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Notes on Dwarven Language

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Notes on Dwarven Language

PostAuthor: Orleron » Fri Oct 17, 2003 2:41 am


An Avlissian language by Orleron, KinX, Vergilius and Deider

A Dwarvish Grammar Primer

Chapter 1: Simple Sentences

Dwarvish follows the word order structure of English to determine the function of a word in the sentence. This is the subject-verb-object word order. For example:

I buy a shield.
Mich caufoch washelg. = I buy shield.

Dwarvish is a simple but robust language. The particles ?a? and ?the? do not exist in dwarvish. Dwarvish also has no verb tenses. This means that the following sentences?

I buy a shield.
I bought a shield.
I will buy a shield.

? are all translated as: Mich caufoch washelg.

Dwarves usually understand through the context of a sentence which tense is intended. When the meaning is ambiguous, dwarves use time words to clarify. For example.

Mich caufoch washelg voromlag.
I bought a shield yesterday.

Mich caufoch washelg nairlag.
I will buy a shield tomorrow.

Dwarvish has no plural forms. So again the sentences?

I bought a shield.
I bought shields.

? are both translated as: Mich caufoch washelg.

Again, dwarves usually understand from the context of the conversation, but in ambiguous situations numbers or adjectives are used. For example:

Mich caufoch dwei washelg.
I bought two shields.

Mich caufoch vieluth washelg.
I bought many shields.

Speaking of adjectives, as in English adjectives are placed in front of the nouns they modify.

Mich caufoch dwei beddegh washelg voromlag.
I bought two old shields yesterday.

Negative sentences are also simple. To make a negative sentence, add the word for no, ?nae,? before the verb.

I did not buy a shield yesterday.
Mich nae caufoch washelg voromlag.

I will not buy a small shield tomorrow. I will buy a big shield.
Mich nae cauloch klein washelg nairlag. Mich cauloch grobbi washelg.

Dwarves have a very tight-knit clan and guild-based culture. As such, they understand each other very well, to the point that they can often finish each others? sentences. So when it would be understood, the subject is sometimes omitted from a sentence. For example:

I bought a shield = ?mich caufoch washelg,? but many dwarves would simply say ?caufoch washelg.?

Chapter 2: Pronouns and ?to be?

In English, the personal pronouns change when converted from subject to object (I versus me, for example). This is not the case in dwarvish.

I/me ? mich
We/us ? wair
He/him ? ee
She/her ? ie
It ? edh
You ? daibh
They/them ? siad
This ? ses
That ? din

Example sentences:

We bought old armor.
Wair caufoch beddegh pantsung.

They attacked us.
Siad anspoch wair.

You killed him!
Daibh mabtoch ee!

She will not bless me.
Ie nae behnoch mich.

In many languages the verb ?to be? is irregular. Not in dwarvish. The dwarvish verb ?aeoch?, to be, does not change.

I am a dwarf.
Mich aeoch dwerven.

She is not nice.
Ie nae aeoch gehagh.

Gorethar is a good deity.
Gorethar aeoch gude deigott.

Chapter 3: Expressing Possession

There are two ways to show possession in dwarvish. The first uses the conjunction ?ov,? which means ?of.?

Veld Ov Vurbren aeoch heir.
The Fields of Fire are here.

Verifoch mich ov haut.
I sold my house.

The second is even simpler. Just combine the words signifying the owner and the possession:

Verifoch michhaut.
I sold my house.

Michwashelg aeoch beddegh.
My shield is old.

Fifur killed my friend.
Fifur mabtoch michvruend.

Chapter 4: Imperatives

Dwarvish verbs are not conjugated. The only exception is when it comes to giving commands. All dwarvish verbs end with ?och. Dropping ?och from a verb results in its imperative form.

Rauf! Rauf!!
Run! Run!!

Dlomm heir
Come here.

Nae versa!
Don?t die!

Mabt siad!
Kill them!

Chapter 5: Expressing Desires

The verb ?wofeloch? means ?to want.?

Wofeloch washelg.
I want a shield.

Ee wofeloch michhaut.
He wants my house.

Wofeloch ceudert gude dwergen!
I want a hundred good dwarves!

?Wofel? is a dwarvish noun meaning ?desire, want.? When ?wofel? precedes a verb, the following expression can be made:

Mich wofel caufoch washelg.
I want to buy a shield.

Ie wofel fascoch madeugh.
She wants to see her mother.

Mich nae wofel mabtoch daibh.
I don?t want to kill you.

Chapter 6: Conjunctions, Conditionals, and Explaining Reasons

Conjunctions can be used to combine simple sentences into complex ones. Conjunctions are used in dwarvish exactly as they are in English. A list of common conjunctions follows:

And ? ind
Because ? wegoir
But, yet ? bach
If ? wem
Or ? nad

Famoch tighmann ind caufoch washelg voromlag.
I went to the store and I bought a shield.

Anspoch din muc bach ee nae versaoch.
I attacked that orc but he didn?t die.

Verifoch michtuxt ov staidh wegoir edh aeoch flamh.
I sold my steel axe because it was dull.

Wair desufoch aalen nad leanr.
We will drink ale or beer.

The word ?wem? can be used with the adverb ?mann?, which means ?then,? to form conditional sentences.

Wem famoch tighmann, mann caufoch nudh washelg.
If I go to the store, then I will buy a new shield.

The conjunction ?wegoir,? which means ?because,? can be used to explain reasons.

Famoch tighmann voromlag wegoir wofel caufoch nudh washelg.
I went to the store yesterday because I wanted to buy a new shield.

Chapter 7: Prepositions

Prepositions come before the words they modify, as in English. Below is a list of common dwarvish prepositions:

Above ? ciob
After ? nair
Before ? vorom
Behind ? hintacht
Below ? fon
By ? de
For ? cal
From ? bhon
In front of ? coivern
In, inside ? ain
Of ? ov
On ? oin
To ? chau
With ? meit


Moan aeoch ciob Galdos, bach nae faschoch.
The moon is above Galdos, but I never see it.

Michbreakel aeoch ain haut, hintacht miedlach.
My pickaxe is in the house, behind the forge.

Muc dlommoch bhon fon garnel.
The orcs came from below the tunnel.

Drop your weapon on the road!
Grib daibhwaffen oin stragenaan!

I bought this shield for you.
Caufoch ses washelg cal daibh.

Chapter 8: Asking Questions

In written dwarvish, interrogative questions start with a question word and end with a rune that denotes that the question is a sentence. This rune is analogous to the English question mark. Also similar is the fact that when dwarves speak a question they end the sentence with a rise in tone. In other words, asking a question in dwarvish is the same as asking one in English. Below is a list of dwarvish question words:

Who ? cor
What ? cas
When ? cuan
Where ? co
Why ? cashalb
How ? cie
How much, how many ? cieliol
Which ? celch

Cor aeoch din lelbfing?
Who was that half-elf?

Cas aeoch ses waffen, ind co aeoch dlommoch bhon?
What is this weapon, and where did it come from?

Why did you attack me?
Cashalb daibh anspoch mich?

Which shield do you like, the red or the blue one?
Celch washelg daibh wofeloch, rodh nad blorm?

Chapter 9: Relative Clauses

Relative clauses use the appropriate question word to best describe the noun they modify. In English, where ?that? is used the word for ?what,? ?cas,? is used instead. For example:

The elf who killed my father
Fing cor mabtoch michvadeugh

The ore that I smelted yesterday
Merz cas mich leagoch voromlag.

The stronghold where they fought the battle
Hochbol co siad neutoch shlegh

When I was a boy, I wanted a long beard.
Cuan mich aeoch laddie, wofeloch buang feubart.

Chapter 10: Time expressions

A list of common dwarvish time words is detailed below:

Second ? dakun
Minute ? pairgen
Hour ? stuair
Day ? lag
Week ? woach
Month ? mionat
Year ? jahdna

Today = this + day = ses + lag = seslag
Yesterday = before + day = vorom + lag = voromlag
Tomorrow = after + day = nair + lag = nairlag

Similar compound nouns are used to modify the words for week, month, and year. Thus ?voromjahdna? means ?last year? and ?nairmionat? means ?next month.?

More time expressions can be used by combining time words, numbers, and certain prepositions. For example:

Two seconds ago = two second before = dwei dakun vorom
Five years from now = five year after = conf jahdna nair
In twenty-four hours = twenty-four hour inside = dweideihn-veith stuair ain

Come to Deglos in two days.
Dlomm Deglos dwei lag ain.

I learned Elvish ten years ago.
Leornoch finglen deihn jahdna nair.

Culture note: ?mionat? is translated as ?month,? but many dwarves live their entire lives underground and hence never seen the moon. ?Mionat? does not describe an actual lunar cycle, but rather the length of time of the birth and death cycle of a type of glowing fungus that grows in the Underdark. The life cycle of this fungus roughly corresponds to one month.

Chapter 11: Saying ?I Can?

In dwarvish the word ?urkit? means ?ability.? When urkit precedes a verb it forms the grammatical expression ?I can [verb].? For example:

Mich urkit fascoch daibh.
I have the ability to see you.
I can see you.

Wair nae urkit vercaloch!
We cannot lose!

Chapter 12: Gerunds

Perhaps the hardest thing for foreigners to understand about dwarvish is gerunds. Just as dwarvish verbs do not distinguish between tenses, they also do not distinguish the gerund form. So ?see?, ?to see,? and ?seeing? are all expressed by the word ?fascoch.? This sometimes creates sentences that are hard for non-dwarves to understand, such as:

Desufoch aalen aeoch gude.
Drinking ale is good.

Vercaloth aeoch versaoch.
To lose is to die.

Chapter 13: Expressing Likes and Dislikes

The verb meaning ?to like? is ?mesikoth.? The verb meaning ?to hate? is ?fuasoch.?

I like winter, and I hate summer.
Mich mesikoth vinter, ind mich fuasoch zommer.

The imperative forms of the above verbs are also nouns meaning ?preference? and ?dislike.? When they precede a verb the following grammatical construction is formed:

Mich mesik leagoch merz.
I like to smelt ore.

Mich fuas faichoch hochbol.
I hate guarding the stronghold.

Chapter 14: Expressing Past Experiences

The noun ?iarfah? mean ?experience.? When it precedes a verb it forms the following grammatical construction:

Mich iarfah famoch Le?Or T?Nanshi.
I have the experience of going to Le?Or T?Nanshi.
I have been to Le?Or T?Nanshi before.

Ee iarfah fascoch nudh gebuid michpantsung?
Has he seen my new yellow armor before?

Cor iarfah famoch Mikona dri jahdna ain?
Who?s been to Mikona in the past three years?

Chapter 15: Similes and Metaphors

The adjective ?cealich? means ?similar to.? It can be used to form similes, such as:

My mother?s beard is black like iron.
Michmadeugh ov feubart aeoch wabh cealich iarsen.

That human fights as hard as adamantium!
Din muine anspoch chart cealich ababel!

Though dwarves do like a good drinking song, dirge, battle ballad, or limerick, they are not fond of metaphor. In fact, they do not use metaphor in their language.

Chapter 16: Adverbs

Adverbs always precede the verb they modify. Here is a list of common dwarvish adverbs:

Also ? auscht
Always ? aozeit
Never ? noer
Often ? trit
Only ? unzig
Seldom ? senamh
Sometimes ? uairmal
Then ? mann

I always drink ale before a battle.
Aozeit desufoch aalen vorom shlegh.

Attack the heart only!
Ansp trit herzode!

I never think about the orcs I have killed.
Noer nae smenoch muc cor mich mabtoch.

Adjectives can be made into adverbs by adding ?-in? at the end of the word. Again, adverbs always precede the verb they modify.

She spoke quickly.
Ie lunellin sprucoch.

When he saved me, I felt deep gratitude.
Cuan ee rabhoch mich, toimin fothloch altach.

Chapter 17: Passive Voice

Dwarves are a people who believe in actions. This attitude is expressed in their language. In dwarvish there is no passive voice. To quote a famous dwarf linguist, ?Passive voice is for wussies.?

Chapter 18: Using the verb ?ferdoch?

?Ferdoch? means simply ?to make.? But dwarves rarely use the verb in its naked form. Being a race of smiths, dwarves almost always combine the verb ?ferdoch? with the noun for the material used in whatever was made. For example:

Mich staidhferdoch washelg.
I made a shield (out of steel).

Mich mitbelferdoch faircham nairlag.
I will make a mithril hammer tomorrow.

Cor iarsenferdoch nudh ambnean?
Who made the new (iron) anvil?

Chapter 19: Common Expressions

Last but not least, a list of common expressions in dwarvish for general use:

Hello ? Gorr!! (this is an abbreviation of a phrase that means ?Gorethar bless you?)
Goodbye ? gudein rois (lit. trans. ? ?journey well?)
How are you? ? chart faircham? (lit. trans. ? ?is your hammer hard?)
I am well ? lichaba! (abbr. of ?cealich ababel?, ?like adamantium!?)
Thank you ? altach
You?re welcome ? kleinmerz (?it?s just a small ore?)
Holy smokes, great scott! ? ach!
Damn! ? verlooghlag! (?forsaken day?)
Excuse me ? vercalwoarg (lit. trans. ? ?lose your anger?)
"Truth has no form."
--Idries Shah

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PostAuthor: Orleron » Fri Oct 31, 2003 4:16 pm

English/Common Dwarvish
ability urkit
adamantium ababel
adult Volwach
ale aalen
alloy mearung
ally Verbond
altar clagta
anger, wrath woarg
anvil ambnean
armor pantsung
arrow pieil
axe tuxt
back (of torso) hintug
balance eveich
bandit raubicht
bartender buftander
battle shlegh
beard feubart
beer leanr
bellows bualg
boulder grobbiges
bow bevergung
boy laddie
castle kargh
child kindligh
coal guhle
copper cupbel
Council raad
desire, want wofel
dew daegh
drum trollan
dwarf, dwarven dwergen
Elf (sing.), Elven fing
elven (language) finglen
experience iarfah
Fall, autumn stherz
father vadeugh
field veld
fire vurbren
fish vish
forest bosfich
forge miedlach
friend vruend
friendly fruendlich
fruit frucht
girl lassie
gnome gnom
god, deity deigott
gold gald
goodbye gudein rois
gratitude, thanks altach
grove hain
guard grimnigh
guild, clan treun
hair haar
half lelb
half-elf lelbfing
halfling berrynkind
hammer faircham
haven, safe place zehebben
heart herzode
here heir
hole lowl
house haut
human muine
ingot caagen
inn gestagh
iron iarsen
journey reisegh
keep (small castle) reikost
leaf bleagh
leather ledar
magic zatagh
metal meghe
mine gruan
mithril mitbel
moon moan
mother madeugh
night naght
No nae
now jenugh
obligation verpiach
orc muc
ore merz
passage durrak
pickaxe breakel
platinum plabel
potion trankplaagh
pound pfent
purpose zwos
raven rabgang
recommendation moyemb
road stragenaan
rock, stone gesraig
Sea aibheis
season jahrozen
shadow schadeugh
shield washelg
silver airbel
something ietwas
spice beschuld
Spring lentuzt
steel staidh
store, merchant tighmann
stranger vreud
stronghold hochbol
Summer zommer
sun szonne
tavern schanke
thank you altach
there doer
thing ding
time zijd
tourist touregh
trade (noun) handel
traveler reisgander
tree beum
tunnel garnel
undead versanae
way weg
weapon waffen
Welcome velkom
Winter vinter
wood fiolz
Yes aye

English/Common Dwarvish
to attack anspoch
to be aeoch
to bless behnoch
to buy caufoch
to come dlommoch
to die versaoch
to dig, mine ruamhoch
to do neutoch
to drink desufoch
to eat esithoch
to feel fothloch
to fly ilieoch
to go, to walk famoch
to hate fuasoch
to have teuwoch
to hope horboch
to journey roisoch
to kill mabtoch
to know kaithnoch
to learn leornoch
to like, enjoy mesikoch
to lose vercaloch
to love griboch
to make ferdoch
to open fosoffoch
to recommend moyempoch
to run raufoch
to save rabhoch
to say sairoch
to see fascoch
to sell verifoch
to sing cronnoch
to smelt leagoch
to speak sprucoch
to stand stehoch
to think smenoch
to want, to need wofeloch
to watch, to guard faichoch
to win gebuihoch

English/Common Dwarvish
acceptable annedeagh
agile aglich
all allegh
any irgnig
armed bewapnend
bad shlect
big grobbi
black wabh
blue blorm
brown dhaun
deep toim
dull flamh
enduring karagh
fast lunell
few beparr
forsaken verloogh
full vollen
good gude
green grurn
hard chart
long buang
many vieluth
new nudh
old beddegh
pleasant, nice gehagh
purple purcur
red rodh
shallow seilach
sharp biorarf
short gorurz
similar to cealich
slow songsam
small klein
soft weoth
white weel
yellow gebuid
young juch

English/Common Dwarvish
also auscht
always aozeit
maybe foddecht
never noer
often trit
only unzig
seldom senamh
sometimes uairmal
then mann

English/Common Dwarvish
one eaon
two dwei
three dri
four veith
five conf
six se
seven siechd
eight oht
nine naun
ten deihn
hundred ceudert
thousand taumil

English/Common Dwarvish
although obged
and ind
because wegoir
but, yet bach
if wem
or nad

Time Indicators:
English/Common Dwarvish
second dakun
minute pairgen
hour stuair
day lag
week woach
month mionat
year jahdna
today seslag
yesterday voromlag
tomorrow nairlag

Question Words:
English/Common Dwarvish
who cor
what cas
when cuan
where co
why cashalb
how cie
how much, how many cieliol
which celch

English/Common Dwarvish
I/me mich
we/us wair
he/him ee
she/her ie
it edh
you daibh
they/them siad
this ses
that din

English/Common Dwarvish
above ciob
after nair
before vorom
behind hintacht
below fon
by de
despite tratz
during wroid
for cal
from bhon
in front of coivern
in, inside ain
of ov
on oin
to chau
with meit
"Truth has no form."
--Idries Shah

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