Man of Steel Linguist Revealed

Tuesday, July 2, 2013  |  Comments: 13

Finally, the linguist (actually, linguistic anthropologist) responsible for language creation for Man of Steel is getting some well-deserved time in the sun. In this YouTube video, Dr. Christine Schreyer, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, shares a little bit about Man of Steel, her take on Kryptonian, and language creation.

Great job Christine! We look forward to learning more!

We should also give a big pat on the back to graphic designer Kirsten Franson who worked alongside Dr. Schreyer and designed the actual look of the script itself.

Comments (13)

  1. 张:
    Jul 05, 2013 at 02:42 PM

    It was great to see this. Thanks for adding it to the site. Any ideas on where more information can be had?


  2. Derek B.:
    Jul 06, 2013 at 09:38 PM

    Funny; this is pretty much exactly what I thought she would look like.

    I'm curious to know if there will be any companion literature to give us further insight into Kryptonian, either in print or online. If not, we can always pore over the script from the opening titles and use that as a Rosetta stone; from what I saw there's plenty to work from.


  3. Roman:
    Jul 08, 2013 at 03:20 PM

    sorry i just really wanna make sure you look at the examples



    1. Derek B.:
      Jul 08, 2013 at 09:36 PM

      Okay, so this gives us a little more to work with...not much, though.

      laj - (n) place
      lum - (v) talk, communicate
      bek - (v) fix, maintain
      yeng - (v) see, observe
      suvor - (v) navigate
      nanel - (v) dock

      The way these words are written in the book leads me to consider two possiblities: either MoS Kryptonian almost never drops the coda (as in 'su.v.o.r' in the given example), or whoever wrote the Kryptonian in the book screwed it up (that is, it should be written 'su.vo.r'). Based on evidence from the online Glyph Creator, I'm inclined to go with the latter.

      It's also possible that 'suv' and 'or' are separate words with individual meanings, which only when combined produce the meaning "navigate" (way+find, perhaps). Then again, considering the word order is subject-object-verb, it doesn't seem to make much sense that the descriptive verbs precede the noun 'laj,' in which case the writers of the book may have simply pulled these words out of their ass. Frankly, until Schreyer herself writes a book on Kryptonian I don't trust anything Hollywood is cranking out on the subject.


      1. Darren Doyle:
        Jul 10, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        Woah... simmer down...

        A couple of corrections:

        læʤæ: place
        suvtɑr: navigate

        I think you are letting speculation run a little rampant here. What is wrong with the coda being there or not? The language may or may not care about codas. You can't just assume that there is a trend one way or the other and then use that assumption to say that there is an error in the book. I certainly wouldn't rely on the glyph creator to draw any conclusions about that since it is focused on transliterating names from other languages. That would be like transliterating Japanese names into the Latin script and then saying that that indicated that English only has nasals as codas, and that rarely.

        Further, you are basing your assumption on an incorrect reading of the word. It's not su-v-o-r, it's su-v-to-r The only word to me that looks likely to be a compound is nænɛl (it's næn-ɛ-l instead of næ-nɛ-l... maybe "star door" or something).

        What we can reasonably guess based on these examples is that adjectival elements precede the noun they modify. I believe that this is the most common order for SOV languages, actually, so your assumptions there are faulty, too. However, whether Kryptonian adjectives follow or precede their noun doesn't mean anything. Adjectives following the noun is the most common for SVO languages, but English adjectives precede their noun. These kinds of things are only statistical tendencies, not hard rules.

        Further, I do believe that Dr. Schreyer is involved in the presentation of this little pieces we are getting to see.


        1. Roman:
          Jul 10, 2013 at 02:40 PM

          in the book she says she developed these sentences


          1. 张:
            Jul 15, 2013 at 09:29 AM

            What book are you referring to?


        2. Derek B.:
          Jul 13, 2013 at 12:48 AM

          I hope you'll forgive my flippancy. Admittedly it wasn't a very careful analysis on my part, and I probably went in with low expectations. I'm still learning, and I sometimes need to be reminded of that. Thank you.


  4. Roman:
    Jul 10, 2013 at 02:55 PM

    i know i'm annoying but what are those bubble like things above the p and upside down r?


    1. Darren Doyle:
      Jul 10, 2013 at 03:25 PM

      I wish I knew, too. It appears above the word for "us" in all the phrases except for one. Either it's doing something we don't know yet, or there is a mess up in the book. It shows up elsewhere, too. I suspect that it has some effect on the vowels especially since the base writing that we know of doesn't include [i], [u], or [o].


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    Aug 31, 2013 at 11:05 PM

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  6. Rob Los:
    Jan 23, 2016 at 01:17 AM

    I love the new look of the MOS Kryptonian language. How would you write out 'SUPERMAN' in that language? Or could someone tell me what characters to use?


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