- "Their language doesn't translate in a literal manner, and each word has multiple meanings."
Sangheili is the language spoken by the species of the same name. Though the member species of the Covenant had their own unique languages, an advanced dialect of Sangheili came to serve as the lingua franca throughout the entire Covenant Empire. and as such, many names of member species are derived from the Sangheili. Even after the fragmentation of the Covenant, many former client species of the Covenant continue to use the Sangheili language in lieu of their native tongues; Sangheili has even replaced their native language for many. A specific trade pidgin also existed within the Covenant fringe.
- 1 Description
- 2 Vocabulary
- 3 Transliterated Sangheili
- 4 Non-native speakers of Sangheili
- 5 Symbol types
- 5.1 Triangle type (original cipher)
- 5.2 Bumped triangles type
- 5.3 Forerunner symbol type
- 5.4 Sunaion and Sangheili Ruins Symbols
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 Gallery
- 8 List of appearances
- 9 Note
- 10 Sources
Text, or writing, in Sangheili appears to be mostly triangle shapes and composed almost completely of equilateral triangles. The triangular characters have been seen oriented both in the horizontal left-to-right direction and in a vertical right-to-left direction. Furthermore the Covenant doesn't use Morse code.
Though originating with the Sangheili, an advanced dialect of their language has come to be the Covenant lingua franca, used to connect the different races and species. Curiously, in several instances of Forerunner-related terminology, the Sangheili appear to use the English translations of the original Forerunner terms, as for "Forerunner", "Requiem", "Reclaimer", "Didact", and "Librarian".[note 1] During the San'Shyuum-Sangheili War, the San'Shyuum obtained a comprehensive understanding of the Sangheili language by brutally torturing and interrogating prisoners of war. After establishing peace with the Sangheili, the San'Shyuum of the fledgling Covenant relied on translation software built into their anti-gravity chairs to understand the language. The Ussans developed in isolation from other Sangheili, and their language evolved into a different form of the Sangheili dialect. It possessed similarities to Old Sangheili, but the language developed into a new language that could not be understood by the "average" Sangheili.
Note: All words in the following list should not be pronounced as if they were English. The pronunciation of each letter does not depend on the letters that follow. Certain sounds are not written due to them only being available via the International Phonetic Alphabet. This results in letters: a, o, i, u, e, y, t, d, f, v, b, c, p, k, l, h and s not representing the actual sounds in the Sangheili language.
Dieduckt gahkaboonoh Liebuh-Rahrian musuyano. Kaboonzaywah wohchita kneekohsoh woorumahtwo.
Nmtahbonwon Sayoh. Gah-eymayoh Reecleymah toymeh-ushou zosuerohkoh!
Non-native speakers of Sangheili
Several species, including humans, Mgalekgolo, Unggoy and Kig-Yar, are able to speak Sangheili. Not all races can speak the same language due to evolutionary design restrictions; for example, the Yanme'e could only communicate through a cacophony of high-pitched clicks and screeches. To facilitate easier communications between member species, translation software is used on Covenant ships to decipher words. During and after the Human-Covenant War, several humans were able to understand Sangheili :
There are four known written types of the Sangheili language.
Triangle type (original cipher)
This triangle variant of the written language has a few key features. They are a big triangle surrounded numerous smaller triangles. These smaller triangles are known to be closer to the corners of the bigger triangle, and can either be floating above the corner, or very close to it. The direction of the bigger triangle is not set, leading to there being numerous possibilities to what one symbol could mean. The bigger triangle is also known to have semi-circles cut out of the middle of its sides, sometimes filled with circles. Sometimes the triangles points are not there and are replaced by a circle. Sometimes rectangles are involved in the symbols. There is also thinner and longer triangle symbols in this type of symbols. These can have a smaller triangle at its smaller side or not.
There is a few different translations for this type of symbols. These are seen often in transmissions, on control panels. These have been in use as early as February 4th 2531 in transmissions during the Harvest Campaign.
Triangle Alphabet 1
A Covenant system over Harvest that uses this alphabet.
Triangle Alphabet 2
The Halo 3 campaign Sangheili combat harness triangle symbols.
Glyph patterns that change one by one on Assembly in Halo 3.
The known countdown of an Antimatter Charge in The Package.
Symbol that appears on the shoulder armor of Skirmishers in Halo Reach.
Triangle type seen on an Covenant communication node in Halo Reach.
Triangle type symbols found on the Type-31 needle rifle zoom.
Triangle type symbols seen on a Covenant supply case in Halo Reach.
One of Doctor Halsey's attempt to understand the Covenant language.
Jul 'Mdama's Covenant faction symbols
Sunaion control panel.
Type-26 Shade symbols in Halo 5: Guardians.
Bumped triangles type
These triangle symbols are similar to the base triangle type. They are big triangles with a spike coming out near the corners. Smaller triangles, unlike the triangle type symbols, are closer to the middle of the sides, touching the spike coming out near the corner.
There is sometimes a smaller triangle taken out the sides of the bigger triangles, and sometimes triangle taken out the middle of them also.
Numbers 00 to 18 that appear on the Type-51 carbine in Halo 4.
Type-55 storm rifle overheat symbol in Halo 4.
Type-27 Beam Rifle zoom symbols in Halo 4.
Type-33 fuel rod gun zoom on off target and on target symbols in Halo 4.
Type-56 Lich control panel with these symbols on it in Halo 4.
These are all the symbols and patterns related to them.
Sangheili Storm symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Sangheili Zealot symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Sangheili Warrior symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Sangheili Commander symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Sangheili Ranger symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Kig-Yar Storm symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Kig-Yar Heavy symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Unggoy Storm symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Unggoy Heavy symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Unggoy Ranger symbols and patterns in Halo 4.
Unggoy armor symbol in Halo 5: Guardians.
Forerunner symbol type
Symbol pattern used by the Covenant for Harvest.
Two Forerunner type glyphs appearing on a Covenant communication node.
Sangheili Minor harnesses emblazoned with Forerunner glyphs.
Weapons and vehicles
Sunaion and Sangheili Ruins Symbols
Ancient Sangheili triangle type
An ancient version of the Sangheili script appears in Sangheili ruins and ceremonial curveblades. Symbols similar to the modern triangular symbols appear. They can also be seen on modern Swords of Sanghelios flags.
Ancient Sangheili circle type
Usually next to ancient Sangheili triangle types on ancient Sangheili scriptures.
This type is numerous symbols and images.
A mural that has a version of the Guardian symbol on it.
Behind the scenes
Before the release of Halo 2, the official website at Halo2.com was made to look like a Covenant computer complete with the Sangheili language. This language was a simple cipher with the triangular characters. In addition to Halo2.com, a released wallpaper contained triangular characters that made use of this cipher. After the Halo2.com site, the cipher changed. Two wallpapers were released with an entirely new cipher still using the triangular characters. Neither this cipher or the previous one have been used subsequently, though the triangular characters are still commonly used.
The languages in their original form are heard in Halo: Combat Evolved. In Halo 2, their words are translated for the convenience of the player. Elites in Halo: CE spoke a deep, warbling tongue. This was achieved by reversing the voice acting of David Scully. The ever popular "Wort, wort, wort!" shouted by many Elites during gameplay is actually "Go, go, go!" reversed and sped up. The hissing-like language of the Jackals is actually the English language reversed. This, and the other Covenant languages (Drones, Hunters), have remained the same since Halo 2.
List of appearances
- ^ It should be noted that in Spartan Ops subtitles, these terms are phonetically transliterated from Sangheili speech (e.g. "Dieduckt", "Liebuh-Rahrian", "Reecleymah") rather than using their proper spellings.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa This is a phonetic spelling. The proper rendering has not been confirmed in canon.
- ^ Halo: First Strike, page 156
- ^ a b c Halo Waypoint: Covenant
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Axl
- ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Part 1
- ^ Halo 4, Spartan Ops
- ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 22 (Google Play edition)
- ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 276 (Google Play edition)
- ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 204 (Google Play edition)
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Halo 4 - Terminal 1
- ^ a b EliteSpeak
- ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol
- ^ Halo: The Flood, page 28
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 95
- ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 24
- ^ Halo: Shadow of Intent, page 23
- ^ Halo: Shadow of Intent, page 45
- ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 79
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 295
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 262
- ^ Spartan Ops, E3 Catherine
- ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
- ^ Halo: Broken Circle, Chapter 1
- ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Banshee
- ^ Hunt the Truth Season 2, Episode 04: JACKALS
- ^ a b Halo: Glasslands, page 17
- ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
- ^ Halo 4
- ^ Halo: Mortal Dictata, page 92
- ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 311
- ^ Halo Encyclopedia, pages 148-149
- ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 277 (Google Play edition)
- ^ Spartan Ops, S1E8 Expendable
- ^ a b Halo: Hunters in the Dark
- ^ Halo: Mortal Dictata, page 394
- ^ Halo Wars Launch Site Original Source Defunct
- ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn