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.
Although called an alphabet, in Homestuck it'd be more accurate to call it a cipher since they are merely a set of alternate glyphs for the English alphabet (the spelling is the same, just drawn differently). Numeric digits are not often seen, but where they do arabic numerals are used. Punctuation seemingly does not appear in the Daedric alphabet.in Homestuck, flipped and inverted versions of the standard western
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. The visual parallel may even have been intended by the person who made the suggestion. 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). As in the Daedric alphabet, numerical digit symbols are not often seen; however, as shown in the announcement post for Hiveswap Friendsim: Volume Two, stylized versions of the standard western arabic numerals are used as in the Daedric alphabet. Furthermore, 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, and similarly, the numeric digit symbols are not flipped and inverted.
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 Homestuck Edit
- 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 " ".
- Respectively, these pages also feature a green Y and a red X character, both rotated 180 degrees.
- It was used to give Karkat an incorrect name, " ", before his correct name was revealed in the next page's caption.
- Karkat's fetch modus shows when As with most encrpytion it's likely a jumble of characters, even if were legible to translate.
- 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 " ".
- It also features the same inverted Y and X as the pages where the planet was being named, likely to represent "yes" and "no", respectively.
- Feferi's .
- Though too small in the panel for individual letters to be legible, it can be made out that CD's is titled in the alphabet and printed bottom to top, as with all Alternian text.
- 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.
In Hiveswap Friendsim (Dubiously Canon) Edit
Despite being created to retroactively replace the Daedric alphabet, a few instances of the Daedric alphabet remain in Hiveswap Friendsim. This could be due to the scenes being written before the development of the new Alternian alphabet.
- Billboards featuring Trizza which read "HAIL THE HEIRESS" are visible in one of the main street backgrounds used in several routes.
- The banner of the coffee shop Elwurd and the MSPA Reader go to simply reads "COFFEE", and the one menu item on the right says "Just Fucking Piss". The menu on the left, usually hidden behind Elwurd, has the following items:
- Grub Frappucino
- Blood Swirl
- Cuppa Joe
- Heiress Special
- Rustblood Juice
- Posters in Elwurd's room read, from left to right:
- Stupid Words
- Obtain A Terrible Reputation
Troll Joan Jett
- There are posters of Trizza in an alleyway in Kuprum and Folykl's route which read "OBEY".
- The Grubbles lyric videos.
- Xefros's picture of the Heiress that reads "All your hive are belong to us."
- Subtitles on Xefros's television.
- Error message on Dammek's monitor.
- Dammek's SERPENT games.
- Trizza's selfie in Act 1, which reads "Wish you were here."
- Miscellaneous writings by Dammek.
- Miscellaneous posters in Dammek's hive.
- Xefros's to do list that reads "clean hive, etc"
- Dromed Baktar poster in Xefros' respiteblock.
- Xefros' vault.
- The Grubbles posters.
Appearances in Hiveswap Friendsim (Dubiously Canon) Edit
- All Hiveswap Friendsim character select screens, which translates to their name.
- Hiveswap Friendship Simulator: Volume Two announcement post - "April 27 / Friendsim Volume Two". This is also the only known instance of Alternian numerals being used.
- Cirava's good ending - some text floats by reading "AESTHETIC".
- In the nursery in Bronya's route in Volume 3, the corkboard has text on it that reads "Nursery".
- When you meet Tagora in Volume Four, the text above him says "Payment owed for legal services offered:" followed by an amount in numbers for each interaction with him. The currency has its own symbol of an Alternian C, with two horizontal lines going through it (representing the troll currency of ).
- Various posters in Vikare's hive in Hiveswap Friendship Simulator: Volume Four:
- Explore the galaxies!
Because you're required to fulfill your duty to society
- Cull in space
- During Remele's art heist in Volume Seven, Remele asks you to push two buttons to disable the laser security system - the one with "a meat claw but with angry eyes" and another with "a meat hook but it's got purrbeast claws".
- Tyzias' good ending has her napping, accompanied by "zzz"
- In Zebede's good ending, the text on the television screen reads "Alternia K-Pop All-stars".
- The sign over the doorway in Tegiri's hive reads "Oppai" in Alternian, which is Japanese slang for boobs.
- Tegiri's television appears to have a screenshot of Polypa's friendsim route, with all of the text in the Alternian alphabet rather than English.
- The anime shop in Tegiri's route is full of Alternian text, including all of the tiny, nigh-illegible DVD titles.
- The white sign on the DVD shelf says "Lowbloods ask for assistance"
- The poster on the left says "Troll Overwatch"
- The yellow sign behind the counter says "Return policy / We dont accept returns"
- The red sign above the back door reads "Employees Only"
- The large neon sign above the counter says "Super Topato Imports"
- The arcade game on the left is titled "Serpent S" and is presumably a sequel to the one on the right, "Serpent".
- In Tegiri's first bad ending, the text below his face reads "Pathetic." Meanwhile, his good ending features a line from the anime he, the Reader and Polypa are watching saying "Ore wa kaizoku-ou ni naru otoko da!" ("I [am the man who] will become the Pirate King!" in Eastern Alternian), most likely a reference to the pirate-themed anime One Piece.
- There is a news broadcast on tv in Mallek's vehicle:
- Grubday Forecast
- Solar Respite
- Cullday drone inspection le...?
- Several boxes of cereal are in Mallek's kitchen. They are labeled as:
- Troll Chex
- Fury Pops
- Fiddle Faddle
- Grub Crunch
- A skateboard in Mallek's respiteblock features a logo depicting what appears to be either Trizza Tethis or The Condesce, with a fuchsia label predictably reading "OBEY".
- In the sewers connected to Mallek's hive, there is graffiti which says "Suck my nook". The sign over the grate, meanwhile, reads "Do Not Block".
- An Alternian "x" appears to the upper right of Galekh Xigisi's citation notes.
- Stelsa Sezyat's main room in her hive features many file cabinets, which are labelled alphabetically, primarily top-to bottom and secondarily left to right. Specifically, the visible ones are: A-Ab, Ab-Ac, Ac-Af, Af-Az, Az-B, B-C, C-D, D-E(?), Q-R, R-Ra, Ra-Rb, V-W, W-Wa, Wa-Wb, Wb-?, W?-Wv, Wv-Ww,Ww-Wz, Xa-Xx, Xx-Xy, Xy-Yo, Yo-Z.
- Most of the books on Stelsa's bookshelf on the left side of her room are labelled with scribbles, but a few have Roman numerals (I, II, III...) and one pink book is simply labeled "BOO K" in the Latin alphabet. All of Tyzias' notes appear to be scribbles as well.
- Stelsa has two motivational posters in her room:
- A yellow sunrise over mountains is captioned "Sunrise / (bottom needs translating)"
- A bronzeblood grub hanging onto a tree branch is captioned "Tenacity / Give up already, lowbloods"
- Marsti Houtek is found scrubbing graffiti off a wall in her route, and some of it reads as follows: