"Matau the Singer! Down talk, up singing! Friend and laughter! In lifedawn years past, was known Matau Kewa Champion! Matau, great Turaga of Le-Koro and soul of the forest people! Gone! Gone! Taken by Makuta's Rahi!"
- "The villagers here speak in an odd manner, but I think that I understand what they mean."
— Kongu and Takua's thoughts, Mata Nui Online Game
Part of a series on: BIONICLE Lore
links to the corresponding section for Generation 2
The species in the BIONICLE storyline communicate using a variety of Languages.
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.
The primary language system used by the most populous species. 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.
In the Spherus Magna Alternate Universe, the residents were able to communicate with those from the Matoran Universe after each population learned the other's language.
The written language of Spherus Magna differs from those of the Matoran Universe and is also 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.
The Skrall species has a separate language system, though they also speak Agori in order to interact with other tribes. Some members of the Agori tribes, such as Gelu, also knew this language.
The Bone Hunters, vicious nomads, utilize a different writing and spoken system than other Bara Magna inhabitants.
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.
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.
The language used by the Matoran is spoken in the majority of the Matoran Universe. The Great Beings used this as a 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 known for using prefixes and suffixes to indicate powers and affiliation; with this system, several complex terms can 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).
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."
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.
These are the Matoran letters with the corresponding ones from English:
Danish & Norwegian
Swedish & Finnish
These letters were provided in the Swedish localization of The Official Guide to BIONICLE.
These letters were provided in the Russian localization of The Official Guide to BIONICLE.
The Number system uses a similar approach:
Two special characters are known in the Matoran alphabet - Hyphen and punctuation. Both can be viewed in the image below:
Chutespeak, and later Treespeak on the island of Mata Nui, is the fast-paced and unusual dialect of the Matoran language spoken by the Le-Matoran of Metru Nui. When the population was forcefully migrated to Mata Nui, they retained this dialect, and it was renamed.
Chutespeak is spoken almost exclusively by the Le-Matoran of Le-Metru in Metru Nui. Only Turaga Matau, Toa Nuva Lewa, Toa Mahri Kongu, and the Le-Matoran of Metru Nui speak it fluently and properly. However, Chutespeak phrases were sometimes used by Matoran from the other Metru, such as "firespitter" used to insult the Ta-Matoran. Toa Metru Onewa was particularly known for his use of Chutespeak as an insult.
Defilak speaks toned-down Chutespeak, despite being native to an island other than Metru Nui. This is because he visited Metru Nui in his job as a Trader, liked the dialect, and began using it himself.
In Chutespeak/Treespeak, many of the terms used are created by compounding or hyphenating two words. Many words like those mentioned are just emphasized by prefixes such as quick-, bad-, slow-, etc. There are also suffixes like -bones. However, not all words can be combined. Chutespeak rarely joins more than two words or words of more than two syllables.
In addition to vocabulary, Chutespeak also has its own syntax. This unique method of forming sentences is found mainly in its Treespeak incarnation in Le-Koro. This original usage avoids using articles and state of being verbs and often replaces prepositional phrases with single words. For example, "Feared you were Rahi but no Rama plays Flute like that, so downtree we come and greet!" Or, "Traveler beware- darktime come! Matau stolen, Lewa gone! Le-Matoran prepare for battleflight!" More recent speakers of Treespeak like Toa Nuva Lewa have had this toned down to make them more comprehensible.
The Skakdi speak to one another in their own language. The only known Skakdi word is Irnakk, which is the same as "boogeyman."
The Visorak can express complex ideas in their own eponymous language. In Visorak, the name of the Visorak species translates to "stealers of life" or "poisonous scourge."
The Zyglak also speak their own language.
The Language of the Flyers
Flying Rahi, such as Ice Bats and birds, speak their own language. Kualus can communicate in this language through clicks, whistles and gestures, and he taught Nuju this skill. As a Turaga, Nuju speaks this language at almost all times.
Keetongu and his species spoke their own language.
- As the name "Treespeak" did not make sense in Le-Metru, an urban area that lacked trees, a contest was held on BZPower to make a new name. The winning phrase was "Chutespeak".
- Characters who use Chutespeak are some of Greg Farshtey's least favorite characters to write about.
- In BIONICLE: The Journey to One, Toa Lewa's manner of speaking calls to mind the Treespeak dialect he spoke in the Generation 1 story.
- Toa Lewa did not use Treespeak in any media from 2001-2002, although he retroactively used treespeak in the books based on the comics.
- 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.
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