Conquest of the Horde

Full Version: Warcraft Language 101
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
[justify]Well, I intended to make a simple reminder on the language limitations in Warcraft. However, upon doing my research, I've come to realise the depth of the Warcraft Language, and would therefore decide to try and make my reminder into the form of guide, allowing one to revel in the majesty of Warcraft's spoken and written word. I hope that it will help (:[/justify]

The Languages


[justify]There is a very wide misconception about this language, propagated by in-game mechanics, that only members of the Alliance understand common. To a certain extent, this is true, as almost all intelligent races speak common, and at a quick glance, the original 'intellects' can usually be found in the Alliance. Common is one of the primary languages known by many races, used as a kind of universal language by most members of the many races of Azeroth. Most if not all races have at least some understanding and speak some dialect of Common, thus the ability for characters that have never had contact with other races and are yet able to communicate with each other on their first meeting. The emphasis here is that Common is a universal language, and is not a 'human' language per se. It is only restricted to the Alliance as the basic form of communication due to game balancing, in-game restrictions, etc, and is not a result of Warcraft Lore. Only the written aspect of Common can essentially be said to belong to the humans, for they were the ones who developed written Common, but other than that, Common is universal.

Other racial languages (Orcish, Taur-ahe, Gnomish, etc,) are normally limited to their specific races, but are often learned by races that are most likely to encounter those races or read their language. The Common alphabet is primarily made up of Latin characters, similar to that of the English Language. However, there have been appearances of 'runic common' which, in my opinion, derives from 'the ancient tongue', a less widely known dialect of common which takes its roots from 'ancient' real life languages. The universal and modern dialect of Common relies on English, athough one has to remember that the dependency is more OOC than IC, seeing as there is no 'English' in Warcraft Lore. One should also remember that Common is not English, rather, it is a form of communication native to most sentient beings in the Warcraft Universe. 'Low Common' is a language used by many races, although the use of Low Common suggests only a looser or simpler understanding of Common rather than the user necessarily being of low intellect.


[justify]This is another language which also has its misconceptions. Although Orcish is the primary form of communication within the Horde, this is merely an in-game mechanism, and should not be assumed to be the case lore wise. Orcish is a language native to the Orcs, and other races would require some form of 'learning' before they are able to speak this language, even the Trolls and Tauren. However, Orcish is an easy language to learn ICly, meaning that so long as one tries to learn the spoken language, they should at least be able to speak it at a rudimentary level. Orcish is a much coarser language than Common, and many words lack the subtlety of Common. Orcish rely on context, repetition and volume to add emphasis or meaning, which therefore limits the possibility of 'dialects' so to speak. The orcish written word revolves around runic alphabets, and there is much speculation as to the true origins of Orcish if one were to look at a real life context. Therefore, it is my assumption that the Orcish written word is one which only the Orcs would understand, deciphering the runic letters as a natural ability. This theory however, is merely speculation on my part, and should a character work hard at trying to understand the Orcish written word, then I assume that it would be plausible for said character to attain some form of understanding in that field.[/justify]


[justify]Darnassian is the primary language of the Night Elves, and is an independent language within the Night Elven people. It is my personal opinion that the verbal and written component of Darnassian derives from Arabic, or similar forms of scripture writing. Darnassian is an old language, and understood exclusively by the Night Elves. Therefore, it is unlikely that any other race would be able to learn this language, for even if one were to gain enough IC reputation with the Elves to be taught this language, its complexity would then be the barrier for knowledge of the language. It is not impossible, merely high improbable, that a character who is not a Night Elf to know Darnassian. One might argue that Thalassian, being the cousin of Darnassian, would give rise to similarities such that the languages would be interchangeable. However, there are strong ideological differences between the night elves and their distant kin, and this segregation is reiterated within the difference in Darnassian and Thalassian. Night elves tend to consider similarity comparisons between Darnassian and Thalassian offensive, and the intricacies behind their division shall be covered within the 'Thalassian' section. To even suggest to a Night Elf that Darnassian is the 'same' as Thalassian would invoke instant dislike.[/justify]


[justify]Thalassian derives from Darnassian, and while they share a common alphabet, what essentially segregates Thalassian from Darnassian would be the sentence structures, word placement, and other nuances within the languages. The metaphor I use to differentiate Darnassian from Thalassian would be to look at the difference between english and other languages which use a similar form of alphabet, like French for example. The english and french language are essentially evolutions of a mixture between greek and latin, so therefore, they can be said to have the same 'roots', so to speak. However, they differ vastly, in the way that they are spoken, written, etc. There are some french words which are considered as english, and such is the case for Darnassian and Thalassian as well. They are both principally derivatives of the same conceptual language, Darnassian, yet they have both branched out so far over the past thousands of years, that although one can spot the similarities, they are essentially two differing languages altogether. However, the Thalassian language isn't as restricted as Darnassian, for the Blood Elves, once High Elves, were more open to society than the Night Elves.[/justify]


[justify]Dwarven (a.k.a. Dwarvish), is the native language of the Dwarves. There was originally no written form of this language, other than complicated runes which only the highly educated could understand. Knowledge was passed down through oral tradition, the spoken language itself a testament to the ingenuity of the Dwarves. Humans taught dwarves how to write in Common, and in time, the Dwarves altered the language to give it an independence from the written form of Common, thus essentially giving birth to written Dwarvish. It is in my opinion that the spoken and written factors of Dwarvish originate from the old norse language. Dwarvish isn't a particularly hard or easy language to learn, and should a character who is not a Dwarf work hard at learning the language, then it would be plausible for said character to understand the language of the Dwarves in both the written and spoken form.[/justify]


[justify]There is much ambiguity regarding the gnomish language. Gnomish is the native language of the Gnomes, and while the spoken component is unique, the written component of Gnomish, like Dwarvish, seems to originate from Common. While gnomes are intrinsically friendly, it is in my opinion that they are wary of allowing others the opportunity to learn their language. This means that one would have to attain a good standing within the Gnomish community before being allowed to learn their language. It is also in my opinion that unlike the Dwarves, who were taught the written form of Common, the gnomes learned how to write in common instead of being taught, most probably through studying early Dwarvish and Human text. Not much can be said about Gnomish for the highly intellectual gnomes would definitely not allow their language to be easily understood by those they deem as having a low intellect.[/justify]


[justify]Zandali is the native language of the Trolls, and is sometimes simply referred to as 'Troll'. Trolls of all types speak Zandali, which is descended from their ancestral tongue, though some have descended so far into barbarism that they have forgotten this language, instead speaking Low Common. The spoken component of Zandali is largely syllabic, meaning that it would be easy for one to learn how to speak this language, should they manage to gain enough trust from the troll community for a teacher. There is no known form of written Zandali, and it is in my opinion that the playable troll race derived their written language through learning from the Orcs and elves, therefore, they would have their own system of the written language unique to each tribe, although the spoken language is the same for all trolls.[/justify]


[justify]Taurahe (a.k.a. Taur-ahe), is the native language of the Tauren, often appearing as harsh or low sounding. Taurahe does not have an alphabet, their written language is made up of elaborate pictograms and pictoforms, much like the system employed by the ancient Egyptians. Most history and lessons are passed down orally from one generation to the next, a method once employed by Dwarvish. Taurahe can be learned by those who manage to gain enough trust from the Tauren and acquire a teacher, and is not a hard language to learn at all. It is in my opinion that Taurahe mimics the language of the native indian americans, much like the race itself, and would therefore be a language that would require a good reason for learning, if one were not of the Tauren.[/justify]


[justify]Draenei, a.k.a. the Draenic Language, is the native language of all Draenei, including the broken ones and the lost ones. It is a language based off Eredun, the language of the Demonic Burning Legion. There are large similarities between the two, and the differences between Eredun and Draenic aren't as glaring as that between Thalassian and Darnassian; think of the difference between American and British English. However, the animosity the Draenei feel towards the Burning Legion would mean that even the suggestion of similarity would stir instant dislike. The Draenic language is a particularly complex language, and in my opinion, the complexity of which mimics the chinese language, where should a syllable be pronounced or written wrong, the entire word or sentence could have a totally different meaning altogether. The Draenei text is also derived from Eredun, and the alphabets are runic in nature, similar to those of the orcs. The spoken language is hard to learn, and would require dedication on the character's part, and the written language itself is as hard to understand. While one might argue that since the Draenic text is similar to that of the orcs in certain ways, meaning that an orc could learn how to write Draenic quite easily, the opposite is true. Although one may see the words and understand the alphabet, it does not mean that one would be able to understand the sentence structures, injunctions, so on and so forth. Unlike Darnassian, the spoken language could be learned by non-Dranei, but it is highly improbable as one would have to devote long years to even grasp the basics.[/justify]


[justify]Gutterspeak is a lower form of Common that uses very little bits of Dwarven and Thalassian. It has existed for a long while and evolved in the shady underground of black markets and rogues' guilds as the tongue spoke by people of ill-repute, and is in no way the native language of the Forsaken. When the Forsaken took the Undercity, they adopted Gutterspeak as their official language, for they had been thrown away like trash, and abandoned by everyone, even their friends and loved ones. Thus Gutterspeak, as the language of the outcasts, seemed appropriate to them. They take fierce pride in speaking Gutterspeak, and some have forgotten how to understand Common. Imagine it as a street slang that evolved into an adopted language of its own.[/justify]

The Races

  • Naturally able to speak and write Common.
  • Common is the primary language, no specific secondary language.
  • Can learn nearly any language, should learning requirements be met.

  • Naturally able to speak Orcish and Common.
  • Naturally able to write Orcish, Orcish being their native language.
  • Those who are 'language deficient' would deviate to Low Common instead of Common.
  • Secondary Language which could have been taught from young would be Taurahe (Spoken)

Night Elves
  • Naturally able to speak Darnassian and Common.
  • Naturally able to write Darnassian, Darnassian being their native language.
  • Those who are 'language deficient' would deviate to Low Common instead of Common.
  • Secondary Languages which could have been taught upon adulthood include Draenic (Spoken) & Orcish (Spoken)

Blood Elves
  • Naturally able to speak Thalassian and Common.
  • Naturally able to write Thalassian, Thalassian being their native language.
  • Secondary Languages which could have been taught from young include Orcish (Spoken), Common (Written), Dwarven (Spoken), Eredun (Spoken)

  • Naturally able to speak Dwarvish and Common.
  • Naturally able to write Dwarvish, Dwarvish being their native language.
  • Secondary Languages which could have been taught from young include Orcish (Spoken), Gnomish (Spoken), Thalassian (Spoken)

  • Naturally able to speak Gnomish and Common.
  • Naturally able to write Gnomish, Gnomish being their native language.
  • Secondary Languages which could have been taught from young include Dwarven (Spoken), Thalassian (Spoken)

  • Naturally able to speak Zandali and Common.
  • Unknown natural writing capability, Zandali being their native language.
  • Those who are 'language deficient' (most trolls) would deviate to Low Common instead of Common.
  • Secondary Language which would have been taught from young would be Orcish (Spoken)

  • Naturally able to speak Taur-ahe and Common.
  • Naturally able to write Taur-ahe, Taur-ahe being their native language.
  • Those who are 'language deficient' would deviate to Low Common instead of Common
  • Secondary Language which would have been taught from young would be Orcish (Spoken)

  • Naturally able to speak Draenic and Common.
  • Naturally able to write Draenic, Draenic being their native language.
  • Secondary Languages which could have been taught naturally from adulthood onwards include Orcish (Spoken), Darnassian (Spoken)

  • Naturally able to speak and write Common.
  • Primary language is Gutterspeak, which is a dialect of Common.
  • Those who are 'language deficient' would deviate to Low Common instead of Common.
  • Secondary Languages which could have been taught naturally from rebirth onwards include Orcish (Spoken), Thalassian (Spoken)


Thus ends my guide. Please feel free to ask any questions or make any clarifications should there be any discrepancies between my guide and your understanding of the Warcraft lore. There could have been mistakes, so don't hesitate on questioning the vailidity of my statements. Nobody is perfect, so ~ lalalalala :>
Oooh, I like it! Helped me. :3
Here's a question for ya.
Is demonic equal to Eredun?
ForsakenSoul Wrote:Here's a question for ya.
Is demonic equal to Eredun?
Lol you asked that question just like 'Tickle's teaser' from Brainiac.
It's a good question, though. For on the one hand it is the language of the Legion, but on the other hand before the Eredar joined the Legion I guess it was already their language.
ForsakenSoul Wrote:Here's a question for ya.
Is demonic equal to Eredun?

Eredun is the formal way to say Demonic. When the Eredar had joined the Legion, they had adopted their language for other sapient beings of the legion to use.

Warlocks and only Warlocks would be able to speak Demonic. A Blood Elf who is not a Warlock would definitely not learn to speak Demonic, and the same goes for any other race (That was listed above), save they were some chimerical prestige class that I don't know about. It's arguable to say that Humans and Dwarves could learn Eredun, because some of their Warlocks already do. I've selected two alternatives; either put Eredun under all races that has Warlocks (Which I honestly don't recommend) or under none, with a note that depicts that some Warlocks are indeed able to learn Demonic. Of course, as I said, it's arguable; if you want to proceed with my more favoured idea, then I believe it would make this guide more clear.
Some of the secondary languages you propose could be taught from youth seem to conflict with history, though they could have been learned in recent years.

Most notably, Night Elves come to maturity after over three hundred years of life and it's been less than two decades since Orcs and Draenei could have been introduced.

Something similar goes for Blood Elves and the Orcish language.

...Pardon my silly nitpicking at semantics; You have a wonderful guide here.
Thanks <3

Also, it is my understanding that Eredun is as complex as Draenic, and therefore, although Warlocks would have a good reason to learn it ICly, at most, they would be able to mimic certain phrases, knowing the translations. It's one thing to -learn- a language and another to speak it. They would be able to -speak- Eredun, especially those well versed in Demonology, but they will most probably not -know- the language as a whole. Perhaps if they dedicate long years to it, then they might pull it off, but other than that, no one but the Original Draenei should be able to fluently converse with a Demon in Eredun *Nods*

As for the Orc thing, thanks for pointing that out, t'was a mistake on my part XD But yea, mistake fixed <:
What resources are these taken from?
I'd think Draenei and Eredun would be largely the same langauge, since the eredar/draenei are pretty much the same race. Both languages have probably added new words for new discoveries, like orcs, humans, flora and fauna in Azeroth and whatever the eredar might have encountered but largely, since the race is so long lived, I doubt the core language they shared back on Argus has changed much at all.
Some of it was from WoWwiki, some of it was what I can remember from books and such, as well as studying the in-game characters of different races (NPC phrases). If you look closely however, you'd realise that about 20% (or less) of the stuff here was my personal development from what was already set in stone, seeing as I don't like the 'copy and paste' method of writing a guide. Therefore, I can't claim this guide to be 100% reliable, but it helps people understand, and that's all I'm trying to do. Like I said in the note, one could always question should he / she still be kept in the dark, and if I'm unable to answer, or if the GMs think I'm wrong, then by all means ~

This was also meant to just be a reminder, because there were several instances in which I'd see characters claiming to be able to speak languages they weren't supposed to be able to speak, but meh, I'm just a player trying to help ^.^
I don't it sounds innacurate, however, I do think that all the Horde races have been taught Orcish, especially the Darkspear Trolls, and Tauren.

Other than that, it's a pretty good guide.
Very nice!
Yay! >< Also, I've made edits to the Draenic language section to reflect Nostra's clarification, and a minor edit in the Trolls & Tauren race section to reflect Rensin's =3
Brilliant guide! :) I wouldn't say that Darnassian was derived from Arabic but from one of Tolkein's elven languages even though a lot of the phrases in Darnassian sound similair to Arabic :p!
A few questions on language and I thought it'd be best if I posted them here rather than make it its own thread. The questions might be a bit difficult to understand, and I apologize in advance.

This whole thing came about as I was sitting in my jail cell on Nagrand, thinking about Nexariel, my Draenei with a ridiculously heavy accent. Her profile clearly states that she had dealings with Orcs while on Draenor, and being there roughly 250 years you're bound to pick up the native's language. I thought to myself... having studied Orcish for that long, she probably wouldn't have an accent at all while speaking it... and my reasoning for giving her one for Common was that she would've only begun learning it after landing on Azeroth, which was only a few years ago. Then I came across this guide, and now I find myself wondering... why would any Draenei have an accent in Common?

Another thing that doesn't quite make sense to me ( and I'm beginning to think logic just doesn't have a place in a fantasy setting ) is how Common came to be the universal language. How is it that so many races, separated by great distances and never having met, developed the same language and were able to communicate with each other from their very first encounter? Just as odd is why did some of these races develop two very different languages ( Taurahe/Common, Orcish/Common, Draenei/Common, etc )? I'm not very well-versed in world cultures, but I can't think of any society IRL that did anything similar. It was always one language, with maybe a variety of dialects depending on various factors.

On a different note: I understand that here, if a Hordie tried to speak Orcish it would be understandable by all, and the same would be true of an Alliance speaking Common. I've taken this to mean that ICly Hordies are speaking Common when their language is set to Orcish. While I realize this is an OOC mechanic Kretol managed to do for us, can Hordies still speak Orcish ICly? Since Kretol managed to do this, I haven't once come across anyone speaking Orcish ICly.
Pages: 1 2