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What David actually said to the Engineer. Mystery Revealed.

What David actually said to the Engineer. Mystery Revealed.

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sukkal

Jun-20-2012 6:15 PM

PINNEDSPOILER: This is about the meaning of what David said to the Engineer. If you are one of those people who doesn't want to know, don't read this. These are the words that David said to the Engineer: [i]ida hmanâm aî kya namrrtuh zdêêtaha. gwhivah-pyorn-îttham sas daatrr kredah.[/i] And what does it mean? Literally it breaks down to: this man (is) here because not-die he-desires. life_increase_wish to-him you-(can)-give he-believes. And what is the best approximation of what that means in everyday English? What would the sub-title have been if there had been one? This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life. And where did this information come from? It was supplied by Dr. Anil Biltoo of [url=http://www.london.ac.uk/2396.html]SOAS[/url] at the University of London. Dr. Biltoo was hired by Ridley Scott to design the Engineers’ language, teach it to the actors who learned it, and appear on screen as David's language instructor. If you've seen the film, you know what he looks and sounds like. That's also him teaching David while the rest of the crew is still in hibernation. [img]http://masempul.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Anil-Biltoo.jpg[/img] The Engineers’ language is based on Dr. Biltoo's own version of reconstructed [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_language]Proto-Indo-European[/url]. In the fictional context of the movie, it is assumed that over 5,000 years ago contact between the Engineers and humans exposed us to this mother language whose human "daughters" are now spoken by roughly [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-European_languages]3 billion humans[/url]. Because of this fictional "real link" in human past to the Engineers and their language within the logic of the storytelling, David is able to communicate with them. One of David's features is that he knows all forms of human communication. Some of the words in "Engineer," as it was apparently commonly called during the production, actually have a recognizable connection to modern English. You'll likely recognize «hmanâm» as "human" or simply "man." The verb at the end. «kredah» ("he believes"), has echoes in English "creed," which is a "set of beliefs." For those who are interested in getting even more flavor of what the language is like. Here is the full version of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleicher's_fable]Schleicher's Fable[/url] in the version that the Engineers would likely understand. [i]hyewîs yasmâ hwælnâ nahâst aqwhunsâz dadrrkta, tâm ghêrmha vagam ugênthâ, tâm magham bhrrma, tâm hâmanam hêhok bharânt. hyewîs aqwhobyun vakta; mya kêrt xnutâya vizât hmanam aqwhunsâz uh-gnathâ. aqwhunz vaktantâ: kludh hyewa! kêrt xnutâya vîvîzdama: hâmanas patâsa hyewasya hwælnam swah gwhârmam vastram hyewîzbya hwælnâ nahâst. tod aklawa hyewîs agrâm abhogtâ.[/i] Apparently Michael Fassbender spent hours and hours committing the entire fable to memory, only to have the first line of it used in the film. Poor Fassy. Corroboration [url=http://thebioscopist.com/2012/06/20/the-linguistics-of-prometheus-what-david-says-to-the-engineer/]HERE[/url] of the translation.

130 Responses to What David actually said to the Engineer. Mystery Revealed.

Prenihility

Jun-21-2012 12:19 AM

Yep. So my rational in regards to the Engineer situation fits perfectly... If only i could find it now...ugh.

David 1

Jun-20-2012 6:21 PM

WIKED!!!! now say all that backwards while impersonating Mr. Been. lol

[b]Ask nothing from no one. Demand nothing from no one. Expect nothing from no one.[/b]

FREEZE!

Jun-20-2012 6:37 PM

nice! thanks for posting. I had a feeling that was the translation!

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Le_Chien

Jun-20-2012 6:39 PM

This is one of the best and most informative threads I have ever read on this site. TAKE NOTE, Richie.

Svanya

Jun-20-2012 6:40 PM

TY so much Sukkal! What a lovely post. :) Props to Fassbender, what a great actor he is.

sukkal

Jun-20-2012 6:50 PM

And this "[i]instruction for speakers[/i]" (meaning cast members) also from Dr. Biltoo... “A certain care must be taken when producing the distinctive clicks in the language. The[i] gwh[/i] in [i]gwhivah[/i], meaning "life," is a good example. It’s crucial that the pronunciation be clear and emphatic. Air is powerfully pulled IN to the back of the throat after a brief closure in a manner that linguists refer to as [u]ingressive articulation[/u]. This kind of sound is rare in everyday speech on Earth, and so alien to the vast majority of human languages, that it is likely to become an iconic aural signpost for recognizing the speech of the Engineers.”

David 1

Jun-20-2012 6:53 PM

some african and mexican cultures still have their "clicks" and "whistles" in their way of speeking. Nice

[b]Ask nothing from no one. Demand nothing from no one. Expect nothing from no one.[/b]

Xeno4life

Jun-20-2012 7:00 PM

Awesome post. I thought it was gonna take longer to get the actual translation or atleast untill the Blu-Ray came out. I thought David said somthing else like " I am not a man but a creation from man " and thats why I thought the engineer got so pissed of because humans were allready making their own sort of life forms. And yes Fassbender stole the show.

sukkal

Jun-20-2012 7:05 PM

David — You're absolutely correct. The [i]gwh[/i] and [i]qwh[/i] of Engineer are quite like [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ejective_consonant]ejectives[/url], but the air has to go in the OTHER direction and they involve the lips at the same time. [u]Very atypical[/u] and [u]alien[/u] to everyday human speech.

proteanblue

Jun-20-2012 7:06 PM

Holy crap. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. O.O Now we just have wait for the (possible?) extended scene on the DVD/Blu-Ray release to see if any more was said.

sukkal

Jun-20-2012 7:12 PM

@proteanblue It is well-documented publicly already that Fassbender was NOT the only one to learn and perform lines in this language on camera. It is out there in a "can" somewhere... lurking. Who know's what we'll find out if it makes it back into the holy 21 minutes. I personally have EVERY. FINGER. CROSSED. For me, the Engineers and their culture / beliefs / motivations are the core value proposition of this reboot. I have to feel that certain aspects of them are being intentionally KEPT from us so that we'll be motivated by whatever "release" is next in this pre-sequel time frame.

centaurian_slug

Jun-20-2012 7:29 PM

awesome post - but now we have to know what ALL the text that appears in the film says.. every single inscription.

proteanblue

Jun-20-2012 7:30 PM

@ sukkal I'm crossing my fingers along with you! :D But why would it be necessary for other cast members to learn the Engineer language when, plotwise, only David could read/speak it? Unless some of the cut material completely changes that fact, or includes a scene with David teaching other crew members the language, or something... *wanders off to hope and ponder*

Karstenphd

Jun-20-2012 7:35 PM

So it seems David did what he was ordered to do. I am still wondering if he knew from his readings and watching holographic representations of the Engineer in action what the response might be? It appears sometimes a synthetic person is simply a synthetic person, and not a robot seeking alterior motives to screw us. Maybe.

facebugger

Jun-20-2012 7:41 PM

Awh dam.... and I thought he said "Can i blow on your flute and play with your squidgy bits please?"

jenskarlsson

Jun-20-2012 7:42 PM

@ sukkal thanks so much! as you know i have been eagerly awaiting this info! @proteanblue i think in some unused scenes one (or more) of the engineers also speaks. i read something about one of those actors learning "an alien language" this is fantastic, its really amazing that they used this level of detail and logic and put this much effort into language, and even more awesome that the linguistics contributor was able to appear on film like that. this is the kind of detail that , while not crucial to the film, adds that extra little bit which adds up to make a big difference with all the other little details like that. Ridley Scott is not kidding when he says he is all about the whole package. i hope there is more of this kind of attention to detail and realism in the fiction any future films. its awesome to speculate that perhaps a brilliant linguist could potentially follow in davids footsteps and possibly discover this through extreme cross referencing of real ancient language.

jenskarlsson

Jun-20-2012 7:49 PM

(also technically the engineers in the hologram seem to be speaking but it sounds almost like syllabic sound samples that may not form actual words- not sure if any one has any info on this? )

jenskarlsson

Jun-20-2012 8:11 PM

@ sukkal are gwh and qwh aspirated or preaspirated in some way?

star beast

Jun-20-2012 8:56 PM

I was actually surprised when David didn't break out the flute and play a little ditty! The funny part was how Shaw was sabotaging Weyland by talking over him with all of her rants! It would have been cool if the guy with the shotgun had used the butt end and hit her. That might have explained the Engineer's immediate turn to cold blooded violence as a response...

Wintermute

Jun-20-2012 9:07 PM

Awesome. My own view is that Prometheus has as much of a debt to Blade Runner as it does to Alien, and this reinforces that, in that it is so reminiscent of Batty talking to Tyrell.

FREEZE!

Jun-20-2012 9:11 PM

one of my favorite threads, thanks again sukkal

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DAVIS

Jun-20-2012 9:21 PM

hyewîs yasmâ hwælnâ nahâst aqwhunsâz dadrrkta, tâm ghêrmha vagam ugênthâ, tâm magham bhrrma, tâm hâmanam hêhok bharânt. hyewîs aqwhobyun vakta; mya kêrt xnutâya vizât hmanam aqwhunsâz uh-gnathâ. aqwhunz vaktantâ: kludh hyewa! kêrt xnutâya vîvîzdama: hâmanas patâsa hyewasya hwælnam swah gwhârmam vastram hyewîzbya hwælnâ nahâst. tod aklawa hyewîs agrâm abhogtâ. What does this means in English?

abordoli

Jun-20-2012 9:41 PM

[i]"I was actually surprised when David didn't break out the flute and play a little ditty! The funny part was how Shaw was sabotaging Weyland by talking over him with all of her rants! It would have been cool if the guy with the shotgun had used the butt end and hit her. That might have explained the Engineer's immediate turn to cold blooded violence as a response..."[/i] Ummmmm....he did! LOL Sukkal, Great post! One of the best on this site. I look forward to this and more in the Engineer Language section of the wiki.

PaintedScars

Jun-23-2012 3:24 AM

Damn, Great find! Thanks!

Engineering

Jun-20-2012 10:03 PM

Thanks for the confirmation. I kinda thought David might had said something else with the "Doesn't everyone want their parents dead?" quote before they woke the Engineer. This was the only other logical deduction. 5050 split and to be honest I wish he would have said something else. Something to piss the Engineer off.

[IMG]http://i1161.photobucket.com/albums/q507/Engineering211/sig2.jpg[/IMG]

artyoh

Jun-20-2012 10:20 PM

@Engineering I don't think that whatever David said, it would have mattered. They were nothing to him, except, in his way.

jenskarlsson

Jun-20-2012 10:30 PM

@Wintermute yes, very much like bladerunner. except that this time the replicant is relaying a human's message rather than demanding more life himself. that is also quite interesting...

Russ Dire

Jun-20-2012 10:43 PM

Personally, I don't think whatever David said makes a difference. What does make a difference is that David knew things would not go well for his human counterparts. As the Engineer acknowledged David before smash mode, he was smiling (David), because in my opinion, David knew it was the end of his bond to Weyland and the beginning of real answers. David was an android, life or death was no matter, but the quest for knowledge continues...

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