEE-kah)

"Spirits of the Mist"

Muaka (moo-AH-kah)

Cat, Tiger

Nuva (NOO-vah)

New

Phantoka (Fan-toke-ah)

"Spirits of the Air"

Piraka (PIE-rock-ah)

"Thief" and/or "Murderer" (Very close to an obscenity)

Rahi (rah-HEE)

Wildlife or "Not us"

Rama (RAH-mah)

Fly

Suva (SOO-vah)

Shrine

Takea (TAH-kay-AH)

King of Sharks

Toa (TOE-ah)

Hero

Tobduk (toab-duck)

Survivor

Turaga (too-RAH-gah)

Elder

Umbra (UM-bra)

Darkest part of a shadow

Vahki (vah-KEY)

Law

Valmai (Val-my)

The closest translation would be "cursed place" (archaic)

Vezon (vey-ZONN)

Double

Voya (VOE-yah)

Voyage

Wahi (wah-HEE)

Region

Verbs

Zya (ZUH)
Attack (archaic)

Prefixes/Suffixes

Av

The prefix meaning "Light"

Ba

The prefix meaning "Gravity"

Bo

The suffix meaning "Sentinel" (when following Krana)
The prefix meaning "the Green"

Ca

The suffix meaning "Clearance Worker" (when following Krana)

Ce

The prefix meaning "Psionics"

Cu

The suffix meaning "Anger" (when following Kraata)

De

The prefix meaning "Sonics"

Fa

The prefix meaning "Magnetism"

Fe

The prefix meaning "Iron"

Ga

The prefix meaning "Water"

Ja

The suffix meaning "Scout" (when following Krana)

Kal

A suffix which connotes greater power

Ko

The prefix meaning "Ice"

Kofo

The prefix meaning "Small"[1]

Kra

The prefix meaning "Shadow"

Le

The prefix meaning "Air"
Nui (NOO-ee)
The prefix and suffix meaning "Great"

Onu

The prefix meaning "Earth"

Po

The prefix meaning "Stone"

Su

The suffix meaning "Worker" (when following Krana)
The prefix meaning "Plasma"

Ta

The prefix meaning "Fire"

Ul

The suffix meaning "Disintegration" (when following Kraata)

Vo

The suffix meaning "Hunger" (when following Kraata)
The prefix meaning "Lightning"

Vu

The suffix meaning "Surveyor" (when following Krana)

Xa

The suffix meaning "Swarm Commander" (when following Krana)

Xi

The suffix meaning "Fragmentation" (when following Kraata)

Ye

The suffix meaning "Poison" (when following Kraata)

Yo

The suffix meaning "Mole" (when following Krana)

Za

The suffix meaning "Fear" (when following Kraata)
The suffix meaning "Squad Leader" (when following Krana)

Several complex terms can now be created, such as Kini-Nui (Great Temple), Onu-Wahi (Earth Region), Mata Nui (Great Spirit), Ta-Suva (Fire Shrine) and Nui-Kopen (Great wasp).

Kanohi

The various names of Kanohi mean the powers of the masks, not the shapes.

Slang/Miscellaneous

  • Akilini-Head/Kolhii-Head - An expression indicating a dolt or fool
  • Bioquake - A synonym for earthquake
  • Biostorm - A synonym for a destructive storm
  • Brother/Sister – A title that roughly means 'partner' or 'comrade in arms'. The title is normally used by those who work closely together, or fight for the same cause, usually in the same group. Nearly all Toa call other members of their team brother or sister, and often continue to call each other by the title after becoming Turaga. Artakha and Karzahni also refer to each other as 'brother', though Karzahni uses the term bitterly.
  • City of Legends - A nickname for Metru Nui. This term was coined by the Shadowed One during the Toa/Dark Hunter War, as he claimed Metru Nui would be "well and truly a city of legends since, as is well known, most legends are about the dead."
  • Dermis shell weather - An expression which indicates bad weather, predicted by Dermis Turtles when they hide in their shells for no apparent reason
  • Foolish as a Sand Snipe - An expression based on the behavior of Sand Snipes, who characteristically drown in Liquid Protodermis while attempting to drink it
  • Fire-spitter - A Le-Matoran slur for Ta-Matoran, sometimes used in a friendly context
  • Goatdog - A nickname for the Pahrak Va
  • Hold your Rahi - An expression which means to slow down
  • Kill two Gukko with one stone - An expression which means to eliminate two objectives in one action
  • Like a wild Rahi in a Knowledge Towers - An expression which indicates an out-of-control force in a fragile area
  • Makutaverse - A nickname Makuta Teridax has given to the Matoran Universe whilst under his control
  • M&D - Visorak shorthand for "mutation and disposal"
  • Not the brightest mask in the storehouse/Not the brightest Lightstone in Onu-Koro - An expression which indicates that a being has less than average intelligence
  • Nuparu's Folly - A nickname given to the Kralhi
  • Old War Rahi - A veteran of war and battles
  • Pohatu - Following his destruction of the Odina Fortress, the Toa Nuva of Stone's name has become slang for causing random havoc, i.e. "when in doubt, smash everything and hope you're somewhere else when it all goes boom."
  • Rahaga - The name given to the Toa Hagah when they were mutated to look like small Rahkshi-headed creatures. This name was made up by Roodaka (Rahkshi + Hagah).
  • Roodaka - The name of this Vortixx has become a slang word for treachery due to her betraying of both the Dark Hunters and the Brotherhood of Makuta.
  • Shambler - A nickname for a Matoran under the effect of the Vahki Vorzakh's Staff of Erasing
  • Spiriah - The name of this Makuta has become a slang word for failure due to his unsuccessful experiment on the Skakdi.
  • Stalking Kinloka - A nickname given to the Kinloka used on Zakaz to set off traps ahead so that the Skakdi will have a clear path
  • Surfacer - An Onu-Matoran nickname for a Matoran from another region
  • Tarakava Bait - An expression which indicates 'as good as dead'
  • Tip of the statue - A Po-Matoran expression meaning 'just the beginning'
  • Toa of Twilight - A nickname coined by Radiak for Takanuva after his Shadow Leech attack due to him possessing both Light and Shadow powers.
  • Tunnel Fox - A nickname for the Nuhvok Va
  • Vahki Bones/Makuta Bones/Lava Bones/Rahi Bones - an expression which indicates that someone is as good as dead
  • What are you waiting for? Naming Day? - An expression intended to prompt someone to move faster or accomplish something quicker
  • Whistling past Makuta's lair - An expression which means to speak excessively or constantly, sometimes about one's courageous acts, to draw attention away from the fact that the speaker is afraid

Grammar

The grammar of the Matoran language is similar, but not completely identical, to English. Plurals are the major difference; any Matoran-based word seemingly has no plural form, and therefore it must be taken from context whether they are talking about an individual or a number of creatures. Also, descriptive words are sometimes placed after the word described, as in Metru Nui, which is translated as "Great City," not "City Great."

Alphabet

The Voya Nui Alphabet

Most characters in the BIONICLE world have adopted a standard writing system for the Matoran language, with letters and numbers both resembling circles with lines and smaller circles inside of them. Being a fairly ancient language, there are many different variations on how the language is written. On Voya Nui, the Matoran have a slight variation on the normal alphabet, using hexagons instead of circles, and the "K" being slightly different as well. This version may have originated on the Southern Continent when Voya Nui was still part of it.

Ancient Matoran texts are illegible to anyone but few who have studied such ancient texts. Most text is transcribed onto stone tablets or painted onto a surface. The only known paper in the Matoran Universe is the ancient scroll left by the Great Beings inside the Great Temple.

Letters

These are the Matoran letters with the corresponding ones from English:

English Metru Nui Voya Nui
A LetterA.png VoyaLetter A.png
B LetterB.png VoyaLetter B.png
C LetterC.png VoyaLetter C.png
D LetterD.png VoyaLetter D.png
E LetterE.png VoyaLetter E.png
F LetterF.png VoyaLetter F.png
G LetterG.png VoyaLetter G.png
H LetterH.png VoyaLetter H.png
I LetterI.png VoyaLetter I.png
J LetterJ.png VoyaLetter J.png
K LetterK.png VoyaLetter K.png
L LetterL.png VoyaLetter L.png
M LetterM.png VoyaLetter M.png
N LetterN.png VoyaLetter N.png
O LetterO.png VoyaLetter O.png
P LetterP.png VoyaLetter P.png
Q LetterQ.png VoyaLetter Q.png
R LetterR.png VoyaLetter R.png
S LetterS.png VoyaLetter S.png
T LetterT.png VoyaLetter T.png
U LetterU.png VoyaLetter U.png
V LetterV.png VoyaLetter V.png
W LetterW.png VoyaLetter W.png
X LetterX.png VoyaLetter X.png
Y LetterY.png VoyaLetter Y.png
Z LetterZ.png VoyaLetter Z.png
Danish
Danish Metru Nui Voya Nui
Æ VoyaLetter æ.png
Ø VoyaLetter ø.png
ŠVoyaLetter å.png

Numbers

The Number system uses a similar approach:

Arabic Metru Nui Voya Nui
0 Number 0.png VoyaNumber 0.png
1 Number 1.png VoyaNumber 1.png
2 Number 2.png VoyaNumber 2.png
3 Number 3.png VoyaNumber 3.png
4 Number 4.png VoyaNumber 4.png
5 Number 5.png VoyaNumber 5.png
6 Number 6.png VoyaNumber 6.png
7 Number 7.png VoyaNumber 7.png
8 Number 8.png VoyaNumber 8.png
9 Number 9.png VoyaNumber 9.png

Skakdi

The Skakdi have their own language, developed on their homeland of Zakaz, in which they speak to one another.

Zyglak

The Zyglak have also developed their own language.[2]

Trivia

  • Other characters were released for use in foreign languages. These characters include Ä and Ö.
  • In the BIONICLE: Quest for Makuta board game, small key tokens with Matoran letters and numbers could be found, as well as Matoran letters on the edges of each board piece. They have no apparent order, besides the fact that joining the board pieces by matching letters, the picture of Mata Nui could be joined like a puzzle.
  • On the Nintendo DS version of BIONICLE Heroes, runes containing letters of the Matoran alphabet were used to unlock cheats for the player to use.
  • In several downloadable fonts, and in the fonts contained on the Mask of Light DVD, a different system of pictures is used for numbers. However, this system has never actually been seen in the story. There is also no number "0" in this version.
Arabic Matoran
1 Number1.png
2 Number2.png
3 Number3.png
4 Number4.png
5 Number5.png
6 Number6.png
7 Number7.png
8 Number8.png
9 Number9.png

References

  1. BZPower: Farshtey Feed, 6. August 2010
  2. BZPower: Farshtey Feed, 11. May 2010 (archive)