The Alternian Alphabet refers to character sets used in Homestuck and Hiveswap to represent the Troll language. Although the Trolls generally converse in English (with some exceptions) and use the standard Latin alphabet, many pieces of , , and even Homestuck's on Alternia use the alternate "Alternian" character sets. Despite perhaps meaning to give the impression of an inscrutable alien language, such messages are still in English, simply with the letters swapped for the Alternian symbols (in Homestuck and using the Daedric Alphabet, the text is also written from right to left and from the bottom to the top of a page, although in Hiveswap and with the new Alternian Alphabet this is often not the case and text reads left to right, bottom to top). This allows for all such messages to be easily translated, and they usually (but ) match up with any given English translations in the page text.
As these Alternian glyphs are usually seen more often in the context of older writings, such as Mindfang's journal, or in media produced by corporate or establishment enterprises, it may be that they represent an older, more traditional character set most popular in ancient times or with the longer-lived Highbloods who hold the most power, whereas the younger generation favours the English alphabet. Regardless, most Trolls seem able to use and read the two interchangably.
The "Alternian alphabet" can actually refer to two, separate alphabets. The first of which, the Daedric alphabet, is the version of the alphabet used in Homestuck itself. This alphabet is actually the Daedric alphabet from the popular video game series The Elder Scrolls, except flipped vertically. Hussie took this alphabet and decided to use it in Homestuck for the Troll language, and it remains the "Alternian" alphabet which is found throughout Homestuck.
During the development of Hiveswap, the first Homestuck adventure game, it was decided that a new, original Alternian alphabet should be created in the same style of the original, presumably to avoid copyright claims from Bethesda, the company behind The Elder Scrolls. In Hiveswap and related media, the trolls are retconned to universally use this new alphabet in place of the old, representing an inconsistency with Homestuck. Like the Daedric alphabet, this alphabet is a set of alternate Latin alphabet glyphs, and messages written in them are still in English. The two alphabets have a very similar visual style.
Daedric Alphabet EditThe Daedric Alphabet
In Homestuck, an inverted version of the Daedric alphabet is used to represent the troll language. When used in this manner, the entire text is read flowing right-to-left and bottom-to-top.
The Daedric alphabet is not actually an alphabet, but merely a set of alternate glyphs for the Roman alphabet (the letters are the same, just drawn differently).
Interestingly enough, in The Elder Scrolls, the Daedric alphabet is primarily used by the Dremora, who, like the trolls, are a warlike race of grey-skinned, yellow-eyed humanoids with horns who use a caste-based social structure. However, as Andrew has stated he picked the alphabet at random, this is most likely a very lucky coincidence.
(New) Alternian Alphabet Edit
The new Alternian alphabet was introduced in promotional material for Hiveswap, and represents a new set of original glyphs that fulfill the same role as the Daedric characters did in Homestuck, without any looming threat of copyright claims from Bethesda. The introduction of this new alphabet was a retcon by What Pumpkin, and it will presumably be used as the official troll alphabet in all future media, while in-universe nothing is regarded to have changed, and this new alphabet will have "always" been the alphabet of Alternia.
This new alphabet appears to have been created in a similar style to the original Daedric alphabet, with the intent of capturing a similar feel. Notably, this new alphabet also incorporates punctuation symbols, which were conspicuously absent from Alternian text before this (as the original Elder Scrolls Daedric alphabet did not contain any). Also, while the old Daedric alphabet was often written from right to left and from the bottom to the top of a page, this alphabet as it appears in Hiveswap instead tends to be written from left to right and top down, as in English.
Although this alphabet is now the de-facto canonical Alternian alphabet of the Homestuck franchise, it is unlikely that Homestuck itself will be edited to use the new characters due to the amount of work this would take to facilitate, and due to the fact that Homestuck books have already been printed (although this did not preclude other retcons).
List of Daedric Alphabet appearances in HomestuckEdit
- It was used to name the planet the trolls originated from. However, while the image caption refers to the planet's correct name as Alternia, the Daedric text in the image itself reads " ". On the previous page, it was used to give Alternia an incorrect name; this text reads " ".
- It was used to give Karkat an incorrect name, " ", before his correct name was revealed in the next page's caption.
- Karkat's ~ATH programming language (as well as ~ATH code itself) are actually written in the Roman alphabet. are written in this font, as well as the cover of his . Unlike with the name of Alternia, the text on the magazine cover is as described in the image caption: the name of the magazine is indeed "Game Grub", and the headline is "Exclusive Leaks". Oddly, Karkat's and on the
- During Karkat's Custodian, the word "grief" appears. This is likely the troll equivalent of Strife. It may be a reference to griefing, an online activity just as obnoxious as trolling. with his
- Aradia's Ouija modus , showing the alphabet, the numbers, and reading "OUIJA GOODBYE"; as well as spelling out a word related to the item being retrieved. The only one seen so far is the Crosbytop being " ".
- Feferi's .
- Sweet Kid and Hella Jack". "
- The subtitle in Derse". , unsurprisingly, reads "
- In Kanaya: Return To The Core, at the beginning of Sollux and Eridan's fight, there is briefly Daedric text which reads "Grief"
- . Curiously, the image shows spaces where the numbers "8" should have been, as there are no "Daedric numbers". This is, however, contradicted by the upside down numerals on Aradia's Ouija modus page. It reads: "would aghast misgivings did not complement his so endearing arsenal of qu8nt flaws it is impossi8le to stifle this grin even now as i write"
- When Vriska against Jack Noir the title is "Grief" instead of "Strife". This follows the pattern of Karkat's previously mentioned encounter with his lusus.
- Vriska's ultimate attack and highest roll on the Fluorite Octet, "ANCESTRAL AWAKENING".
- Vriska's and Bec Noir's health bars read "Health Vial"
- Vriska's action upon using her ultimate attack, "AUTO-PIRATE"
- The Handmaid's "Grief" against Doc Scratch is headed in the usual manner. Her commands are Aggress and Aggrub.
- The Condesce's is known as the "BATTLESHIP CONDESCENSION".
- The text on the computer screen at the start of reads "CLICK ==> TO CONTINUE".
- The text above the record player at the end of reads "THIS IS STUPID".
- The alphabet is laid out on a Calliope. that is used by
- In , after the text in Latin alphabet "Years in the future", a text in Daedric alphabet reads "but not many".
- The Roxy by the Condesce says "YOURE WELCOME" given to
- The text in Calliope's scrapbook (a ~ATH programming manual) is also written in Daedric. The first line on reads "ge first laser - is light true - short the source code for our first program" (to be verified), this would suggest that the entire content of the page is not random text, but indeed includes actual programming instructions.
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- Grubbles lyric videos
- Xefros's picture of the Heiress
- Subtitles on Xefros's television
- Error message on Dammek's monitor
- Dammek's SERPENT games
- Trizza's selfie in Act 1
- Miscellaneous writings by Dammek
- Miscellaneous posters in Dammek's hive
- Xefros's vault