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DF2014:Dwarven language

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This article is about an older version of DF.
Not to be confused with Khuzdul.

The Dwarven language is one of the languages the player will come across. This language is used in-game for the names of the universe, continents, rivers, dwarven governments and settlements, dwarves, artifacts and engravings. However, as of yet, it lacks everything necessary for proper conversation, like grammar or personal pronouns.


The letters of the Dwarven alphabet are:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Majuscule forms (also called uppercase or capital letters)
Minuscule forms (also called lowercase or small letters)
a à á â ä å b c d e è é ê ë f g h i ì í î ï k l m n o ò ó ô ö r s t u ù ú û v z

Of these 40 letters, 25 are vowels (A, À, Á, Â, Ä, Å, E, È, É, Ê, Ë, I, Ì, Í, Î, Ï, O, Ò, Ó, Ô, Ö, U, Ù, Ú, Û); the 15 others are consonants.

The letters J, P, Q, W, X, and Y of the ISO basic Latin alphabet do not occur in the Dwarven alphabet.

Letter frequency[edit]

This lists the frequency of each letter (and digraph) found in the corpus of Dwarven:

No. Letter Frequency
1 A 883 8.45%
2 À 14 0.13%
3 Á 18 0.17%
4 Â 35 0.33%
5 Ä 33 0.32%
6 Å 31 0.30%
7 B 308 2.95%
8 C 54 0.52%
9 D 425 4.07%
10 E 697 6.67%
11 È 16 0.15%
12 É 14 0.13%
13 Ê 29 0.28%
14 Ë 30 0.29%
15 F 50 0.48%
16 G 336 3.21%
17 I 690 6.60%
18 Ì 16 0.15%
19 Í 17 0.16%
20 Î 38 0.36%
21 Ï 32 0.31%
22 K 489 4.68%
23 L 650 6.22%
24 M 524 5.01%
25 N 531 5.08%
26 NG 103 0.99%
27 O 733 7.01%
28 Ò 18 0.17%
29 Ó 20 0.19%
30 Ô 27 0.26%
31 Ö 32 0.31%
32 R 664 6.35%
33 S 664 6.35%
34 SH 295 2.82%
35 T 623 5.96%
36 TH 318 3.04%
37 U 619 5.92%
38 Ù 16 0.15%
39 Ú 13 0.12%
40 Û 30 0.29%
41 V 86 0.82%
42 Z 232 2.22%


  • Digraphs sh, th, and ng.
    • h only occurs in the digraphs sh and th.
  • Common consonant cluster st.
  • Dwarven has no diphthongs.
  • c, f, and v are always followed by a vowel.
  • Possible syllable structure either (C)2V(C)2 or (C)V(C).

Diacritic meaning[edit]

The Dwarven language has five diacritics (◌̀, ◌́, ◌̂, ◌̈, and ◌̊) used on five vowels (a, e, i, o, and u). The ring accent only appears on a and the diaeresis accent doesn't appear on u.

The use of diacritics in Dwarven could mean that vowels have different pronunciations, like in some European languages such as French, German, or Swedish,
or that it's a tonal language that indicates pitch, such as Chinese languages, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. The pronunciation of the diacritics is currently unknown.

Diacritic Diacritic name Use in other languages Probable Tonal meaning
None - Neutral pitch
◌̀ Grave accent Low pitch, stressed vowels, open vowels, short vowels. Low pitch
◌́ Acute accent High pitch, stressed vowels, close vowels, long vowels. High pitch
◌̂ Circumflex Used to represent falling pitch or long vowels. Falling pitch
◌̈ Diaeresis (diacritic) Used to show that a vowel should be read separately (like in coöperate). This is certainly not its use in Dwarven, because there are no diphthongs. It could also indicate a sound change. Mid pitch
◌̊ Ring (diacritic) Å is a completely separate letter from A in various Nordic alphabets, and this diacritic is only used on a in Dwarven... Rising pitch

The coincidence of Å being a separate letter in the Nordic alphabets and the ring diacritic only being used on A in Dwarven is probably just that, a coincidence. If Å is distinguished from A in Dwarven, then it is quite strange that no other accents are ever applied to it.

General suggestions for the pronunciation of the various languages were developed here.


The average word in the Dwarven language is 5.088 letters long. The longest known word is ngathsesh, meaning "vomit".

The average word has 1.868 syllables. Generally, words either have one or two syllables.


Interestingly, the language lacks words like dwarf (possibly bistök-udos, "hairy man", or duradudos, "bearded man"), human (technically they have udos ("man")), goblin or elf (though one could use dák-enur ("tree-hug") for that). However, it is not lacking words for "pearl" (kovest) or "pumpkin" (elbost) which do not even exist in-universe.

The letter W does not exist elsewhere in the dwarven language, so it is unlikely that the word "dwarf" is the native moniker of dwarves for themselves. However, "dwarf" might be adopted from the original dwarven word for their own kind, and similarly they might call other races by their respective chosen monikers. "Dwarf" would then be some other language's approximation of the native dwarven pronunciation, whose correct dwarvish spelling could purely hypothetically resemble forms such as "dorf" or "dvôrfum".

D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, pop culture references, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.

Although dwarves are capable of creating massive and powerful fortresses, killing unimaginable beasts and demons, wiping out entire civilizations, and becoming incredibly buff after hours of constant mining, they all develop a glaring weakness known as cave adaptation, which causes dwarves to puke when exposed to the outdoors. It is because of these thousands of disturbances that the vile substance accelerating out of their guts had been given the stupidly long name incredibly intimidating title of "ngathsesh" due to the countless victims it has affected (including the poor bastards that have to clean the damned mess).

Divine · Dwarven · Elvish · Goblin · Human · Kobold
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