Fresh off the job of “deciphering” the Galar language (which, spoiler alert, is just basically gibberish)… a NEW language was discovered in the Lental Region of the New Pokémon Snap games!
On April 30th, 2021, the latest game in the Pokémon Snap series dropped, and with it came a completely new alphabet. Unfortunately tho, apart from a few locations, they don’t seem to use it in many places! So despite our best efforts, the entire alphabet has yet to be revealed, and might not ever be revealed. BUT! At least most of it has been revealed, so let’s get some of the basic stuff out of the way first:
- I’ve been calling it the Lentalian Alphabet based off the Lental Region name, but other names could be applied… such as the New Pokémon Snap (NPS) Alphabet, Snaparian
- In Japanese, the region is actually spelled “Lentil” instead of “Lental” (so ending in -il versus -al); all actual Lentalian text reflects this spelling as well. For this reason it might be fair to call it the “Lentilian Alphabet”.
- The alphabet is simply a cipher of the English/Latin alphabet. This means there is a direct one-to-one correlation between the Lental letters and English/Latin letters
- This also means there are at least 26 characters in the Lentalian Alphabet… however the letters H J Q X have yet to be revealed in game.
- At least 26? Yeah, in a single picture of Lentalian, there are three characters which are slightly different. However, they match up to existing words, so it leads me to believe that they’re just alternate forms. I’ll talk more about this below.
With that out of the way, here is the alphabet!
Pretty straight forward, huh? The three characters below are the three alternate letters I mentioned. Anyways, at least now you can spell some of your favorite words, like… “Nick15”! Or “Nickit”, my new favorite Pokémon! OH! And the word “Pokémon” itself! Or any other favorite words, like watermelon, snap, game, family-sized cereal, hijinxs, jack-in-the-box, juxtaepiphysial, qwijibo… uh, no… wait….
Anyways, now that you know what’s up, what else is there to know? Well, this page will focus on two primary things:
- What all the actual in-game text actually says
- How we know what we know about the alphabet?
Without further ado…
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
I don’t want to ruin the fun of playing the game for the first time for anyone, but I also realize that players will be playing at different rates… so what is a proper spoiler for someone may be common knowledge for others. While I’ll try my best to mark off any super major spoilers using the mouse-over/tappable spoiler text box (which looks like this)… this is also your fair warning that some minor low-level spoilers may still get spilled below this point. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Meaning of In-Game Text
Despite it being used in certain key locations, the Lental alphabet isn’t really used all that often. But that’s OK, for the places it DOES exist, this section will show you what it actually says.
For the sake of making things easy to read, there will be a picture of Lentalian text on the left, with transliterations of Lentalian text will be written on the right in BIG GREEN BOLD letters, while unrelated characters (like numbers) will be GREY. The text may also be split across multiple lines to make comparing it with the picture easier. Remember tho!: even though in English it’s called the “Lental Region”, in Japanese—and apparently in Lental’s own language—Lental is spelled “Lentil” (with an I, not an A). So if you see any text that says LENTIL, know that that is what is actually written and that it’s not a mistake on my part.
|When you start the game for the very first time, you might have noticed this text in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. It’s a rather cute notice, stating that you are using:
LENTIL OS VER 7.65
I wonder what versions 1 through 6 were like?
|This is the official logo of the organization that Professor Mirror works for, which says:
“Pokémon and Nature” is most likely its logo. But curiously, other than on this logo, the word “Lental Institute” doesn’t appear anywhere else. Unless the “Lental Institute” is the main scientific organization, of which the Laboratory of Ecology and Natural Sciences (L.E.N.S.) is but one body within the overall Lental Institute? It’s probably that.
|THIS IS A FALSE SUBTITLE! IT IS MADE OF LIES AND DECEPTION
The actual text of the sign says:
LENTIL POKEMON AND
Joking aside, I get why they renamed it to the Laboratory of Ecology and Natural Sciences in the game: so that its initialism spells “LENS”. It almost seems like the “Lentil Pokémon and Natural Science Laboratory” was coined first, only for the “LENS” pun to be thought up later.
|While Professor Mirror and Rita are talking about the stories of Captain Vince’s adventures in the Lental Region some 100 years prior, this book is revealed. The title of it says:
|When Professor Mirror gives you your research camera, the text that is written on it says:
Unfortunately, the rest of the text is too small to see.
I suspect “Fellow” is your player character’s official/generic name.
|When you go on your very first research mission, you’ll pass by this sign. It says:
|When you get back from a mission and Professor Mirror wants to take a look at the pictures you took, this word pops up:
|When Professor Mirror or anyone else sends you a video chat message while you’re out on a research mission, the chat window will have two bits of text in it.
On the bottom, it simply says VIDEO WINDOW.
Meanwhile, in the upper-left corner, it simply says ON, noting the video chat’s current sound setting.
|When you flip through your Photodex, the text on the top says
|Meanwhile, at the beginning of a research mission when you’re able to select where you want to go, these words pop up:
|LENTIL MAP also appears when you look at the map of Lental in general while looking over the various courses you’ve already visited.|
|Inside Captain Vince’s book Lental Travelogue, you get to see a photo he took of what might be a mysterious Pokémon. Below it is written:
Curiously, the L, N and E letters in those words use alternate forms than letters seen elsewhere. I have two ideas concerning the difference:
|Turns out there is actually an ancient form of the Lentalian alphabet, which I’ve dubbed… well, Ancient Lentalian. It’s basically the same as standard Lentalian, albeit with some minor differences similar to the different glyphs for the same graphemes I mentioned in the previous entry. That said, the glyphs used in Ancient Lentalian seems to be unrelated to the three alternate Lentalian glyphs I mentioned above.
By the looks of it, this text appears to say:
ILLUMINA POK MON CRYSTABLOOM
Yes, there does appear to be an a empty space where the “E” in “POKEMON” is supposed to be. Anyways, you can see how Ancient Lentalian uses different glyphs to represent the same graphemes in general the Lentalian alphabet.
That’s about all the Lentalian text in the game so far! This might actually be all of it… but we’ll see what happens as the game progresses.
So Wait, Ancient Lentalian?
I personally haven’t reached this part of the game quite yet, but this new form of Lentalian was worth having it be spoiled for me, just cuz I love digging into new languages and alphabets like this.
Anyways, below is the list of Lentalian letters, with Standard Lentalian on top and Ancient Lentlian on the bottom.
Hopefully you can see the similarities between the two alphabets, as well as more ancient real world scripts, almost like it was written using a cuneiform stylus. Pretty neat stuff, don’t you think??
How We Know What We Know?
The best part of being a world famous e-detective like me, it’s that none of my tools I use to decipher text and work out Pokémon mysteries is anything that requires college education and years of in-the-field training. In fact, you can do what I do just as easily! All you need to do is put on your thinking cap, put in a little elbow grease, and apply any other body verbage metaphor, and you can work out these mysteries yourself as well.
The Lentalian Alphabet story started when the January 2021 promo video for New Pokémon Snap dropped, which first revealed the Lental alphabet. You can see it for yourself below:
Based on these images alone, some key facts are revealed:
- I had initially discovered 19 unique glyphs in Lentalian across 80 letters.
- At first I thought I found only 18, assuming one letter was an accidental vertical flip, seeing as other flips occurred, but it turned out to be a proper letter outright.
- 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.
- The game’s prerelease materials have stated that the travel pod that the player is in most of the time is called the “NEO-ONE” (or “NEO-01”) pod. This gives us the first clues on how to decipher the alphabet.
Below are two pictures of what I was able to work out right away; the one of the left is all the letters of Lental I pulled from the video, while the image on the right is the full list of Lental letters I found along with some extra colored letters; the GREEN letters are the characters which I actually have already deciphered (based on the name “NEO-01”), while the RED letters are temporary characters just so I can at least write something out in text while sorting things out.
So with all this on the table, we can begin work on actually deciphering the alphabet depicted in the video. In that case, there are 4 pieces of text we can try to figure out for now; again, GREEN letters have been officially decoded, while the RED letters are just placeholders based on the letter chart above. Guess letters will be colored YELLOW, and any other characters or unrelated letters (like numbers) will be GREY.
This is the basis of all subsequent alphabet deciphering.
|MENDIM TOHESON YNB
“MENDIM TOHESON” looks like “LENTAL POKEMON”. And I think I accidentally deciphered the fifth word as “SCIENCE”… but then that would make it “LENTIL”, not “LENTAL”. But then again, “LENTIL” IS the Japanese romaji name for the Region. Finally, WordFinder suggests YNB is “AND”.So if we swap out the placeholders for the new letters assuming this, then it would become:LENTIL POKEMON AND
LADOQATOQWBased on the results from below, this text becomes:LENTIL POKEMON AND
So actually, it looks like the last word is LABORATORY… which means that the third character WASN’T accidentally flipped vertically. So that’s the 19th character!
LENTIL POKEMON AND
|(flipped from original video clip)||MENDIM INGDIDFDE
TOHESON YNB NYDFQE
“MENDIM” appears again… which makes sense that it’s “LENTIL”? And then the second word it definitely “INSTITUTE”. Taking “AND” from above turns that text into:
POKEMON AND NATFQEOK, that last word is definitely “NATURE”.LENTIL INSTITUTE
POKEMON AND NATURE
The double letters in the middle made me think it might have been a reference to Professor Mirror… but then it would have the same letter on the end. Inputting the guess letters above into this creates:
WordFinder suggests that, unless this is the character’s name, it could be any one of these words: bellow, cellos, felloe, fellow, hellos, mellow, yellow
I thought maybe it was “Yellow”, but “Y” is depicted as a different character… assuming that that that word with “Y” in it is supposed to be “LABORATORY”. So… I’m at a loss. In that case, it’s probably the player’s name, which I suspect might be the case as it looks like their ID number below the text. That said, based on what letters HAVEN’T already appeared, it could be “Fellow”, “Hellow”, “Jellow”, “Gellof”, “Fellog”, “Velloh”… I’m sticking with “Fellow” for now, but that’s a total guess not based on ANY rational conjecture.
OK so, based on these guesses, this is the updated results for the letters:
With all this said, if you’re the impatient type and just want the answers, here they are:
LENTIL POKEMON AND
(Not completely official, the F and W are total guesses.)
Other clear facts about Lentalian include:
- The Lentalian alphabet is effectively a cipher of English, or at least the Latin alphabet.
- Because of which, there will likely only be 26 letters in the Lentalian alphabet, with no extra diacritics or extra symbols used; for example, “Pokémon” is written simply as “Pokemon”, without any kind of Lentalian version of the ´ accent over the “e”.
- This also means that, if any Japanese words are written using it, it’ll be written in romaji. This likewise implies that any Pokémon names written in Lentalian will use their transliterated Japanese equivilants (eg. “Fushigidane” instead of “Bulbasaur”)
- Like the Galarian alphabet, the Lentalian alphabet uses symbols and characters pulled from other languages, or even mixed between them.
- Characters like 4 (A), 0 (N), Z (M) are obvious, albeit stylized (actually 0 (N) looks a bit like “slashed zero” seen on computer terminals)
- Then there are characters like ラ (S), れ (K), ¥ (L) which are based on Japanese characters or symbols
- Greek characters like Ψ (Y), Θ (N), Π (E) can be seen
- Finally, characters like П (E), Б (D), Э (T) which come from the Russian alphabet (technically Cyrillic).
- Speaking of Cyrillic, both it and Lentalian use letters which are made up of two distinct elements, which appear to be two separate letters but are actually intended to be read together. In the case of Cyrillic, the letter Ы is a vowel similar to the “i” in “hit” or the “e” in “roses”, even though it looks like it’s the Cyrillic letters Ь and І. Meanwhile, the Lentilian characters for at least I, O and U are made up of multiple detatched elements but are clearly supposed to be a single glyph.
- Those mixed letters also almost look like English lowercase letters like ir (?) and in (O)
- The Lentalian alphabet only covers the letters itself. Numbers and punctuations seem to be as we expect them to be.
This is where I’m at right now. Let’s see where further research takes me!