The Language of NINJAGO

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View image at flickr

LEGO NINJAGO has long combined oriental and western cultures and that trend continues in the upcoming movie as the NINJAGO characters appear alongside the familiar Roman alphabet. Many of the sets revealed in recent days feature this fictional script so we have deciphered each letter to uncover the meanings of every sign and symbol within the world of NINJAGO.

You can view our transliterations and discover the hidden secrets of the enormous 70620 NINJAGO City, as well as some of the standard retail sets, after the break...

It is particularly interesting to see that advertisements for the city of Bricksburg are present within NINJAGO, reflecting that minifigures are now free to travel between realms. You might also notice that the words 'play well' appear on a large holographic sign in reference to the meaning of the Danish phrase 'leg godt', after which LEGO is named.View image at flickr

There are also several notable references to the existing NINJAGO universe hidden among the many signs and advertisements, including a mention of Borg Industries along with the disreputable character of Ronin, although the upcoming film is entirely independent of the animated series.View image at flickr


View image at flickr
View image at flickrView image at flickr

The new NINJAGO lettering appears in some of the smaller sets too. 70606 Spinjitzu Training and 70607 NINJAGO City Chase are shown below but there are also some indistinguishable characters present in 70617 Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon.View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The six ninja wear unique robes, the linings of which are each embroidered with their respective elemental powers in the majority of instances.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The graphic designers have obviously worked hard to create a new alphabet and I am looking forward to finding more hidden phrases which are not visible in current images when the sets are released in August.

View image at flickrView image at flickr

 

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36 comments on this article

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By in United States,

very interesting article!

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By in Canada,

Where did you find the guide to the Ninjago language?

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By in Sweden,

Very cool...

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By in United Kingdom,

How long did it take you to figure all that out, Cap'n?

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By in United Kingdom,

Very interesting... so, rather than being a proper Oriental script it consists of Oriental-looking characters which are substituted 1:1 for Roman characters?

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By in United Kingdom,

Meanwhile Lloyd's looking kinda dumb with some asian-looking symbols in the shape of an LL on his forehead :)

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By in United States,

The way this works kinda reminds me of Aurebesh. I like it.

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By in Hong Kong,

This is exactly why I think Ninjago is still growing despite what people has to say about it. Just thinking that the designers are willing to put this much effort in designing a new language for the theme puts a smile on my face.

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By in United States,

Borg Industries from Season 3!
Bricksburg from the Lego Movie!

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By in Netherlands,

Arlo? I only know that word from the good dinosaur!

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By in United States,

I always found it fun figuring out what writing in past Ninjago sets ment, but now the theme has its own proper language to decipher, much like BIONICLE. That'll add a lot of depth and easter eggs to both the film and toys.

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By in United Kingdom,

An interesting insight. The figure with 'Galidor' written across his chest translates into a bad idea in any language.

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By in United Kingdom,

Which sets did the last few images come from please?

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By in Canada,

This similar to Futurama; fans deciphered the alien language found throughout episode, so the creators created another which fans also deciphered

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By in United States,

Wondering if there'll be a font released of it- either officially, like Matoran, or unofficially, like Okotan...

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By in United States,

This is fascinating - I have the same question as Huw. This might get me more interested in another theme, darn it. Like I don't have enough to keep up with already.

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By in Canada,

This is really neat! I was wondering what those said. :P Makes me think of the Mars Mission Alien font...

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By in United States,

Tangential nitpick: This is not a language, it's English written with a constructed script. Creating a full language is considerably more involved.

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By in United Kingdom,

Words cannot describe how excited I am about this set!!!! I cannot see how the Ninjago language has been translated... very clever. Most large sets have been unimpressive this year, POTC ship and Carousel really did nothing for me. It's about 8 weeks to mid-August, do we really have to wait that long?!?!

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By in Denmark,

I assume that TLG wanted to:

1) Avoiding getting accused of exploiting foreign cultures (has happened!)
2) Avoiding using signs which in a given context may have an undesired meaning

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By in United States,

Extremely interesting.

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By in United States,

^^^ "Words cannot describe how excited I am about this set!!!!" To meesajarjar72, no pun intended? Lol.

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By in Puerto Rico,

I love it.

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By in Sweden,

Planning for a huge Asian city!

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By in Sweden,

Wait... Arlo is a security system!

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By in United Kingdom,

^^^LuvLegos_Cool_J... too clever for my own good... doh!

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By in United Kingdom,

@wish22bone - Unfortunately, there is no official guide at the moment. However, it was possible to make some educated guesses regarding certain words, particularly those on the ninja. From there you can apply this information to other words and begin to fill in the gaps.

@Huw - Exactly.

@Dylan.farrow - The latter images are from 70606 Spinjitzu Training and 70607 NINJAGO City Chase.

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By in United Kingdom,

@capn Perfect thanks!

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By in United States,

Thanks and good job

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By in China,

Thanks for the decipher work! So, it's still in English, just coded differently.

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By in United States,

This is referred to as a cypher.

The more simple and common versions are seen in puzzle books where the english alphabet (or what have you) is shifted a number of characters to line up with a new character. You then look for likely patterns of repeated words that use the same characters (like 'the' and 'then') and single character words (like 'I' and 'a') to decipher the code.

In this case we have character substitution in a pseudo-asian script. Tolkien fans will recognize the substitution method as it is often used for writing common english words in Dwarven runes.

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By in Australia,

Great work @capnrex101. Have you got the whole alphabet sorted yet? Or a few characters remaining??

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By in Canada,

The writing in Ninjago always bothered me because it is so close to a random mixture of the three "alphabets" used in Japanese (hiragana, katakana & kanji) but never meant anything. Ultimately, as several of the commentors above have mentioned, it's still English, just cyphered using Japanese-looking (and sometimes Hangul/Korean-looking) fonts.

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By in United States,

SO MANY EASTER EGGS

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By in United Kingdom,

"BETTINGU ENDS!"

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By in Ukraine,

Not remotely a Ninjago fan but I think that is really cool.

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