Alien: Covenant
What David actually said to the Engineer. Mystery Revealed.

What David actually said to the Engineer. Mystery Revealed.

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OvomorphMember0 XPJun-20-2012 6:15 PMSPOILER: 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=]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][/img] The Engineers’ language is based on Dr. Biltoo's own version of reconstructed [url=]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=]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='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=]HERE[/url] of the translation.
130 Responses to What David actually said to the Engineer. Mystery Revealed.


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-21-2012 12:00 AMThis stuff just gets better and better. Thanks so much for all the work. Kinda figured that's what was said... sweet... [img][/img]


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-20-2012 11:07 PM@jenskarlsson — The trailing [i]h[/i] is not really required technically in the orthography. It was done that way in some of the materials used by the actors and the romanization used here is intended to be a "common" version that does not require the use of IPA. The "breath" that the [i]h[/i] in this convention represents is the implosive spiration that happen when the throat releases to produce the ingressive labiovelar. The [i]qwh[/i] is heard in the tutoring session in [i]"...aqwhunsâz dadrrkta."[/i]. These are the vowel mappings that are not obvious from the cir***flex: [url=]â[/url], [url=]ê[/url], [url=]î[/url]. I am hopeful that the wiki article will feature the full phoneme inventory. I do not believe that there is a minimal pair contrast between [i]*gw[/i] & [i]gwh[/i] and [i]*qw[/i] & [i]qwh[/i] the way that there is between [i]g/gh[/i], [i]b/bh[/i], [i]t/th[/i], [i]d/dh[/i]. Final [i]-h[/i] after a vowel is a distinct, intentional breath. It is not used to simply lengthen the vowel, etc. It should be heard. There are sandhi rules, but I don't know what they are yet. They differ from those of Sanskrit. @Davis — You can find it [url='s_fable]here[/url], but I'll paste it in too. A sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses". The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool". Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain. @artyoh — In the edit [u]that has been shown to us[/u], I would agree with you.


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-21-2012 3:32 AM@centaurian_slug — Alas, it seems that due to complexities of the production's timeframes etc., the spoken language and written language were not synchronized before the sets were completed. I am hopeful however that in any sequels the written word will correspond to the Engineers’ spoken language and provide dedicated fans who are motivated to take on learning the language the great fun of sifting though it all and deciphering it. @proteanblue — The cast includes anyone who spent 6~8 hours each time getting a face and body pasted on. :•) Apart from David, it is the [u]Engineers[/u] who would speak their language—not anyone from the crew of the Prometheus. Cross your fingers tighter and incant a little prayer in Engineer. ;•)


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-21-2012 3:50 AM[quote=jenskarlsson][i](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? )[/i][/quote] In the [url=]VFX do***entary[/url] beginning at roughly the 24:00 minute mark the special effects lead responsible for the hologram recordings explains that over "thousands and thousands of years" the quality of the "everyday security recordings" had degraded. I am now assuming having seen that that the audio quality is equally degraded so that we just can't understand what they're saying (even if we could parse the Engineer language flawlessly with our own ears). I do not know if the actors were taught dialogue that they performed on set that was then intentionally stripped of bits to mumble-ify it, or if the audio guys just took "anything" and scrambled it to suit the "degradation" theme of the footage. My core assumption is that we are to believe that when it was originally recorded it was everyday speech. ("Bummer, Dude, this trans-warp coupler looks busted. I'll take all frikkin’ day to grow a new one." ? LOL a little. :•)


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-21-2012 5:32 AMThis episode has been transcribed by the Russians. I guess their understanding is also quite true: [b]MYSTERIOUS ALIEN[/b] (speaks alien language): Who are you, people? What the heck do you want? Who are you, freaks? Get lost, good bye! [b]FASSBENDER:[/b] Relax, I think I know their language. (speaks alien language): [i]Sour cream showcase the ankle, a dolphin mix pitchfork, candle immunomodulator. Chimes, vicissitudes?[/i] MYSTERIOUS ALIEN kills GUY PEARCE IN AWFUL MAKE-UP with MICHAEL FASSBENDER's severed head.


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-21-2012 10:31 AM@ sukkal thanks for additional info!

colonial soldier

OvomorphMember0 XPJun-22-2012 8:43 AMAmerican version! [url=]Yanks![/url]


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-22-2012 8:44 AMgreat post! thanks for sharing your insight :)


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-22-2012 10:58 AMI think that this oversimplifies things and poses more questions to the already troubled fans of the film. I don't think that David was loyal to his boss (creator), simply because the engineer seemed friendly until Dave spoke to him in his language. If he was offended by the fact that the old man searched the master race simply to give him the elixir of life, why did he attack everyone and not only the old man? There are many strange things about Dave and the most profound one is his despise for mankind. The last one becomes clear in two cir***stances, [list] when he makes the enigmatic statement ``doesn't everyone want their parents dead?'' [/list] [list] when he replies to the cynical answer ``we made you because we could'' with “Can you imagine how disappointing it would be for you to hear the same thing from your creator?†[/list] [list] he deliberately spilt the liquid to the drink of a crew member knowing how dangerous this could turn out to be [/list] so it would sound more logical if Dave told him something like ``They came here and killed all your crew'' and that definitely triggered the violent behaviour of the engineer. I think that Dave has been in this ship before, he seems to know where to go and what to do without a lot of thinking and without any doubt that he might do something wrong. Someone might say that ok he is A.I. and his brain capacity is greater than ours and of course his memory is a lot times greater, but this doesn't justify the way he acts and of course as a machine he was supposed not to have free will, unless he has visited this place before and had a secret agenda that follows a ``secret narrating'' pattern. According to my theory Dave with others have come to this place, injected the stasis capsules with the black liquid and that's why we see the engineers running to the ``temple'', where the temperature of ``temple'' room could stop the mutation process. Remember that when the crew entered the room, the temperature started to rise and this triggered the black goo? Before they entered the room, Dave reanimated the event sequence to make sure that they all died and of course he left one alive in stasis. Why did he tell Dr. Shaw at the end that there are other ships? How could he possibly know, unless he had been there before? Another interesting aspect of Dave's behaviour is the fact that he searches the ship alone, separated by the other members as if he knows what to look for and what to look and now we are led to the critical point, the meeting with the engineer. I think it was a trap, Dave with Meredith Vickers conspired to kill her father, if Meredith is an android like Dave then this explains it all. The surgery machine was designed to perform operations only to men, if the daughter of the boss travelled with them wouldn't that be too risky for the heir of the corporate empire? So Dave must have known from the beginning how to piss off the engineer and what to say exactly. Let us now come to the dreams of Dr. Shaw, we are informed that in 3000 after Christ, there hasn't been a treatment or cure for the Ebola pandemic, isn't that strange? Although man has managed to travel to distant corners of the universe, he still faces the same problems due to lack of effort to the right direction. Like in Blade Runner, where despite the advancement of science and man's ability create robots indistinguishable form real humans, there hasn't been any cure for Sebastian's disease. In my opinion the ancient cave drawings were an invitation. In the first scene, we don't see an engineer seeding a planet, we see an execution. It was Prometheus, the Titan who helped man survive from extinction by stealing the fire from gods, that's why in the ancient drawings we see primitive people worship the engineers who pointed to the constellation. This was their punishment for helping man, others where executed and others were punished to eternal stasis until the greed of man turned against them. Like Dave who is our creation turned against us, so are we against the ones who gave us the gift of intellectuality that distinguished us from animals. We went to their prison planet and instead of liberating them, we killed them all and tried to steal their technology. Maybe this is why they called the ship "Prometheus", they already were aware of the events that took place thousands years ago. Also the ship was not heading to Earth, Dave chose our globe from the astral map for two possible reasons, either to make the last engineer's job easier after informing him that men turned against them or to force them come to Earth in order to capture one of them alive and bring the ship for further study to our home planet. As we see the black goo as an artificial DNA intelligence of the Engineers, so is Dave our creation to us, unpredictable and unstable with unknown pathways that he might follow. I will close my long analysis with a quote from a previous Ridley Scott's movie ``not an easy thing to meet your maker''.
"... and the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home." Christopher Columbus.


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-22-2012 12:03 PM@garboozle — We'll have to wait and see if the full exchange between the Engineer and David is "restored" in future releases of the film. Perhaps that will shed some more light on the Engineer’s actions. Damon Lindelof has also said [url=]publicly[/url] that in his commentary for the DVD/Blu-Ray he talks about why Ridley was adamant about NOT subtitling these two sentences by David in the theatrical release. [quote=To Josh Horowitz of MTV Damon Lindelof][i]Yes. David's dialogue with the Engineer has an English translation, but Ridley felt very strongly about not subtitling it. I spoke at length about this on my DVD commentary.[/i][/quote]


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-22-2012 11:05 AMI figured he said something close to that. But I think the question is why that would make the engineer so angry? Thank you for this post that helps so much.


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-22-2012 9:07 PMsukkal: Thanks for posting this information. You are awesome! geopap: So many "Alien(s)" fans have made critiques of elements of "Prometheus" in which they write lengthy theories about the motivations and meanings of objects and events in the film. You've done something likewise regarding the scene that sukkal has written about in this thread. I'd like to suggest a far simpler theory to the Engineer's response to David speaking to him. The Engineer himself is a member of a group of intentionally designed, organic based artificial life forms. The Engineer is woken from his sleep and is groggy and confused by what he sees around him. There are humans around him speaking a language he can't understand. One of them is shouting in distress and another human subdues her with physical violence. At that point one of the humans speaks to the Engineer in a near approximation of the Engineer's own language. The Engineer realizes that David is, like himself, an artificial life form and the only member of the human's party who is capable of interacting with the Engineer's technology. The Engineer initially shows compassion for David because he recognizes in him a fellow being but he then tries to destroy David because doing so is a means to prevent the humans from gaining control over the Engineer's technology. This is the simplest answer for the Engineer's actions. I've had this theory for 2 weeks now. For me the information that sukkal posted reinforces my take on the events that I have written about above. We truly don't know if the Engineers were in fact leaving their base to destroy human life on earth. We also don't know if a human or humans actually undertook actions that motivated the Engineers to make a trip to Earth for an "intervention". I have wondered numerous times if the event that inspired the Engineers to make said trip to Earth was in fact the launch of the "Prometheus". We have no idea how much time has passed in "real" time during the Prometheus' journey. I think that a lot of assumptions that people are making about the Engineer's actions and technology will be proven to be incorrect should there be a sequel to "Prometheus".


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-22-2012 9:09 PMlinguisticss have traced the family tree of language to 3 threads relating to ONE common language. It dates much, much later than the Hebrew-which itself is an un-corrupted language. No language follows or is derived from Hebrew.

Cry Havoc

OvomorphMember9 XPJun-22-2012 9:15 PMWhat David said: [i]ida hmanâm aî kya namrrtuh zdêêtaha. gwhivah-pyorn-îttham sas daatrr kredah.[/i] Roughly translated as: [i]These people are morons. You should have seen how bad they've screwed up in this movie. A bunch of them are already dead. And we just got here. This idiot here thinks of me as his 'son'. He's got a daughter he treats like an employee. I'm a fraking robot, for Christ's sake. He wants you to show him how to 'live forever'. Jeez. You and I both know that ain't gonna happen. Man, there are days I wish someone would just take my head and beat him with it.[/i] [Engineer smiles] No?


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-23-2012 4:01 AM@synthetic_69 You are right, in a way the translation suggested here is the most orthodox theory, which follows a straight narrating line. If it is so, I will be disappointed, because I like conspiracies and complex plots. :) We all make speculations after all, no one is in the mind of Scott. @sukkal If it wasn’t for your interesting post, I wouldn't have become a member here to express my view on the film. Good info. :)
"... and the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home." Christopher Columbus.


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-23-2012 11:56 AM[quote=synthetic_69][i]I think that a lot of assumptions that people are making about the Engineer's actions and technology will be proven to be incorrect should there be a sequel to "Prometheus".[/i][/quote] I this this process will *begin* with the extra 21 minutes. I'm almost SURE of it. We've been given very little opportunity to UNDERSTAND the Engineers based on what we've heard and seen of them on the big screen.


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-23-2012 1:43 PMGreat post....I felt it had to be something along the lines of asking for eternal life/fountain of youth. The question is really why is the engineers reaction so soft then angry. He also really gives them a second to communicate before going berserk. Alas these questions can be discussed or debated with no real proof until we hear from the film writers/Ridley. But still fun to ponder


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-23-2012 10:53 PM@Osiris — Actually restoration of some of the footage that has been redacted from the original theatrical cut might also help; even without further commentary from the writers/Ridley in my opinion.

amon ra

OvomorphMember0 XPJun-24-2012 2:58 PMAlmost sounds more like a mixture of archaic Sumerian/proto Semitic put together.


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-24-2012 3:11 PMI've got more detailed info on this but I'm not allowed to say... (and that's what a sense of humor will do...) Bacon, Bacon, Bacon...


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-25-2012 12:35 AM Yes. What is the Engineer word for "bacon"?


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-25-2012 9:20 PMWow this is fascinating stuff with all that deciphering of what david said....I actually didn't think about what he said and I think its pretty cool how they put so much time, effort and detail into the movie...thats what most movies lack....good job Mr Scott and crew!!!


OvomorphMember0 XPJun-28-2012 10:24 AMSiigh I kind of guessed that - was hoping it was something more special :( ...


OvomorphMember0 XPJul-06-2012 5:21 AMNo SHi%T!

Indy John

OvomorphMember0 XPJul-06-2012 6:22 AM"......What does make a difference is that David knew things would not go well for his human counterparts....." Yes.. knowing and then acting for some(to us) unknown purpose) an Alien less.. David knows and can communicate in a Alien language...light years from earth,, Something is not right. Just look at the difficulties in understanding,Earth languages,,Latin can be understood,,but when was the last time you had a meaningful Latin conversation?? As others have mention David has more cards he is not showing....
Be choicelessly aware as you move through life


OvomorphMember0 XPJul-07-2012 3:29 PM @Indy John — Part of the explanation of why David can communicate with the Engineers is in the viral materials and not explained on screen. [url=][/url] Module 8.4 :: SPECIFICATIONS :: Communication "David 8 is fluent in all known languages through a dialectic implant and can infer the linguistic components of entirely new languages if encountered..." While this is a rather convenient conceit, it is [url=]not without precedent even in our early 21st Century world[/url], at least in terms of seminal technology. It's also quite relevant that in the fictional context of the story, MANY human language are genetically related to that of the Engineers.


TrilobiteMember9516 XPJul-07-2012 3:42 PMYeah David can talk to water condensers too


OvomorphMember0 XPJul-07-2012 9:14 PM But how about water VAPORATORS??...

Indy John

OvomorphMember0 XPJul-08-2012 1:32 AMThanks sukkal,,for the David linguistiic information,,,and it helps to explain then robot's actions in the movie..
Be choicelessly aware as you move through life


OvomorphMember0 XPJul-08-2012 11:41 AMThe expression on the Engineer's face when he responds to David is pretty surprising. Up to that point in the film, the Engineers' overall dispositions and facial expressions seemed almost godly, so seeing that look of pure scorn and contempt on one of their faces was pretty scary.
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Alien: Covenant is a sequel to 2012's Prometheus as well as a prequel to 1979's ALIEN. Alien fans looking to know more about Alien: Covenant should check back often. is an information resource for film enthusiasts looking to learn more about the upcoming blockbuster Alien: Covenant. Providing the latest official and accurate information on Alien: Covenant, this website contains links to every set video, viral video, commercial, trailer, poster, movie still and screenshot available. This site is an extension of the Alien & Predator Fandom on Scified - a central hub for fans of Alien and Prometheus looking to stay up-to-date on the latest news. Images used are property of their respective owners. Alien: Covenant, Prometheus and its associated names, logos and images are property of 20th Century Fox and are in no way owned by Scified and its related entities. This is a fan-created website for the purpose of informing and exciting fans for Alien: Covenant's release. If you have any questions about this site, its content or the Scified Network in general, feel free to contact Scified directly.

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