Fair Warning: this post is about 3.4 years old, so some of the information might be a bit dated. On the other hand, this post was last modified about 3.4 years ago, so maybe it's up-to-date after all. In any case, please keep all this in mind while reading. Thanks for understanding!
A Quick Diversion:  

The Actual News:

Sweet! A new video promo for New Pokémon Snap dropped! Did you see it? If not, check it out here:


Besides all the cool Pokémon and whatnot, did you also see something else that was new??

That’s right! We get a whole new “Pokémon” language to decipher! I’m calling it “Lentalian”, unless someone comes up with something better… maybe “Lentalese”? Anyways, the above screenshots are the only bits of Lentalian that was shown in the video.

The first task in trying to decipher it is to see what kinds of patterns the letters appear in. For example, if Lentalian is simply a “cypher” of Japanese romaji—meaning there is a one-to-one connection between the “Latin Alphabet” used in romaji and the Lentalian letters—then some letters will only appear in every even position. That is to say, since Japanese is a syllabic language, generally each of its syllables follow a “V” or “CV” format (C = consonant, V = vowel), which is easily depicted in a phrase like “ohayo gozaimasu”: VCVCV CVCVVCVCV. See the back-and-forth pattern of C(onsonant)’s and V(owel)’s? So if Lentalian is based on Japanese, then we would notice that some characters will ONLY appear in an odd or even position, and rarely (if ever) next to one another. This is, of course, one of the many tools I have to help me decipher these types of “video game languages”.

Anyways, here’s some initial facts about what I’ve found so far.

  • I have so far discovered 18 unique glyphs in Lentalian across 80 letters.
  • Another way to tell if text encodes an actual language or not is how often certain letters appear or not. If every letter appears an almost equal number of times, it probably isn’t a real language. In the case of Lentalian however, six of the glyphs are used seven or more times, while eight are used either once or twice. This definitely leads me to believe that Lentalian is an actual language.
  • This is the actual collection of characters I found in the entire video, and you can see which letters are the most common and which are not.

That said, the ACTUAL list of letters I’ve found so far are below. There are some GREEN and RED letters next to them, which I’ll explain after.

The GREEN letters are the characters which I actually have already deciphered (explaination below), while the RED letters are temporary characters just so I can at least write something out in text while sorting things out. For example, I can at least write the text seen on the camera as REMMOU, even though only the letters “E” and “O” are actually deciphered.

So as mentioned above, I was able to start work on deciphering this text based on three initial letters: the ones on the NEO-ONE pod itself. Since there are three characters, and it ends in “01”, I think it’s fair to assume that that means those characters spell “NEO”. With that sorted out…. I was actually able to work everything out! How about that?? Anyways you should go and check out the official “Deciphering the Lentalian Alphabet of Lental” page for the results, complete with color coding so you know which is its actual letters and which are just temporary placeholders. That said, this’ll give me a good headstart to work out the rest upon the game’s actual release on April 30th… you can bet your bottom Poké-dollar that I’ll be on top of that once I get my copy, and I’ll produce a typeface for you to use in your own projects too!

As a side note, while working out the letters of Lentalian, I discovered that the letters depicted in the bottom two pictures (the one with the female Player using the camera to activate her NEO-ONE pod) were actually flipped! And I know this for a fact because the NEO-ONE pod has “01” numerals (as seen in the third picture), which denotes the proper direction. There was also another letter which was also flipped vertically… but that turned out to be an actual proper letter instead of a mistake.

And… that’s about all I have to share about the Lentalian alphabet thus far. I’m loving all this alphabet stuff already, so I’m just dying for the official release of New Pokémon Snap! Once I get the game, you can bet I’ll share everything else about Lentalian I find here. … Oh, and I guess I’ll have fun taking pictures of Pokémon too. Whatever. :P Good times…


BONUS BIT: Just to finish things off, I just had to share this one… but, hey, this is perfectly normal nature stuff: remember the scene where Hippowdon sorta releases a steady flow of sand from its… uh… sand ports? (Pic related)

Well this is clearly a reference to how IRL hippopotamuses (hippopotami?) poop. Like, they don’t just drop their poop anywhere, they actually go out of their way to spray it all over the place. Check out this video of a hippo doing its business at the Jijamata Udyaan Zoo in Mumbai, India (fair warning, it’s slightly NSFW by virtue of it involving… well… poop):

AHAHAHA you can’t tell me Game Freak wasn’t thinking about this when they had Hippowdon doing it’s own business! lol :D