You’re probably at an age where writing notes to buddies in a bizarre alphabet is not a top priority, but let’s take a minute to remember the good ol’ days — when summer notepads were scribbled with secret scripts that only you and your closest friends understood. Sure, those years might be gone, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t rekindle our love of strange fake alphabets in a grown-up pop culture kind of way, does it? Who wouldn’t love to put, “Can read and write English in Tolkien’s Elvish” on a résumé? Or perhaps Hylian, the language of Link and Zelda? After the jump, we’ve gathered the alphabets and handy English translations of ten awesome fictional languages from film, television, literature, and a couple video games, all thanks to the brilliance that is Omniglot.com. Feel free to write us a note in your chosen language and leave it in the comments. How? There will be a good bit of scanning and linking involved, of course. We never said passing secret notes over the Internet would be easy.
Tengwar (Elvish) alphabet — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
If you’ve never had the urge to learn Tolkien-style Elvish, watch Liv Tyler speak Sindarin at Comic-Con in 2007. Beautiful stuff, eh? The above alphabet is Tengwar, or the script used to write in Valarin, Quenya, Telerin, Sindarin, the Black Speech of Mordor, and so on. With the above translation, you can also use Tengwar to write in English, which is what we’ll be doing until we find ourselves stuck with a ring to destroy. By the way — after that firework incident, San Diego is the new Shire. Pass it on.
Uruk Runes alphabet — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
If you’re the kind of person who cheers for Slytherin over Gryffindor and uruk-hai over hobbits, you should write your enemies threatening letters in the Uruk Runes script. Also, this.
Alien alphabet — Matt Groening, Futurama
When we first noticed this alien alphabet throughout Futurama, we figured it was a nonsensical script that couldn’t be learned. Boy, were we wrong! Every symbol corresponds to a letter, number, or punctuation. So — do aliens have trouble with the most feared punctuation on Earth, too?
Gnommish alphabet — Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl
If you prefer fairies to elves, or if you just like to draw little earthly doodles, Eoin Colfer’s Gnommish alphabet is for you. Remember — the letter “e” is written below its preceding letter, and the script can be written from left to right or from top to bottom.
Old Hylian syllabary — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time / The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
There are a few Legend of Zelda Hylian scripts to choose from: Old Hylian syllabary (as seen above), Modern Hylian (as used in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker), and Hylian (as used in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess). Since we’re partial to Ocarina of Time, we prefer our Hylian like our wine — “old” and “read.” Get it? Get it? No? Moving on.
Klingon alphabet — Star Trek
What would a list of fictional alphabets be without Klingon? These characters look tough to master, so we’ll leave this alphabet to the pros. If you’d rather write in Golic Vulcan, that’s an option, too.
The Ancients alphabet — Stargate SG-1
The above Ancient alphabet belonged to — you guessed it — ancient people in the universe of Stargate SG-1. This script looks a bit like Old Hylian from the Zelda saga, eh? Are Link and his fellow Hylians the ancient humans of which the SG-1 folks spoke? We’re definitely (not) onto something.
Matoran — LEGO, Bionicle
LEGO has its own language, folks, and 70% of its characters look like minimalist Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles posing at various angles. The letters in the Matoran language, as seen throughout the Bionicle book series, can double as English letters, so now you can finally communicate with your LEGO accordingly.
Kryptonian — E. Nelson Bridwell, Superman
Kryptonian, or Kryptonese, is the language spoken on Clark Kent’s home planet, Krypton. So — next time you text someone two exclamation points in a row, somewhere up in the sky, a confused Superman thinks you’re ending the sentence with a misplaced “a.” Be careful, kids.
Nyctographic Square alphabet — Lewis Carroll
When Lewis Carroll would wake in the middle of the night with an idea, he found that lighting a lamp, writing his thoughts, then putting out the lamp was an unnecessarily lengthy and frustrating process. As a result, he created the nyctograph and the above nyctographic system to write his thoughts quickly and effortlessly in the dark. We couldn’t find a pre-made nyctographic square alphabet online, so we took this excerpt from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and made one ourselves, yielding the above results. Whenever a letter needs to be capitalized, it should be drawn slightly bolder. Go ahead, write with the lights off. Did it work? No? So it goes.