A different language is a different vision of life. – Federico Fellini
Different versions of life are exactly what we have in MMORPGs. As roleplayers, bringing our online versions of living to life are of prime importance, and speaking in game in the language of our characters is one of the best ways we can do this.
In this second part of The Languages of RP, I’ll be sharing some helpful links regarding the dwarvish language. The first part of this series, The Languages of RP – Elvish, is more extensive than this article. Even though dwarves have probably been around just as long as elves in terms of fantasy, their language has not had the same amount of attention paid to it. However, after delving through the darkest pits of the Internet, I have found plenty quality dwarven references to provide roleplayers with.
As in The Languages of RP – Elvish, much of the dwarven language found online is based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. So too is much of the dwarvish found in MMORPGs today taken from Tolkien, but not all. In Lord of the Rings Online, for example, Tolkien’s dwarvish (known as khuzdul) is naturally present, but the dwarves in World of Warcraft speak their native tongue based more from real life Scottish and Germanic languages. Khazalid, the speech of Warhammer dwarves, is specifically crafted to include very few words of human or Elvish.
Yet, language differences aside, dwarves across all current MMORPGs (and pretty much across all their lore) do share a number of physical and mental similarities. Understanding some basic concepts about mythical dwarves are what these first links help with.
Dwarf (Middle-earth) – Wikipedia
Dwarves – The Encyclopedia of Arda
These next links give brief descriptions of dwarves as they appear in some of the current MMORPGs, allowing a better look at how similar and different they are in comparison.
Race of Dwarves – Lord of the Rings Online
Dwarf – Dungeons & Dragons Online
Khuzdul is the name given to the dwarven language created by Tolkien, most of what is known about it coming directly from his published books, such as The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings series. The following links lead to web sites with detailed explanations of the history and composition of khuzdul, along with some handy word and phrase lists for those who just want to quickly bring some dwarf speech to their character.
Khuzdul – the secret tongue of the dwarves
Next are a couple of web sites showing how gamers have taken khuzdul and integrated it into their games. Each also has a convenient word list at the ready, easily copied and pasted somewhere for quick printing.
The Structure of Khazdul (Dwarven) – The World of Farland
Of course, you may create your very own dwarven speech and mannerisms, that’s always a given. When and from where the current stereotypical Scottish accent was applied to dwarves is totally unknown, as far as my research has uncovered. Your dwarf does not have to be held to that concept, for the most part, but it’s still a good idea to generally run with the predominant behaviors found within whatever game you’re playing. The goal is, as always, to bring your character to life in game, and have it be much more than just a graphical representation of a bunch of mathematical formulas and computer code. Until next time, role on!
Do you channel your inner Scotty from Star Trek into your in game dwarven speech, or do you have a unique language style for your dwarven characters? Share your dwarven diction in the Comments section here, tweet them to @RoleCraft, and join the RoleCraft Facebook Group to sound off there. Thank you for reading and roleplaying!