|Created by||Marc Okrand|
|Setting and usage||2001 film Atlantis: The Lost Empire and related media|
A posteriori languages
|ISO 639-3||None (
The Atlantean language is a constructed language created by Marc Okrand for Disney's film Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The language was intended by the script-writers to be a possible "mother language", and Okrand crafted it to include a vast Indo-European word stock with its very own grammar, which is at times described as highly agglutinative, inspired by Sumerian and North American languages.
- 1 Concept/Origin
- 2 Writing systems
- 3 Grammar
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The Atlantean language (Dig Adlantisag) is a historically constructed, artistic language put together by Marc Okrand for Disney’s 2001 film Atlantis: The Lost Empire and associated media, The Atlantean language is therefore based both on historic reconstructions or realities as well as on the elaborate fantasy/science fiction of the Atlantis: The Lost Empire mythos. Here are the fictional bases upon which the Atlantean language was created: Atlantean is the “Tower of Babel language”, the “root dialect” from which all languages descended. It has existed without change since sometime before 100,000 B.C., within the First or Second Age of Atlantis until the present. This is when the Mother Crystal (Matag Yob) descended to Earth and brought enlightenment to the Atlantean people. It is preserved by the presence of the Mother Crystal in the same way that The Shepherd’s journal, the City of Atlantis (Wil Adlantisag), the Atlantean people (luden), and especially its royalty (yaseken) are preserved, healed, and given extended blissful life.
To create this, Dr. Okrand took common characteristics of all world languages and applied them to the Proto-Indo-European language. His main source of words (roots and stems) for the language is Proto-Indo-European, but Okrand also uses ancient Chinese, Biblical Hebrew, Latin and Greek languages, along with a variety of other ancient languages or ancient language reconstructions.
There are three identified writing systems for Atlantean:
They are listed in order of creation. Okrand originally put together the language in Writer’s Script. For those many parts in the movie for which it was written, the filmmakers wrote it using the Atlantean Alphabet, created by John Emerson with the help of Marc Okrand. For those fewer parts of the movie for which it is spoken, Okrand devised a Berlitz-style notation which he hoped would make the Atlantean easier to read for the actors.
- Spirits of Atlantis, forgive me for defiling your chamber and bringing intruders into the land.
- Nish.en.top Adlantis.ag, Kelob.tem Gabr.in karok.li.mik bet gim demot.tem net getunos.en.tem bernot.li.mik bet kag.ib lewid.yoh. (Okrand's original wouldn't have had periods; these are used for the translation below.)
- NEE-shen-toap AHD-luhn-tih-suhg, KEH-loab-tem GAHB-rihn KAH-roak-lih-mihk bet gihm DEH-moat-tem net GEH-tuh-noh-sen-tem behr-NOAT-lih-mihk bet KAH-gihb LEH-wihd-yoakh.
(Spirit.Plural.Vocative Atlantis.Genitive, Chamber.Oblique you-plural-familiar.Genitive defile.Past-Perfect.1st-Person-Singular for and land.Oblique into intruder.Plural.Oblique bring.Past-Perfect.1st-Person-Singular for I-Dative forgive.Imperative-Plural.)
(Written boustrophedon, as if in Atlantean alphabet: )
NISHENTOP ADLANTISAG KELOBTEM
MIG TEB KIMILKORAK NIRBAG
DEMOTTEM NET GETANOSENTEM
BIGAK TEB KIMILTONREB
Atlantean alphabet: use and sources
Writing systems correspondence
Here’s how they all correspond to one another. For sake of standardization, they are arranged according to a fan-composed alphabet. It is based on the oldest example of the Northern Semitic Abecedary as found in the Ugaritic language.
|Reader's Script||uh ah||b||g||d||eh e||w||kh||ee ih||y||k||l||m||oo u||n||oa,oh||p||r||s||sh||t|
20 letters of the Atlantean alphabet are used to write Atlantean in the media of Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The letters c, f, j, q, v, x, z, ch, or th have likewise been acknowledged by the filmmakers as not being used. They were created so that Atlantean might be used as a simple cipher code. They are all also based on diverse ancient characters, just like the rest of the alphabet.
Atlantean alphabet: use
There is no punctuation or capitalization in the Atlantean Writing System. These characteristics are based by Okrand on ancient writing systems. The Atlantean Alphabet is written in normal boustrophedon writing order. It is written left to right for the first line, right to left the second, and left to right again the third, to continue the pattern. This order was also suggested by Okrand, based on ancient writing systems, and it was accepted because, as he explained, "It's a back-and-forth movement, like water, so that worked."
Atlantean numerals and numbers
Atlantean numeral system
Joe Emerson, Marc Okrand, and the filmmakers also created numerals for 0–9. They are stacked horizontally, however, and hold place values of 1, 20, and 400. Their components are based on Mayan numerals and internally composed for the font (example above) like Roman numerals. If used according to the now-offline Official Website's directions, they are used, alternatively, like Arabic numerals.
Atlantean numbers and suffixes
Fractions are formed with the suffix (d)lop: kut 'four', kut.lop 'quarter', sha 'five', sha.dlop 'fifth (part)'.
Distributives are formed with the suffix noh: din 'one', din.noh 'one at a time, one each'.
Vowels and diphthongs
|IPA Symbol||Reader's Script||Writer's Script||Example in IPA||Meaning||Example in IPA||Meaning|
|/i, ɪ/||ee, ih, i||i||ti'kʊdɛ||to be located||ˈalɪʃ||child|
|/e, ɛ/||eh, e||e||we'sɛr||marketplace|
|/a, ə/||ah, uh||a||ma'kɪtəɡ||of the king|
|/o, ɔ/||oh, o, oa||o||o'bɛs||lava|
|/u, ʊ/||oo, u||u||ku'nɛt||surface||kʊt||four|
Atlantean's phonetic inventory includes a vowel system with the above five phonemes, a system common to many languages, such as Spanish. Most vowels have two prominent allophonic realizations, depending on whether it occurs in a stressed or unstressed syllable. Vowels in stressed syllables tend to be tense, and likewise unstressed ones tend to be more lax. Thus, for example, /i/ is realized as [i] or [ɪ] in stressed and unstressed syllables, respectively. Likewise, /e/ is realized as [e] or [ɛ], and so on. There are three diphthongs.
|Plosive||p b||t d||k ɡ|
|Fricative||s||ʃ ||x |
- Transliterated as sh in Writer's Script and Reader's Script.
- Transliterated as h in Writer's Script (bibɪx, inner cover of Subterranean Tours) and "kh" in Reader's Script.
- Transliterated as y in Writer's Script and Reader's Script.
Aside from the stressed-syllable-based vowel system, the only other example of phonology found in the entire language may be expressed as:
n → [k,t][which?] in the context of _[i,o]
Atlantean has a very strict subject–object–verb word order. There is never any deviation from this pattern. Adjectives and nouns in the genitive case go after the nouns which they modify, post-positions go after the nouns or clauses that they modify, and modals go after the verbs that they modify and subsequently take all agglutinative suffixes. However, adverbs go before their verbs. Last of all are the interrogative particles. The given order of all parts of speech and particles is as follows in both an interrogative and declarative statement (a little redundant in order to use the whole sentence):
|Adverbs of time, manner, location||Log||What|
|Time, manner, location adverbial nouns||darim||time|
|Nouns in the instrumental case||shayod.esh||using.hands|
|Nouns in the nominative case||weydagosen||Visitors|
|Post-positional objects/nouns in the oblique case||keylob.tem||(in) the chamber|
|Nouns in the dative/oblique case||makit.tem||The King|
|Nouns of relation in the genitive case||Adlantis.ag||of Atlantis|
|Nouns in the accusative case||neshing.mok.en.tem||great contrivances|
|Verb with modal verb||bernot||to bring|
|Modal verb [stem.mood.tense/aspect.person/number]||bog.o.mkem||we will be able|
|Interrogative particle||du||eh? (North Central American English / Canadian English)|
|At what time will we visitors be able to use our very hands to joyfully give our great contrivances to the King of Atlantis in his Royal Chamber? |
There are two given variations on the simple sentence order involving sentence connectors, also called connective particles. These are grammatical particles whose particular roles seen here occurs in Native American languages, among other languages. These Atlantean sentence connectors relate two clauses in a logical yet idiomatic manner which produces a complete thought in the same way that the equally complicated English sentence does. English doesn't use sentence connectors in the following ways, however:
|Clause or Particle||Example||English Gloss|
|Initial Clause||"Wil.tem neb gamos.e.tot..."||"He sees this city..."|
|Sentence connector 1||deg||(roughly) "for"|
|Modifying Clause||duwer.en tirid.||all foreigners.|
|No outsiders may see the city and live. More literally, " 'He Who Doth the City See...' is meant for ALL foreigners.' |
|Clause or Particle||Example||English Gloss|
|Initial Clause||Tab.top, lud.en neb.et kwam gesu bog.e.kem||Father, we cannot help these people|
|Sentence connector 1||deg||(roughly) "and yet"|
|Modifying Clause||yasek.en gesu.go.ntoh.||they will help the Royalty.|
|Father, these people may be able to help us. More literally, "Father, we can't help these people and yet they will help us, the King and Princess." |
|Clause or Particle||Example||English Gloss|
|Descriptive Clause||Ketak.en.tem obes.ag sapoh.e.kik||I view the lava whales|
|Sentence connector 2||yos||(roughly) "then"|
|Action Clause||lat nar badeg.bey tikud.e.tot dap?||where is the best place?|
|Where is the best place from which to view the lava whales? |
There are seven cases for nouns.
|2||Oblique||-tem||yobtem||the crystal give, in the crystal, to the crystal, etc.|
|3||Genitive||-ag||yobag||of the crystal|
|4||Vocative||-top ||Yobtop||O Crystal!|
|6||Unknown 1||-kup ||yobkup||(something) crystal|
|7||Unknown 2||-nuh ||yobnuh||(something) crystal|
- With the exception of "mat", "mother", which takes the special Maternal Filial Suffix -tim. Note that the only other kinship term, "father", "tab", takes the usual -top.
- No translation given. As discussed in "The Shepherd's Journal" on the "Collector's DVD": ketub-kup (page 4) and setub-mok-en-tem (page 10), setub-mok-en-ag (page 5), and setub-kup (pages 1–4).
- No translation given. As discussed in "The Shepherd's Journal" on the "Collector's DVD": derup-tem and derup-nuh (page 5).
|Grammatical Function||Suffix||Example||English Gloss|
|Augmentative||-mok||Yobmok||The Great Crystal|
Nouns are marked as plural with the suffix -en. Case suffixes never precede the -en plural suffix. "-Mok" occurs after it.
There are five cases for pronouns.
|2||Accusative||-it||kagit||me, whom was (sent), etc.|
|4||Genitive||-in||kagin||my ( my heart, karod kagin)|
- No translation given. Appears in "First Mural Text" on the "Collector's DVD": tug-is.
Verbs are inflected with two suffixes, one for tense/aspect and the next for person/number.
|1||Simple Present Tense||-e||bernot.e.kik||I bring|
|2||Present Perfect Tense||-le||bernot.le.kik||you have brought|
|3||Present Obligatory Tense||-se||bernot.se.kik||I am obliged to bring|
|4||Simple Past Tense||-i||bernot.i.mik||I brought|
|5||Immediate Past Tense||-ib||bernot.ib.mik||I just brought|
|6||Past Perfect Tense||-li||bernot.li.mik||I had brought|
|7||Simple Future Tense||-o||bernot.o.mik||I will bring|
|8||Future Possible Tense||-go||bernot.go.mik||I may bring|
|9||Future Perfect Tense||-lo||bernot.lo.mik||I will have brought|
|10||Future Obligatory Tense||-so||bernot.so.mik||I will be obliged to bring|
|-e||sapoh.i.mik (SJ:10)||I viewed||sapoh.e.kik (ST)||I view|
|-le||yube.in/yugeb.le.tot (IS)||strangely/he is being strange||panneb.le.nen (IS)||you are knowing||peren.le.mot (DVD:MURAL)||Untranslated.||pasil.le.tot (IS)||it is being sufficient|
|-se||kaber (SJ:789)||warn!||kaber.se.kem||we are obliged to warn|
|-i||es.e.tot (ST)||it is||es.i.mot (SJ:10)||it will be|
|-ib||bernot.li.mik (IS)||I had brought||bernot.ib.mik (IS)||I just brought|
|-li||bernot.ib.mik (IS)||I just brought||bernot.li.mik (IS)||I had brought|
|-o||komtib.lo.nen (SJ:5)||you will have found||komtib.o.nen (SJ:5)||you will find|
|-go||satib.yoh (IS)||move along!||satib.go.ntoh (SJ:89)||they may move along||gesu.go.ntoh (IS)||they may help|
|-lo||komtib.o.nen (SJ:5)||you will find||komtib.lo.nen (SJ:5)||you will have found|
|-so||komtib.lo.nen (IS)||you will have found||komtib.so.nen (SJ:5)||you will be obliged to find|
|1||Imperative Mood Singular||no suffix||(Tok.it) Bernot!||Bringest (it, thou)!|
|2||Imperative Mood Plural||-yoh||(Tok.it) Bernot.yoh!||Bring (it, you)!|
|3||Passive Mood||-esh||(Im.tem shib.an) bernot.esh.ib.mik.||I just was brought (something).|
|Number||Name||Suffix||Example||English Gloss||Example||English Gloss||Example||English Gloss||Example||English Gloss|
|no suffix||nageb.o.ntoh (SJ:789)||they will enter||Nageb.yoh (ST)||Enter, you!||Nageb!||Enter!|
|-yoh||gamos.i.mik (DVD:TRAVEL)||I saw||Gamos.yoh! (DVD:MURAL)||May ye behold!||gamos.e (DVD:MURAL)||to see||Beket! (ST)||Thou art begged!||Beket.yoh! (ST)||You are begged!|
|-esh||pag.en (ST)||thou (art) thanked (short form)||pag.esh.e.nen (ST)||thou art thanked||dodl.esh.mik (DVD:MURAL)||Untranslated.||kobden.en/hobd.esh.e.tot (IS)||command / he has doomed|
|-e||wegen.os/wegen.e (IS)||traveler/to travel||wegen.os/wegen.e (IS)||traveler/to travel||gamos.yoh (DVD:MURAL)||May ye behold!||gamos.e (DVD:MURAL)||to see||gobeg.en/gobeg.e||arms/to be an arm|
|Person||Number||Familiarity||Independent Pronoun||Suffix||English Gloss|
|3rd||Singular||–||tug tuh tok||-ot||he she it|
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the film for which the language was created.
- Constructed language
- Marc Okrand, creator of the Atlantean language.
- "Production Notes." Atlantis-The Lost Empire. Ed. Tim Montgomery, 1996–2007. The Unofficial Disney Animation Archive. 13 January 2007. Animationarchive.net[dead link]
- Kurtti, Jeff. The Mythical World of Atlantis: Theories of the Lost Empire from Plato to Disney. New York: Disney Editions, 2001, 48–56, 88, 89.
- Kalin-Casey, Mary. “Charting Atlantis the crew behind Disney’s latest animated adventure takes you behind the scenes.” Features Interviews. 17 January 2007 Reel.com Archived January 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Murphy, Tab, Platon, David Reyolds, Gary Trousdale, Joss Whedon, Kirk Wise, Bryce Zabel, and Jackie Zabel. Atlantis the Lost Empire: The Illustrated Script [Abridged Version with Notes from the Filmmakers], 55.
- Henn, Peter (June 1, 2001). "Finding Atlantis". Film Journal International. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- Wloszczyna, Susan. “New movie trek for wordsmith.” USA Today Online. 24 May 2001. 12 Jan. 2007. USA Today
- Anderson, Matt. “Parlez-vous Atlantean?” Movie Habit. 12 January 2006 Moviehabit.com
- Henning, Jeffery. “Atlantean: Language of the Lost Empire” Langmaker.com. Jeffrey Henning. 1996–2005. 12 January 2006 Langmaker.com "Interview of Don Hahn on Atlantis!" Animagic.Com. 3/26/01.
- Murphy, Tab, Platon, David Reyolds, Gary Trousdale, Joss Whedon, Kirk Wise, Bryce Zabel, and Jackie Zabel. Atlantis the Lost Empire: The Illustrated Script [Abridged Version with Notes from the Filmmakers], 85
- Kurtti, Jeff. Atlantis Subterranean Tours: A Traveler’s Guide to the Lost City (Atlantis the Lost Empire). New York: Disney Editions: 2001, Inside Front Cover.
- Hahn, Don; Wise, Kirk; Trousdale, Gary et al. 2-Disc Collector’s Edition: Atlantis: The Lost Empire, especially Features "How to Speak Atlantean", "The Shepherd's Journal".
- John, David. Atlantis: The Lost Empire: The Essential Guide. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc., 2001, 33.
- Kurtti, Jeff. Atlantis Subterranean Tours: A Traveler’s Guide to the Lost City (Atlantis the Lost Empire). New York: Disney Editions: 2001, 60.
- Kurtti, Jeff. Atlantis Subterranean Tours: A Traveler’s Guide to the Lost City (Atlantis the Lost Empire). New York: Disney Editions: 2001, 31.
- Ehrbar, Greg. Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Milwaukee: Dark Horse Comics: June 2001.
- Hahn, Don; Wise, Kirk; Trousdale, Gary et al. 2-Disc Collector’s Edition: Atlantis: The Lost Empire, 01 10 0:50:31.
- Murphy, Tab, Platon, David Reyolds, Gary Trousdale, Joss Whedon, Kirk Wise, Bryce Zabel, and Jackie Zabel. Atlantis the Lost Empire: The Illustrated Script [Abridged Version with Notes from the Filmmakers], 58.
- Kurtti, Jeff. Atlantis Subterranean Tours: A Traveler’s Guide to the Lost City (Atlantis the Lost Empire). New York: Disney Editions: 2001, page 61.
- Cynthia, Benjamin. "Atlantis: The Lost Empire : Welcome to my World." New York: Random House: 2001.
- Ehrbar, Greg. "Atlantis: The Lost Empire." Milwaukee: Dark Horse Comics: June 2001.
- Hahn, Don; Wise, Kirk; Trousdale, Gary et al. "2-Disc Collector’s Edition: Atlantis: The Lost Empire."
- "Disney Adventures" magazine, Summer Issue 2001.
- Howard, James N. "Atlantis: The Lost Empire An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack" : Limited Tiwanese Edition. Taiwan and Hong Kong: Walt Disney Records: Represented by Avex: 2001.
- Kurtti, Jeff. "Atlantis Subterranean Tours: A Traveler’s Guide to the Lost City (Atlantis the Lost Empire)." New York: Disney Editions: 2001.
- Kurtti, Jeff. "The Journal of Milo Thatch." New York: Disney Editions: 2001.
- Murphy, Tab et al. "Atlantis, the Lost Empire : The Illustrated Script." New York : Disney Editions: 2001.
- Atlantean Language Institute (archive) – Provides a dictionary, grammar guide, and corpus
- Henning's Old Introduction to the Language (archive)
- Atlantean alphabet on Omiglot