Now incase you are wondering what this says, I've pulled the text off of IGN with the translation and a bit of an explanation:
"December 12, 2002 - One of the biggest surprises thus far from the not-yet-released-but-we-have-it-already-because-a-store-sold-it-to-us-early Japanese version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is a special alphabet cooked up by Nintendo for the world of Hyrule. You've probably already seen the characters for this alphabet, which we cleverly, yet inappropriately, dub "Hyrule-Glyphics" on various pieces of artwork related to the game. Those characters aren't just random scribblings, kids -- they can actually be read and will be playing an important role in the game proper.
A diagram in the back of the instruction manual provides a translation chart for the characters. Each character corresponds to a Japanese alphabetic character, with a few characters reserved for punctuation and numbers. Sound out the characters, obeying the proper rules for reading Japanese, and you'll end up with a Japanese word or sentence. Nintendo didn't really invent a whole language for the game -- just a new alphabet.
If you're interested in sounding out the characters you encounter in the artwork or while playing through the import version of the game, here's now to sound out everything in the diagram provided with the game (see the picture below):
A, I, U, E, O, Ka, Ki, Ku, Ke, Ko, Sa, Shi, Su, Se, So
Ta, Chi, Tsu, Te, To, Na, Ni, Nu, Ne, No, Ha, Hi, F(H)u, He, Ho
Ma, Mi, Mu, Me, Mo, Ya, Yu, Yo, Ra, Ri, Ru, Re, Ro
Wa, Wo (O), N, Ga, Gi, Gu, Ge, Go, Za, Ji, Zu, Ze, Zo
Da, Dzi, Dzu, De, Do, Ba, Bi, Bu, Be, Bo, Pa, Pi, Pu, Pe, Po
(The intelligent reader will note that the characters starting with "Ga" in the fourth row and continuing to the "Po" character in the fifth row are just variations of previous characters. "Ga" is just "Ka" with two lines on top, for instance, and "Pa" and "Ba" are just "Ha" with, respectively, two lines and a square on top. This is inline with the Japanese alphabet.
The resemblance to the Japanese "Katakana" alphabet runs even deeper than this, actually, as the characters look somewhat similar. We presume this was done in order to make it so that Japanese kids could easily memorize the alphabet. The above chart written using Katakana is shown below:
If you're really interested in sounding out a Hylian sentence (never mind the fact that you won't necessarily be able to understand it once you've sounded it out), there are a few rules of the Japanese language that you'll need to keep in mind:
1. The vowel sounds are as follows: A = Automobile, I = Meet, U = Ooh, E = Hell, O = Stroll
2. Sometimes, the A, I, U, E, O, Ya, Yu or Yo characters will be written small. When this happens, the character is not to be said distinctly, but is to be blended with the previous sound. For instance, "Gi" followed by a small "Yu" is "Gyu."
3. Sometimes, the Tsu character is written small. In this case, don't sound the Tsu. Instead, skip directly to the next sound, but pause a little while making the next sound. For instance, the word written as "Ga-Tsu-Pi" with the Tsu small would be pronounced "Ga-Pi," but with the P sound held a little bit. This is romanized as "Gappi."
4. The character listed as Wo (O) is usually pronounced as "O."
5. The "Ha" character is prounced as "Wa" when it isn't part of a word... I think. Ah... just take a Japanese class and learn for yourself!
Anyhow, being able to read this alphabet will apparently work into the game as walls and posters will contain hints written in the characters. We have yet to see this for ourselves in the game, but the text in the box at the bottom of the above instruction manual scan contains a sample hint which, according to the bearded character, will prove very helpful to you when playing the game.
Can you read it?
If you want to see what it says, look below.
The hint says "Donjyon no naka ni aru fushigi na tsubo wo mitsukeyou. Totemo yaku ni tatsuzo."
Well I could've told you that myself!
-- Anoop Gantayat, Contributor"
That's really cool, and hopefully we will be getting an English version since it seems to play an important part in the game. The character list, or "alphabet" will no doubt be much smaller though. 26 plus the numbers and punctuation marks. Well, this is all for now, but I'm planning on posting more later...