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D'ni Fonts

And Transliteration Systems

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D'ni Fonts and Transliteration Characters:

Dnifont (right-click and choose "save link as")
Author: Cyanworlds, Inc.
Cyan's official font. The å/æ character is mapped to å (Alt+0229).

D'ni Script (compressed file)
Authors: Colin Arenz (Tekis) and Sebastian Ochs (Jehon)
Three fonts created by Tekis and Jehon. In D'ni Script Standard, å/æ is mapped to q and Y, ts/c is mapped to x and X. In D'ni Script Angular, characters are mapped almost identically to DniFont. In D'ni Script Linguistic, characters are mapped for NTS keystrokes.

ArialDni (compressed file)
Author: Domahreh
An Arial style sans serif character set. Includes a readme file with instructions for Microsoft Word use.

D'niDings (right-click and choose "save link as")
Author: BladeLakem
A collection of webdings based on Uru symbols and designs.

LTS Autohotkey script (right-click and choose "save link as")
Author: Larry
A script for typing the extra vowels used in LTS. It requires installation of Autohotkey, a program for mapping keystrokes for special characters. Click here to visit Autohotkey's web site. After installing Autohotkey, double-click the script to run it. Type alt + a, e, i, o, or u to get vowels with macrons. Shift + alt + a, e, i, o, or u will type capitals of the vowels. For the å character type alt + s, and Å is typed by shift + alt + s.

Transliteration Systems:

The D'ni language and alphabet use a writing system known as phonemic orthography. That means that each sound in the language (phoneme) has a grapheme (written symbol) used exclusively for that sound. This causes a problem when transliterating D'ni words into various languages, because various D'ni graphemes may not have an equivalent grapheme in the desired orthography (writing system). Examples are the lack of a "kh" sound in English, or the lack of a "th" sound in French, which mean there are no specific graphemes to represent those sounds in their orthographies.

This is often compensated for by the use of digraphs (a combination of two letters to represent a single sound), but that loses the flavor of D'ni texts written using D'ni graphemes.

There are several transliteration standards for writing D'ni with Latin alphabets. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.


The Old Transliteration Standard is the original method for transcribing the sounds of D'ni using Latin characters. It was devised by Cyan Worlds, and is used in the Myst novels and in the D'ni Language Guide, which was included in the European Collector's Edition of Myst V.

OTS uses digraphs to clarify the pronunciation of certain vowels and consonants. The value assignments are based on English pronunciation.

Here are some general rules of OTS: Vowels followed by h indicate English short vowels. Consonants followed by h create digraphs for fricatives and affricates that cannot be represented by a single letter. The letter y following a vowel usually indicates a diphthong long e sound such as the y in the word boy. However, since y is also used as a consonant in D'ni, that is not always true. The D'ni word koyihm (seen, saw) is not "koy-ihm". It is "ko-yihm".

Å or ae are occasionally used for the alternate short a sound found in cat, but it is more often indicated by a without a following h. This can cause it to be confused with ah since the following h is sometimes omitted in certain words. DniFont uses å as the character typed to print the alternate short a.

Depending on the person performing the transliteration, the following h may be omitted after a vowel when the writer believes a word would be pronounced the same with or without it. Example: kehnehn may be written kenen. The h of ah is also frequently dropped even though the vowel might then be indistinguishable from an a representing the å sound. However, h always appears when it is a consonant or part of a consonantal digraph.

There isn't a consistent method used for diphthongs in OTS. The English long a sound found in the word fate can be written ay or ai, and which is used seems to be dependent on the writer's preference. In the case of the name Atrus, it was spelled Aitrus for the grandfather and Atrus for the grandson as a way of distinguishing them in text. The long i sound found in the word line has been transliterated with a capital i, a rare convention that all fan transliteration systems discard.

Advantages: OTS is a system that was created to try to make the pronunciation of D'ni words as apparent as possible, and is familiar to everyone who has played the Myst series or read the novels based on it. OTS was designed to be typed using a standard keyboard.

Disadvantages: The use of modifying letters loses the flavor of the D'ni spelling, and can cause confusion as to which letters should be pronounced and which left silent. One of the more commonly used examples is the word for pleasure. In DniFont, it's spelled meUr, with the capital u representing a long u sound. In OTS, it's spelled mehoor in an attempt to show how it is pronounced, but many people, on reading it, mistake it for me-hoor. OTS has also varied from one game in the Myst series to the next, and according to whomever was writing at the time. This gives it an inconsistency that can be frustrating to deal with at times. Another objection to the OTS is that the system is based on English spelling and is therefore not transparent to speakers of languages other than English. The use of digraphs in OTS has also been criticized, as has the variability of spellings in this system. Nevertheless, Cyan continues to use the OTS in its own work, and so do the majority of fans.


The New Transliteration Standard was created by fans attempting to replicate the phonemic orthography of DniFont. For example, the D'ni word behlehtsahrah uses thirteen Latin letters using OTS, although it only has eight sounds. In the NTS, the word would be written as belecara, using eight letters, one for each phoneme.

NTS uses the following characters to represent D'ni phonemes: a for ah, á for long ai, i for ih, í for ee, e for eh, é for ay, ó for oy, ú for oo, c for ts, æ for å, þ for th, ð for dh, š for sh, ç for ch, and x for kh.

An example of NTS in action is this pangram: .xapo dohúr reto bavanal co gorayænó kodomaðoenij çevtavtí çileš merþzu ráwéec b'fasí
In LTS, that sentence would read: ".Khapo dohūr reto bavanal tso gorayånoy kodomadhoenij chevtavtē chilesh merthzu rīwāets b'fasē"
(That translates into "Perhaps finding the hiding place of my clock succeeded thanks mainly to an extremely procedural end."

NTS never caught on in general use, and OTS is still the accepted standard. However, it continues to be popular with a few serious students of D'ni because of its one-to-one correspondence of graphemes.

Advantages: Because it matches the phonetic orthography of DniFont, it comes the closest of any fan system in capturing the true flavor of D'ni words.

Disadvantages: A common objection to the NTS is that it is difficult to type because of its frequent use of special characters and dependency on characters from several European languages. It is also criticized for assigning non-intuitive values to letters, which critics say makes it difficult or even impossible to determine the intended pronunciation of D'ni words or to find the words in OTS based dictionaries.


The Revised Transliteration System is a standard created by the current Guild of Linguists, and is another attempt to cut down on the confusion inherent in OTS spelling. In RTS, long í. ai. ee. oy. and oo are written as ai, ei, ee, oi, and oo, while short vowels other than ah are always written without the following h.

Advantages: Like all of the fan transliteration systems, RTS cuts down on the excess of letters abundant in OTS. RTS is easily typed on a standard keyboard.

Disadvantages: RTS makes excessive use of digraphs, losing the flavor of the DniFont text. Depending on your country of origin, the digraphs used may be confused for other sounds. Example: In English, ai usually represents the long a sound found in afraid, and ei usually represents the long i sound found in either.


Larry's Transliteration System is the standard used in this web site, and has never been proposed as a common standard outside it. It was created by the site author as an attempt to make D'ni words easily legible to people who are not D'ni language students, as a replacement for the sometimes confusing spellings of OTS.

In LTS, English digraphs are used for consonant phonemes and the diphthong oy. The digraphs are ch, dh, kh, sh, th and ts. Long vowel sounds are marked by the use of macrons (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū), and unmarked vowels are always short. The alternate short a sound in the word cat is represented by å. This was primarily intended for readers of the site, who would normally understand the conventions used in LTS since the site is primarily aimed at an English-speaking audience.

Advantages: LTS is a simple system to learn, unlike NTS, and quickly becomes intuitive. Unlike OTS, there are many fewer extra characters in the words, so some of the flavor of DniFont is retained.

Disadvantages: Macrons are not part of the normal special character set found in most text editors, and can be difficult to type on any but a Maori English keyboard. Å is part of the special character set, but there is no easy way to type it on a standard keyboard. Non-native English speakers do not feel the conventions used in LTS are intuitive. Example: native English speakers recognize instantly that th is a digraph. French and German native speakers tend to pronounce th as t.


While not strictly a transliteration standard, DniFont is sometimes used as a quick and easy method of writing D'ni words in Latin characters. The method simply borrows the keystrokes that are used when writing words using the D'ni TrueType Font.

DniFont achieves phonetic orthography by using a combination of upper and lower case letters, with the case defining how the letter is pronounced. For example, let's take the sentence "Hello. It is nice to see you." In OTS, that is '.Shorah .Kehnehn mehooroy b'yim shehm' In DniFont, that would be written '.Sora .Kenen meUrO b'yim Sem'

Advantages: After learning the keystrokes necessary to type using the font, the convention is easily legible. It is also mostly easy to type on a standard keyboard.

Disadvantages: A prospective user needs to learn the keystrokes and what they mean, and since case matters, he or she cannot type the sentence in all caps or begin a sentence with a capital letter unless that letter is always a capital. DniFont also uses å to represent the alternate short a sound found in cat, which is a special character in most text editors.

Comparative Table of D'ni Transliteration:

D'ni Letter DniFont OTS NTS RTS LTS
å "a"  as in "cat" å a, å, ae æ a å
a "a"  as in "father" a ah a ah a
A "a"  as in "may" A ay, ai, a é ei ā
b "b"  as in"bat" b b b b b
c "ch"  as in "change" c ch ç ch ch
D "d"  as in "do" D d d d d
d "dh"  as th in "the" d dh ð dh dh
E "e"  as in "beer" E ee í ee ē
e "e"  as in "bet" e eh e e e
f "f"  as in "feel" f f f f f
g "g"  as in "good" g g g g g
h "h"  as in "hold" h h h h h
I "i"  as in "ice" I I, í á ai ī
i "i"  as in "sit" i ih i i i
j "j"  as in "jam" j j j j j
K "k"  as in "key" K k k k k
k "kh"  as ch in Scottish "loch" or German "doch" k kh x kh kh
l "l"  as in "live" l l l l l
m "m"  as in "man" m m m m m
n "n"  as in "no" n n n n n
o "o"  as in "boat" o o o o o
O "oy"  as in "toy" O oy ó oi oy
p "p"  as in "put" p p p p p
r "r"  as in "river" r r r r r
s "s"  as in "see”      s s s s s
S "sh"  as in "shoe" S sh š sh sh
t "t"  as in "tan" t t t t t
T "th"  as in "think" T th þ th th
x "ts"  as in "tsetse" x ts c ts ts
U "u"  as in "flute" U oo ú oo ū
u "u"  as in "rut" u uh u u u
v "v"  as in "very" v v v v v
w "w"  as in "well" w w w w w
y "y"  as in "yes" y y y y y
z "z"  as in "zoo" z z z z z


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I make no claims to any such rights or to the intellectual properties of Cyan Worlds; nor do I intend to profit financially from their work. This web site is a fan work, and is meant solely for the amusement of myself and other fans of the Myst series of games and books.