Isu Language Hub Update
Written by Sary, May 14th, 2023

Our celebration for the 10th anniversary continues with an update of our Isu Language Hub!

In the last few months we had the chance to talk to Antoine Henry, the creator of the Language, in order to get a better understanding of the various Isu script occurrences from the latest Assassin's Creed releases that we couldn’t fully translate on our own.

In this article you will find a list of the updates to our database (along with Antoine's comments) and the links to their respective pages on the Hub.

Before reading, it might be useful to have a look at our latest video on the Isu Language, where we tried to provide our best interpretation of the Isu script featured in Part 2 of the Tombs of the Fallen activity of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, as Antoine confirmed some parts of our work and edited some others.


We got to find and translate this text in the second-to-last free main update for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla... but in our original translation there were, apparently, a few mistakes here and there that made the translation a bit complicated without the help of Antoine. However, through this help we also got to know new words and new rules!

You can check the full text from both Tombs of the Fallen Part 1 and Part 2 at this link.

Part 2 of Tombs of the Fallen requires, at a certain point, to reach the main room of a cave located right outside of Ravensthorpe, after retrieving all the needed Isu artifacts, in order to access the vault located beneath it. Once Eivor enters the room, her eyes turn white and she says "Shuàrh" to which a mechanic voice answers "Shuàgw".
In our video, we tried to find a single meaning that could be used for both words, being they so similar, but they are apparently unrelated.

Let's see what these two words mean:

Shuàrh (SuàH): In Antoine's words, "This is a verb that means "wake up" when used transitively (i.e. with an object) and "awaken" when used intransitively (i.e. without an object).
It evolved into Proto-Indo-European *weǵ-, which then gave Proto-Germanic *wakāną, and ultimately English wake; but also Latin vegeō "I move, I excite" (transitive) or "I am lively" (intransitive), which later gave Italian vigore.

The verb appears in-game in its infinitive form so our interpretation is that it should have been conjugated in its second person singular, present tense to be used as an imperative as if Eivor was giving an order of "waking up" to the AI within the cave. The correct verb should have been "Shuàrhàsi" or "dű shuàrhàsi" with the attached subject.

Shuàgw (SuàG): First big surprise here. We have apparently already met this word. It was in the Canterbury File already but we mixed two letters in our original transcription:

What we transcripted as "luàgw" should have actually been "Shuàgw".

So now we have the meaning of the word which is "voice" but as an answer in the Tombs of the Fallen Part 2 conversation it wouldn't make much sense. Antoine told us though, that this word can also have the meaning of "to speak" and in that case, as it happened for "Shuàrh", we can consider it as the AI answering to Eivor's request. Again "Shuàgw", as it stands, represents the verb in its infinitive tense while in our interpretation, in order to appear as an imperative answer it should have been "Shuàgwàsi" or "dű shuàgwàsi" with the attached subject.

The complete translation should then be:


It would make sense, as the AI is asking Eivor the password to open the vault, even because Eivor answers to this by pronouncing the sentence she learnt in the various tombs while finding the artifacts.

As a side note, as we were having a conversation about the infinitive tense in the Isu Language, we learnt a new rule. In the text we were provided by Valhalla and its post launch content, we surmised that the infinitive form of a verb was created as follows:

Contrarily to that, Antoine stated that R or "ṛ is not a marker for infinitive in the citation form (like "to" is in English for example: to be, to have, etc.), but it is indeed used to postpose infinitive clauses - among other uses."

It was then time for (possessed) Eivor to pronounce the password to open the door to the Isu Vault hidden underground, which turned out to be a full sentence whose words she had learnt through her search of the Isu artifacts.

So let's have a look at the sentence:
So, looking at all its elements, the translation for this sentence is:

() : Subject of the sentence meaning YOU

Hàsṃ (hàsM) : This was our second surprise. We initially thought it was the verbal noun for the verb “To belong” (hàs) in its accusative declension (hàsm) with the meaning of "belongings". Antoine actually corrected our guess though, because this word is a definite article.
As far as we knew before this, the articles in the Isu Language were usually conjugated in the same grammatical case of the word they referred to. Here is an example from the Canterbury file:

The rules about definite articles though, were not really clear, especially how sometimes they appeared in a sentence and some other time they did not. With Antoine's help, we got to understand them a bit better now:
"When it comes to their use, it's harder to grasp also because it's not a grammatical requirement in most cases, but in some specific cases it is. But even when it's not a grammatical requirement, it can be used to emphasize the definiteness (i.e. the specificity or uniqueness) of the noun."
About the declension, in this very case the article is conjugated in its irregular form, as it often happens in real languages. So this word translates to: THE

Rhobtoràs (Hobtoràs). As we analized in our video, we can extract a lot of information from this word: it's in its genitive declension (às), plural (r) and with a past participle form (to). We are in front of an adjective derived from a verb, in the plural form, which indicates a group of people and with the genitive case. When we attempted our translation we had no way of knowing the meaning of the verb "Rhob" without Antoine's help but with his hints we got to understand this verb meant "To choose". With all the information at our disposal, we can now translate this word: OF THE CHOSEN ONES.

Oænosôd (oènosòd): The stem of this word we know pretty well, and it means "One". In this case, it is presented with a causal case, thus we can translate it as: FOR THE SAKE OF ONE.

Oærhàsi (oèrhàsi): The translation of this word delivered another big surprise: we thought it was the same word as the one pronounced by Sigurd in front of the elevator needed to reach the Yggdrasil machine at the end of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, but it turned out that these are two entirely different words.

We do know that the word we are trying to translate is a verb, in its present tense, second person singular, but after speaking to Antoine, it emerged that the meaning of the verb Oærh is actually the one we had assigned to Hoærh and so "to Activate". The correct translation of Oærhàsi should then be: (you) ACTIVATE.

Considering this update, it is not clear how to actually translate Hoærhàsi, as pronounced by Sigurd at the end of Assassin's Creed.

The complete translation of the sentence should then be:


After pronouncing the proper password, the gate opens and within the vault, Eivor meets an AI modeled after an Isu called Rah Cel'Eze, who initially speaks to her using the Isu language.

Ṇṛchdrṃ (NRcdrM): We already know the first word, which means "tool to unlock", as we have already met it on the Collectors Edition Case of Valhalla. In Tombs of Fallen Rah Cel'Eze calls Eivor "Unlocker", which has pretty much the same meaning. We only had some doubt about the pronunciation of this word in-game and Antoine recorded a short audio to teach us how to correctly pronounce it.

Smṛmṇ (smRmN). We interpred this as follows: we know the verb "to remember" = "smṛ" from the text file featured in the Crossover with Assassin's Creed Odyssey. We know that adding "mṇ" to a verb makes a noun out of that verb (as we have seen in other texts already). This line of thought would consider this word a noun in the nominative case as we see no suffixes to indicate any other grammar case. Considering this the verbal noun of "to remember", we gave this word the meaning of MEMORY or something similar, which was then indeed confirmed by Antoine.

Zràw (zràw). "It is a verb that means "flow, stream, run", which evolved into Proto-Indo-European *srew- and later into Greek ρέω, Sanskrit स्रवति, etc. "flow" and English stream.".

Considering there is no declension on these last two words, we can only guess what the intent was in creating this sentence. Literally, it means "memory to stream" or in Italian "memoria fluire", but we came up with two options for what this could actually mean:

The first option is that the author meant to say "Memory Stream" or, gramatically speaking, "Stream/flow of memory" : if that was the case, the translation should have been "smṛmṇàs zràwæs". The first word, Memory, would be in its genitive declension and the second one would be the verbal noun derived by the verb "to Stream".

The second option is that the author meant to say "Memory streams", as in "Memory is being streamed". If this was the case, the sentence should have been "smṛmṇ zràwôdi". The first word would be memory in its nominative case and the second word would be the verb "to stream" conjugated in its present tense, third person singular.

And that's it for what concerns the Isu language in Part 2 of the Tombs of the Fallen activity of Assassin's Creed Valhalla!

Still, we have one more little update on the Isu Language from the "Assassin's Creed: The Converts" graphic novel. In case you might not remember, a few months ago we shared a number of posts about the presence of some supposed Isu Language in the comic book, as it was, to say the least, incorrect, and also a bit unpolite.

Thanks to our fan Nikolas Dau Bennasib, we got to know that the Isu script featured in the graphic novel has been edited in its Italian version. Nikolas sent us some pictures from the new version and we took a look at them to check if there was something new that needed a translation, and indeed, there are a few words that we already know even if the grammar might still be incorrect. It's still a bit better compared to what was there before and by trying to translate them, we can also try and grasp the meaning the authors meant to express through them.

Let's see what we can understand from the text, by using the vocabulary we already know, and trying not to spoil the graphic novel - still, in case you are interested, you can find our review and spoiler summary at this link:

To our understanding, the meaning the authors might have tried to express in the first sentence could be something along the lines of:
"The strong fights the abandonment (of the books or of society, as both of them are important topics within the narrative of the graphic novel) with knowledge (it's not clear if the author meant to indicate knowledge as a mean to fight abandonment because the grammar case is not there but we can try and interpret it like this). He (Not confirmed) creates a better future. Knowledge for everyone is the key.".

Again, the grammar seems a bit off and there is a word that is seemingly unknown at the time but the overall meaning would make sense with the main topics of the graphic novel.

The second sentence is a bit more difficult to grasp and we have to use a bit more of our imagination. It literally translates as: "It is required that us [or, "the superiors" - this is a guess by our Nikolas that makes sense within the context][...] there is one and only one goal: freedom [...]"

Our interpretation of this second sentence is that the intended meaning might have been "We Superiors must reach one and only one goal: freedom [and something else]". Still, we have no insight on how to translate the second missing word.

We do hope to get more hints in the future about this, and the meanings we still have to grasp, but in general we are more glad that the main issue of this aspect of the graphic has been fixed.

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