Phyrexian (language)

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This key is used for transcribing Phyrexian to more common characters.
For the creatures that use this language, see Phyrexia#Phyrexian life forms.

The Phyrexian language is a complete written, and spoken language, constructed and developed for Scars of Mirrodin block.

Proposed syntax tree synthesizing information from several posts.[1][2][3]

It uses a novel alphabet, with primary glyphs attached to a central line that runs continuously to the end of a sentence, save for line breaks. Both the beginning and end of sentences are explicitly marked. It is written vertically, and read top to bottom.[4] These features lend it an appearance similar to a real-world script such as traditional Mongolian which is written vertically, and the the early Irish Ogham due to the use of a stemline along the characters. Horizontally written variants exist, often when mixed with English text, and notably including the Elesh Norn promo.

Translation[edit | edit source]

Proposed partial consonant chart[5]

A fragmentary understanding of the Phyrexian language has been acquired by the study of those cases where an English translation exists, and a transcription key developed. Transcription efforts are hindered by the low resolution of many samples, which can lead to confusion between similar diacritics. In particular, it is possible that ' and ` are equivalent.

The art for Dominaria's Phyrexian Scriptures, shared by its artist in high resolution, renewed interest in translation.[6] The text in that artwork appears to be the flavor text of Dark Ritual (Urza's Saga). That translation effort also yielded a proposed syntax tree for the language.[1]

In the study of pronunciation, the most recent theory proposes that the main glyph determines the manner of articulation, while diacritics determine the place of articulation.[7] A further theory suggests that the vowel glyphs are determined by their articulation, rather than being arbitrary. Each vowel is composed of three lines on one side of the staff, one line longer than the other two, sometimes with a "hook" on the long line. The height of the long line indicates closed to openness, the side of the staff indicates front or back vowels, and the presence of a hook indicates roundedness. These can be further modified by diacritics. The same effort produced a partial association of consonant sounds with Phyrexian characters.[5]

Samples[edit | edit source]

Elesh Norn Promo[edit | edit source]

Phyrexian is used for the card text of Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (Judge Gift).

Sample Transcription Rough word-for-word translation Known English equivalent
Card name Phy EleshNorn 1 name.png 'ZE_^Mx| T^HD^T^ MxNxL'ZNx A`KT^HZXx.[8] Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[8] Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Type line Phy EleshNorn 2 type.png N^LV^Z" 'X:E'ZN* X:N*LV^XxD^.[8] Legendary Creature - Praetor[8] Legendary Creature — Praetor
1. line of rules text Phy EleshNorn 3 text.png N"VFXvT^D^QX:T.[8] Vigilance[8] Vigilance
2. line of rules text Phy EleshNorn 4 text.png N*E| M:L_^_^| X^O| X^N*Q'X:Q_^N*| EN*O'X:EE'ZN* +2/+2 N^FXxLXvEX^.[8] (present tense) Other our controlled creatures +2/+2 receive.[8] Other creatures you control get +2/+2.
3. line of rules text Phy EleshNorn 5 text.png N*E| X^O| ON*T^JJX^Ax| X^N*Q'XvE_^| N*E'X:EE'ZN* -2/-2 N^FXxLXvEX^.[8] (present tense) Our opponents controlled creatures -2/-2 receive.[8] Creatures your opponents control get -2/-2.
1. line of flavor text Phy EleshNorn 6 text.png First sentence:
N*E| X:HD^Z"ON*Xx| Z^FGXxN*| M:L_^_^X:ENxOOZ^N` N^F'ZFA`E'ZEXx.[8]
First sentence:
(present tense) Gitaxians [among themselves] other worlds whisper.[8]
The Gitaxians whisper among themselves of other worlds.
2. line of flavor textPhy EleshNorn 6 text.png Second sentence:
ZL| Z^FFXxN*| X:OT^LT^ 'X:L'X:L| 'NL| ~X:GD^N*X:ENxOZ^N` 'ZEMxNxL'ZNx T^LX:GXx.[8]
Second sentence:
If they exist, [we must/will] Perfect world's magnificence bring.[8]
If they exist, we must bring Phyrexia's magnificence to them.

Dark Discoveries[edit | edit source]

Phyrexian can be found in the speech bubbles of Dark Discoveries Part 3.[9]

Sample Transcription Rough word-for-word translation Known English equivalent
Page 5 Phy DarkDiscoveries 1 page5.png 'XxLXxXx T^LX*T TFV^ET^M:.
'X*L~XvL| Z^^XvNxLV^XxD^| 'XxOVHL^T.[10]
Page 6Phy DarkDiscoveries 2 page6.png NxOO'ZHNxTT"E| Z^^TH'ZHNx| VAxXxOAxAx.[10]

All Will Be One[edit | edit source]

Phyrexian can be found in each scene of All Will Be One.[11]

According to Doug Beyer, there is a system for pronunciation, and the speech heard in this promotional video is accurately pronounced spoken Phyrexian.[4] It is uncertain if the spoken phrases are pronunciations of the corresponding writing.

Sample Transcription Rough word-for-word translation Known English equivalent
Scene 1
Phy AllWillBeOne 1.png
N*E| X^O| 'ZOX:GD^N*T^L~X:GT| N*E| V^T^E~X:HT[8] (present tense) Our perfect work(now?) [flesh/is flesh/made flesh][8] We are perfection made flesh.[11]
Scene 2+3
Phy AllWillBeOne 2.pngPhy AllWillBeOne 3.png

X^O| 'ZQC`FAx| N*E| X:OT^'ZGZ"| N*EN*O| 'N'X:EE'ZN*| MxOX:~NxLFEX:[8]
(present tense) (?) Our voice (to) (now) lost broken creatures [calls out][8] Our voice calls out to the lost and broken (creatures)[11]
Scene 4+5
Phy AllWillBeOne 4.pngPhy AllWillBeOne 5.png

Z^_^FX:| N"VFON*'XxENxQX^N*| 'ZQZ"'ZONxV[8]
(present tense) Death [they fear] even as immortality [we offer][8] They fear death even as we offer immortality[11]
Scene 6+7
Phy AllWillBeOne 6.pngPhy AllWillBeOne 7.png

N*E'ZQT| MxHX:D^LX:~X:GD^N"X:ENxGZ^N`| T^LXx_^GAx| X:D^EX:GZ^[8]
(We must/will) this world's false skin flay (to now/in future) new Perfect world face reveal[8] We will flay the false skin of this world to reveal the face of a new Phyrexia[11]
Scene 8
Phy AllWillBeOne 8.png
'ZQ| MxNxL'ZNxT^L'X:T| 'ZFFN*XxNvQ'ZE&[8] (perfect tense) Great Work [has begun][8] The Great Work has begun[11]

New Phyrexia[edit | edit source]

Phyrexian can be found in each scene of New Phyrexia.[12] Presumably, the non-English speech heard is also accurately pronounced Phyrexian.[4]

Sample Transcription Rough word-for-word translation Known English equivalent
Scene 1
Phy NewPhyrexia 1.png
'ZQ|MxHX:D^ X:Xx ~X:GD^N" X:ENxOZ^N` MxNxL'ZNxT^'X:FT| 'Xv_^ T^L~X:ET[8] (perfect tense) Great New Perfect world Work [was made?][8] The Great Work of New Phyrexia is complete.[12]
Scene 2
Phy NewPhyrexia 2.png
N*E| V^J'ZZ"'ZO'ZVZ"VOVV| TL'ZT^| MxHX:D^LX:Xx'ZT^T^EN*FN* N^F_^Q'ZENv[8] (present tense) Machine Orthodoxy mana? new sources power[8] New sources of mana power the Machine Orthodoxy[12]
Scene 3
Phy NewPhyrexia 3.png
N*ETD^HZ^T^| 'ZOZO'ZGV| ~XvGD^N* Xv_^XxN*E N*GMx| OMxX^TT^GD^GN*[8] (present tense?) Mirrodin heart Perfect race? skin [(beneath?) burns][8] Beneath Phyrexian skin, the heart of Mirrodin burns[12]
Scene 4
Phy NewPhyrexia 4.png
N*E| X:N*OT^T^T^| N"EX^FXx 'ZFA`EE'ZXx| XxOYFD^Xx N^FAxX:LT^'ZEZ"[8] (present tense) Body whole is (but /present tense/) whispers mind splinter[8] The body is whole, but whispers splinter the mind[12]
Scene 5+6
Phy NewPhyrexia 5.pngPhy NewPhyrexia 6.png
V^JJ'ZZ"| TH'ZGNx| THAxEX^| 'X:L'X:L[8] Machines Father come [will][8] The Father (of Machines) is coming[12]
Scene 7
Phy NewPhyrexia 7.png
T^L'X:TON*'Xv_^Z^FX^HMx[8] Work unmaker (or 'Making undoer')[8] Destroyer.[12]

Phyrexian Scriptures[edit | edit source]

Phyrexian can be found in the artwork for Phyrexian Scriptures.[13]

Sample Transcription Rough word-for-word translation Known English equivalent
Phy PhyrexianScriptures.pngPhyrexian Scriptures Sketch.png Top row: Z'QMxZxL
Main text:
MxNxLZ'Nx | V^J'Z"Z_HZ'Nx | V^JJZ'Z"THZ'GNx | V^T^_L_~Z*_ET | N^FD^QN*ET.
N*V"HZxMv | MxNxLZ'NxZ^FMvMv | Z'FFN*ZxNvQZ'EZx[14]
Top row: ??
Main text:
Phyrexia from void evolved.
Great Yawgmoth ?? Great Machine Father perfection saw.
Thus Grand Evolution began.[1]
Top row: ??
Main text:
From void evolved Phyrexia. Great Yawgmoth, Father of Machines, saw its perfection. Thus The Grand Evolution began.[1]

Phyrexian Altar[edit | edit source]

Phyrexian can be found in the artwork for Phyrexian Altar (Ultimate Masters).[15]

Sample Transcription Rough word-for-word translation Known English equivalent
Phy PhyrexianAltar UMA.png ON*XxN*Mx +negative-skin[2] Unskin[2]
Phy PhyrexianAltar2 UMA.png ~ZQM^XxL

Yawgmoth's Testament[edit | edit source]

Phyrexian can be found in the artwork for Yawgmoth's Testament.

Sample Transcription Rough word-for-word translation Known English equivalent
EIzAGlOXUAYS5li.jpg Columns from left to right:

Column 1: Testament (of) Yawg-

Column 2: -moth

Column 3: Can that in-exile +present

Column 4: face(up) +present-and cards

Column 5: (this)turn play.

Column 6: If-would cards

Column 7: to-graveyard

Column 8: to-exile-or

Column 9: (this)turn put

Column 10: instead library

Column 11: bottom (of) put.

Column 12: 2 [unknown phoneme] Sorcery[3]

Yawgmoth's Testament

Until end of turn, you may play face-up

cards you own from exile.

If a card would be put into your graveyard

or exile from anywhere this turn, put it on

the bottom of your library instead.

2B Sorcery[3]

Phyrexian Swamp[edit | edit source]

Phyrexian is used for the card text of Swamp (Jumpstart, #58) and the lore blurb describing the Swamp.[16]

Sample Transcription Rough word-for-word translation Known English equivalent
Card name Phyrexianswamp1.jpg XxLMxX*T Swamp
Type line Phyrexianswamp2.jpg N"K'XvF'ZXxNxOZ^N^ XxLMxX*T Basic Land - Swamp
Lore blurb Phyrexianblurb.jpg XxLMxX*T
Sheoldred, Maker of Whispers[2]
Sheoldred, Whispering One[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b c d citrus_inferno. "Evidence the new Phyrexian Scripture art translates to Dark Ritual Flavor Text". Retrieved on 2018-03-14.
  2. a b c d e Citrus_Inferno (June 23, 2020). "Partial Translation of the Phyrexian Swamp Lore". Reddit.
  3. a b c Citrus_Inferno (November 9, 2019). "A partial translation of Yawgmoth's Testament". Reddit.
  4. a b c Doug Beyer (November 24, 2010). "Continuum". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b citrus_inferno, A partial parsing of the Phyrexian alphabet, /r/magicTCG
  6. Joseph Meehan. "For my first ever tweet I'll kick it off right...". Retrieved on 2018-03-14.
  7. jankestmage (March 13, 2018). "New Phyrexian Language, comment 371". MTG Salvation.
  8. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj MOON_E (March 13, 2018). "New Phyrexian Language, comment 368". MTG Salvation.
  9. Jenna Helland (May 19, 2011). "Dark Discoveries". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. a b Savil (March 13, 2018). "New Phyrexian Language, comment 350". MTG Salvation.
  11. a b c d e f All Will Be One (Video). YouTube (2018-03-14).
  12. a b c d e f g New Phyrexia (Video). YouTube (2018-03-14).
  13. Joseph Meehan (2017). "Phyrexian Scriptures". ArtStation.
  14. Corv (March 13, 2018). "Translating Phyrexian Scriptures". MTG Salvation.
  15. Yigit Koroglu. "Phyrexian Altar". ArtStation. Retrieved on 2018-12-16.
  16. Wizards of the Coast (June 22, 2020). "The Lore of Jumpstart on the Cards". Wizards of the Coast.