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Deciphering Ancient is largely made possible because individual characters, or "glyphs," convey meaning. For instance, the glyph meaning "person" connected to the character for "one" creates the word "I" or "me." Adding the glyph indicating possession changes it to "my." More complex words are created by combining multiple glyphs, sometimes using their connotative rather than their literal meanings.


Atoms are extracted from the game output file, from lines such as this:

TransModelWord: Word: [PrototypeWordModel: englishWord=Goddess, atoms=person,joinGlyph2,Knowledge]
Glyph Atom Type Meaning
; quality Part of speech Adjective
" verb Part of speech Verb
) noun Part of speech Noun, basic/concrete
Standalone word: "thing."
( property Part of speech Noun, complex/abstract
? query Part of speech Questions, conditionals
' of Relationship/
Standalone word: "of" or "as"
x not Relationship Negation: no, none, not
. joinGlyph2 Relationship Connects glyphs within a word.
Appears after Category-type glyphs.
: joinGlyph1 Relationship Connects glyphs within a word.
Difference from the single connector is unclear.
May indicate a compound word or a subject/object relationship.
, primitive Relationship Indicates that the previous glyph's meaning is the meaning of the entire word.
w and Relationship And
Often appears as an independent word.
j Being Relationship Any present form of the verb "to be" (am, is, etc.)
Often appears as an independent word.
0 0 Number Zero, none, nothing
1 1 Number One
Also used to indicate first person, relating to the speaker.
2 2 Number Two
Also used to indicate second person, relating to the listener/reader.
3 3 Number Three
Also used to indicate third person, relating to others.
4 4 Number Four
5 5 Number Five
6 6 Number Six
7 7 Number Seven
8 8 Number Eight
9 9 Number Nine
f many Number Many, multiple, plurality
Sometimes used as an intensifier, ie, "very."
t plant Category Plant, nature
u place Category Location, place
c time Category Time
y mineral Category Editors uncertain: likely means either "tool," "metal," or "charged." Seems to be made of glyphs for "light" and "rock," hence "sparkling rock."
r person Category Human, person (made up of the glyphs for "creature" and "knowledge")
k creature Category Animal, nonhuman
g Say Category Communicate. Similarity to "knowledge."
= Water General Liquid, water
May also represent speed or value
z Heat General Fire, flame, heat
Metaphorically, anger or violence
v Rock General Rock, ground, earth
h Light General Light, happiness
s Motion General Movement, travel, path
l Life General Life, living
o Circle General Complete/whole, cyclical, round, loop
q Food General Food
i High General Height, up
p Knowledge General Knowledge
b past_tense General Past, history
Also used to mark past tense on verbs.
d Beginning General Beginning
e Possession General Hold, carry
n Join General Together, joined, near
m Separate General Separate, divided, far
a Truth General Truth, correct
Metaphorically, goodness, justice, or beauty


Word Meaning Logic Subword Word/Morpheme
of all
c.of always/forever time-all: [for] all time of (all)
;bd before
)'.p book object of/with knowledge
;(."e:)xl dangerous
r.)pr emperor person (who makes the) law )pr (law)
)"hs entrance
utu.v fields
"'.s follow
);'f:)"hs gates
"s, go, goes "motion", set apart with" (indicates verb) and , ("itself") s
r.p god/goddess person and knowledge phys
u.v ground place rock
"e, have/hold/own/carry/take
ur.1 here place [near] me r.1 (I/me)
;r.p holy godly (adjective of god) r.p (god/goddess)
u.l home place [where one] lives catya
kr human(s) creature [who is] intelligent-being meke
r.1 I/me first person
)=:;xs ice water not moving
u.lo land/moon/world/globe el
)h, light
"l, lives
'.r.1 my / mine belonging to me r.1 (I/me) boyauki
' of/by/as/with/than bo
u place cat
ur.)pr palace place [of the] emperor r.)pr (emperor)
"gr.p pray speak [to] god r.p (god)
"u.l protect
)=,:)si river(s) water [that moves with the] wind )si(wind)
ykr robot(s) inorganic human kr (human) myameke
"'sr.el save "move person towards life"
)r.)=v tears
)r.1 this object [near] me r.1 (I/me)
'.s towards
;a, true
i up ali
;'ex'e via/by/through in [and then] out [of] 'e(in) x'e(out)
)=, water
r.f1 we/us first person many
"r.f1gn welcome we say meet/join r.f1 (we)
)si wind movement [at] height


Work on translating spoken Ancient is ongoing, so nearly everything in this section should be considered tentative and subject to change. If a translation is followed by a question mark, it is even more tentative.

Word/Morpheme Meaning Subwords Written
ali up i
aliya exalted up-life
ang knowledge p
angset answer knowledge-speech
bo of, as, with '
bo-cataliti ifarali heaven's vault of-heaven vault/jump 'u.)hi "sii
boyaiki your of-you '.r.2
boyauki my of-me '.r.1
cat place u
catkis place of kings place-leader ur.a
catiokis place of princes place-future-leader urc."r.a
catya home place-life u.l
el land/moon/world/globe u.lo
elboreth moon of thieves globe-of-thieves
en hold? e
far move, go s
hua true? ;a,
huameke ?? true?-person
humenyaqi withering plant-negation-life ;"t."xl
i is/are (any present form of 'to be') j
ieni-hua good faith?
ifarali vault/hopper verb-travel-up "sii
ki person/intelligent being r
Kibenya (water goddess) one who gives life?
kis king/leader/ruler person-truth r.a
malifar fall negation-go-up "sxi
meke person/people/human creature-intelligent being kr
mori near negation-apart/far ;xm,
mya machine/artificial/inorganic y
myameke robot inorganic-creature-person ykr
mykis better ?-leader
re thing, object )
refar path/route noun-motion )s,
reth thieves?
salle sailor r.':)s:)s
set speak g
si not, no x
siang question negation-knowledge
siboar from negation-of/by-go x'.s
sifar wait negation-go "xs
sliset silence no-speech (;0g
ti light h
tifar door, entrance light-go ("hs
ya life l
yaiki you r.2
yauki me, I r.1