The ancient Dragon Language is the language used by dragons. Text in the Dragon Language is found on walls in ancient dungeons and on burial grounds. The runes used for writing the language are described in the Dragon Alphabet article.
With sufficient understanding, certain words can be incanted to produce magical effects such as conjuring fire, frost, or wind, slowing time, or pushing an enemy away. This ability is known as the Thu'um and is an inborn talent of Dragons and Dragonborns.
Dragonlings, which are found around the Iliac Bay area, are unrelated to Dragons. These oversized lizards have their own language known as Dragonish, though the relation, if any, of their language to the Dragon Language spoken by actual Dragons is unknown.
The language is structurally similar to English, with three exceptions: it has no equivalent to English's apostrophes, it tends to place prepositional phrases earlier in sentences, and verb tense is often ignored.[UOL 1] To make a word plural, the last letter of the singular word is repeated and followed by an "e". For example, the plural form of "kel" (an Elder Scroll) is "kelle".
The singular possessive ("my", "your", "his", or "her") is formed by adding the letter "i" to the end of the word, except when the word ends in "ii", in which case an "l" is appended. The plural possessive ("our" or "their") is formed by adding the letter "u". To indicate a perfect verb form (as in "has silenced"), the letters "aan" are added to the end of the word.
The language makes heavy use of compound words, and has the head (i.e. the categorical part that contains the basic meaning) appearing first in most cases. For example, "Zeymahzin" (Companion) consists of the words "Zeimah" (Brother) and "Zin" (Honor) and should be understood as "Honor-Brother" instead of the literal order of "Brother-Honor".
Some phrases have a different meaning in the Dragon Language. The phrases below are examples of these phrases.
- Necromancy (literally: arise-dead)
Bormahu han zu'u
- (literally: Father _ I)
Dey on folook fey ko ven ahrk ron
- "Implausible spirits haunt a grove in the wind and rain"
- "My Brother"
Dov nifaas wiixseroth
- "Dragons fear not a trap of vines"
Drem Yol Lok
- "Greetings" (literally: peace fire sky)
Kaaz Kaal Sul
- Pride of Alkosh (literally: Khajiit-Champion-Day)
Krif voth ahkrin
- "Fight Bravely" (literally: fight with courage)
- "Sky above, Voice within" (literally: Sky, Voice)
Nid jiid, nid kun
- "No moon, no moonlight"
Nihnzey miir wah krongrah
- "Betrayal is the path to great victory"
Nihnzey miir wah viik
- "Betrayal is the path to defeat"
- "Honorable Fool" (literally: Noble Fool)
Nunon mey bo strun voqostiid naal sov
- "Only a fool flies in a storm and is surprised by the shock."
Orin brit ro
- "(a) fully beautiful balance", dragon phrase for irony (literally: even beautiful balance)
- (literally:Good Travels)
- "gods (of) creation" / "creator gods" (literally: gods built/created)
Rul jol, lok
- "When unsteady, rise"
- (literally: Power Your(s))
- "An Unexpected Outcome" (literally: Unknown _)
Wah vokrii krentiid
- (literally:To Restore Break-Time)
Wuldsetiid los tahrodiis
- "the whirlwind/vortex of time is treacherous/turbulent"
Ziil gro dovah ulse!
- Your soul is bound to me for eternity!
- Stronger (literally: Most strong)
Zoor drun qalos
- "Myth made manifest" (Literally: Legend Bring Touch)
- "I see"
Dragon names are typically formed of three monosyllabic words that, as a whole, may be rendered as a Shout. Each dragon name is unique, and so dragons are able to use these Shouts to address each other across vast distances.
While dragon names are easily separated into their word components, translating them as a whole is another matter. Dragon names can be translated into phrases, such as the name Odahviing (literally: Snow-Hunter-Wing), which was converted into a coherent phrase; "Winged Snow-Hunter". If other names were translated in the same way, it can be extrapolated that Boziikkodstrun would be "Bold Storm-Wielder" or that Sahloknir would be "Phantom Sky-Hunter".
There is also the case where a mortal can be granted a Dovahzin (Dragon Name), by a dragon who believes they have earned it and it is considered a great honor. Two examples of these are Ahkahtuz (Hunter-Pride-Blade) and Toshrakhat. Dragon Priests also usually have names in the dragon language, although often only two syllables long instead of three.
Dragon names that can be translated include:
Dragon names that are as yet untranslated include:
Note that these names are not necessarily real Dragon language names. In the same way that Nahfahlaar had imperialized his name as Nafaalilargus when he worked for the Empire, it is likely that dragons who act in the employ of humans (such as Papré for the battlemage Samar Starlover, or Skakmat for the mystic Nulfaga) prefer not to use dragon names during their employment. Debudjen is mentioned only in a work considered historical fiction, and Numinex in legends considered distorted and inconsistent.
The following are locations whose names are translated.
- Dragon Language: Myth no More — Hela Thrice-Versed
- Events of Skyrim
- There Be Dragons — Torhal Bjorik
- Associated Dragonish language in Daggerfall
- Paarthurnax's dialogue in Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Prima Official Game Guide — David Hodgson
- Dragonborn game data
- Songs of Skyrim — Giraud Gemaine, Historian of the Bards College,
- Alduin's dialogue in Skyrim
- Odahviing's dialogue in Skyrim
- Draugr dialogue in Skyrim
- Dragon Shouts in Skyrim
- Holdings of Jarl Gjalund — Slafknir the Scribe
- Official Bethesda Dragon dictionary from Imperial Library
- Greybeards' dialogue during The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller quest.
- Borri's dialogue in Skyrim
- Nahkriin's dialogue from Skyrim
- The Infernal City — Gregory Keyes
- Wisdom of the Flying Gods — Magnius Calussa
- Word Walls found in Dragonborn
- Nahfahlaar's dialogue in ESO: Dragonhold
- Dragon Shouts in Dragonborn.
- Dragon dialogue from Skyrim
- Durnehviir's dialogue in Skyrim.
- Dragon's shouts in ESO
- Einarth's dialogue in Skyrim.
- Laatvulon's dialogue in ESO: Dragonhold
- Tsun's dialogue in Skyrim
Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.