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The Apothicon Language Decoded (For Real this time)

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The Apothicon Language.png

Almost four years ago, the entire community was told that we now had in our hands, the keys to decoding the Apothicon (and Keeper) languages. Now, with @EricMaynard (twitter: https://twitter.com/EricMaynardII), Bench (twitter:bench_appearobench_appearohttps://twitter.com/bench_appearo), and myself (as well as several others) having spend an inordinate amount of hours on it over the past week, I tell you today that this was not the case. In fact, we had barely scratched the surface of the Apothicon Language. 



From the limited information we were selectively given by MrRoflWaffles, we knew the translations of Apothicon words into English, and vice-versa. As an example, HUMAN translates to ZOR'ARKOTH. However that was it. We knew nothing more than exact translations.



Every word in Apothicon is a single symbol, that is made up of several "radicals". These radicals have their own individual meanings and so can give context or information not only about a word, but about the way the word relates to the Apothicons as a species, or their views on it.


For this, I'll provide a real-world example: If we take the English word "Wednesday", it's easy enough to just consider it a word - however if you dig into the etymology of it, you actually find a bit of history. Wednesday comes from Wodan's-day, which in turn means Odin's Day. This comes from the Viking occupation of Britain, when Odin was of course worshipped as a patron. However, without knowledge of the pieces that make up "Wednesday", this analysis would be impossible. The Same is true with Apothicon.


Unfortunately however, the majority of the radicals - bar the few that Milo had shared in a single video - were totally unknown to everyone other than him, however thanks to our efforts, this is no longer the case. 



Looking again at Zor'Arkoth:

We know this means human, but if we split it up into its component radicals (ZOR, ARK, OTH/OZ), we can learn a little bit about how Apothicons view humans.

ZOR - Potential

ARK - Open

OTH - Change


In this sense, Zor'Arkoth could be literally translated as "(being that is) Open to Change". However, given what we know about Apothicon's history with Humans, I personally believe this could be more liberally translated as "(being that is) Easily Manipulated".


Another great example, not only for its lore implications but also as a practical example of translation, is the word for Apothicon - OZZOTH:

If we take Ozzoth purely based on its spelling, we get the radical of "OTH/OZ" twice. However, if we instead look at its symbol, we can clearly see the radical for "NOG". There are numerous examples of radicals that feature in the symbols of words, but not necessarily their English transliterations - these can be seen much like silent letters in English, in that they are equally as important to the word, just keep in mind that they are not pronounced. 

It should be noted here that there is no concept of "I" in Apothicon. We get confirmation in Black Ops 4 that they operate under a hive-mind, however had we this information when it was meant to have been released four years ago, we would have been able to figure it our far sooner. OZZOTH is made up of "MY, MINE, OUR" and "CHANGE". This could be seen as a possible allusion to this idea.



The image itself is a replication of the original treyarch design document (seen in the teaser for the Awakening DLC for Black Ops 3 and printed on the shirt given to Milo) and is seemingly completely accurate, however we would be grateful if any inaccuracies are pointed out.

The process itself was straight forward but equally time consuming. When we first started, we were able to dig up several images of Blundell wearing the shirt or the shirt being held up in videos, however these were often blurry. Luckily, the most important part of missing information - the radicals - were in some cases just about clear enough to make out, however this was not true for all radicals. At first, even if the radical itself was visible, the English definition appeared to be a pixelated mess. This didn't make it impossible to decode though. By looking at all words that used a specific radical, we were able to discern a lose meaning for the radical, and then by comparing to the text on the image for length and character shape, were able to eventually find the correct fitting word. Whilst at first this left a lot of uncertainty, as we translated more and used a process of elimination, as well as the methods previously described, the radical definitions became more and more accurate up until the finished product, of which I personally believe to have the totally accurate definitions (however again, if anyone can find evidence or valid counter examples, please send them to any of us as it is in everyone's best interests that this is as accurate as possible).



This is the fun part. For the first time since the language was first introduced 1556 days ago in Shadows of Evil, it is now possible to make your own words in Apothicon. In order to do this, simply take the radicals that fit the word you wish to create and fit them together. As seen by many full words on the list, radicals themselves can be disassembled to make a more aesthetically pleasing word, and in some cases (e.g. Parasite, Elemental) are somewhat pictographic, and look like the thing they represent. 



When looking at the language sheet, you may notice that the radicals "nool" and "yog" have no symbol. This isn't because we couldn't figure out what it was, but that there was no symbol on the treyarch design documentation itself. However here are my thought: Nool and Yog are seemingly the second and third person variants of Nog, and as such, I believe if written, would use the same radical as that of Nog, therefore that radical's reading is dependant on its context.


Furthermore, you may notice certain words have either the same meaning, or same pronunciation as radicals (e.g. "Maroth" - Shadow, and "Nog" (noun)). In the case of Maroth, whilst the radical "Mar" means shadow, Maroth literally translates to Change-Shadow, so in my view can be seen as an actual physical shadow that moves and twists as the object casting it does, rather than an abstract idea that the radical represents. With Nog (noun), it is clear to see that it features the radical for hold. This indicates that the noun form refers to actual possessions (as it translates literally to "(hold) my, mine, our". 


Finally, the symbols for "BREAK" and "SHOCK" were not given Apothicon translations by Treyarch on their design document, further confirmed by the fact that they are impossible to obtain on Milo's translator website.



In my opinion, this is information that the community deserved, and I feel truly privileged to bring it to you, and though I cannot speak for the others, I'm sure they would agree. Now, Lar Ozzoth otha nool Shubozzor Nethest Baresthlar.





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Servant= astagua = asta + gua = hold + resource 
Blood = lorozzor= lor+oz+zor = flow+change+potential
IDgun = na'orruja = na+or(r)+uja = bone+flow+damage 
Perk = ullaoth = ulla + oth = consume + change 

This is pretty cool! Thanks for putting it up in a nice and organized picture.  
I know the kind of work that you had to do through my work (\w coldstone!) on the 
redacted classified document so I would say this is correct or at least very close to being correct.
Did you try to work out translations of in-game language given the new context of the words?
In shadows of evil there is quite lot: Pack a Punch, swords (each one has its own text iirc), mystery box, etc. 

Edited by RichKiller

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This is huge! As you say, an alphabeth doesn't say everything; it are the meanings behind the words that are the most interesting. Awesome work, you and everyone who worked on this! Brains, and it certainly deserved it rightfull place here in the Asylum! Can't wait to check Shadows of Evil and all the maps including the symbols.


An off-topic side note: Human literally translating to 'a being open to potential change' makes me think humans are possibly the most easy to corrupt by the Aether, or possibly the only ones able to be manipulated. However, we know the Keepers were originally corrupted too, could they have been descendants of humans, perhaps from far away in space but seeding their own ancestors on Earth as well. Remember those Agarthan zombies in Origins, something with them is not human, and just like the Keepers they got huge carnivorous jaws and wear the symbol of the Black Sun. Could they have been the transition between humans and Keepers. And thus, the Keepers are, just like humans, easy to manipulate by the Aether.


I'm also very curious where Blood (flow-change-potential) hints too. Where can we encounter this symbol, and does it concern human blood or Apothican "blood"? 

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25 minutes ago, Schrödinger said:


I did this at the time, before MrRoflWaffles received the t-shirt and kept it for himself. Although some mistakes were revealed afterwards with kronorium.com (you forgot "finally" by the way).

That's awesome, and yeah I know "finally" is missing, however it was a conscious choice. It was featured in the DE design doc (challenge board) however it is missing from the shirt. Furthermore, I'm not sure it ever even appears in game. I could have included it, but thought it was better to try and recreate the shirt as much as possible.


As well, the actual etymology for "Finally" as "Eomar" doesn't make the most sense (time-shadow), and is even made redundant by "End" as "Kareon" (time-end). I think this may have informed the decision to scrap the symbol.

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Said it on Reddit, but I'll say it here: You've done God's work.

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Anyone knows what the transcription under the Magic Box says?

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On 2/11/2020 at 4:29 PM, anonymous said:

Anyone knows what the transcription under the Magic Box says?

Do you mean the runes on its base in SoE?

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1 hour ago, caljitsu said:

Do you mean the runes on its base in SoE?

Aye, sorry for being vague

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10 minutes ago, anonymous said:

Aye, sorry for being vague


URGNOTH - Magic Box (Twice, flipped with one on top of the other, overlaying on each other at the radical (urg/gua)


LEFT (Upper):

URGNOTH - Magic Box (on its side)


ARKNA - Portal 


LEFT (Lower):







RIGHT (Upper):


ARBATUK - Points 



RIGHT (Lower):

ANNETH - Weapon

URGNOTH - Magic Box (on its side)



Magic Box: To Open a portal through time and space, granting a weapon, feed (the box) your gathered points


I actually think it's more correct to refer to the SOE box as an Urgnoth, as clearly it's an apothicon creature, not an object. It's even listed under creatures by Treyarch.


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