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What is the Dragon Language?

The Dragon Language is a constructed language (or "conlang") featured in
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is spoken by Dragons and was spoken by ancient
Nords who learned to harness its power and use it against their Dragon masters.
It was also used by members of the Dragon Cult, and is still used by the Draugr
that they became. In the time that Skyrim takes place, the Dragon Language is
known and spoken by a rare few, including the remaining Dragons and the
Greybeards who follow the Way of the Voice, and spend their lives studying the
powers the Dragon Language possesses (particularly, Words of Power).
This site is dedicated to the expansion of the Dragon Language and
promotion of its usage among Elder Scrolls fans. This is the first of several lessons
that will take you through pronunciation, common phrases, sentence
construction, grammar, and other topics.

Basic Pronunciation
The Dragon Language is based on what are called North Germanic
languages, and shares many of their features, such as long vowels and rolled 'r's.
Here we will look at some common Dragon words and phrases pick apart their
pronunciation. The pronunciations are spelled out as accurately as they can in
Drem Yol Lok - ["drem yole low-k"]
Dovahkiin - ["doe-vah-keen"]
Krosis- ["crow-sis"]
Fus Ro Dah - ["foos row dah"]
Su'um ahrk morah - ["soo-um ark more-ah"]
Nid aaz - ["need oz"]
Here we can see some patterns - "o" is almost always the long "o" such as
in "foe", "row", and "told". "I" is tricky. Usually it is the long "ee" as in the English
"seen" or "meek", but sometimes, as in "Krosis", it is the short "i" seen in the
English "sit" and "in". When in doubt, pronounce it as "ee". Alternatively, "ii" is
always pronounced "ee". "U" is also almost always "oo", as is "uu".

Vowels & Diphthongs

The Dragon Language recognizes a few more vowels than English. Most
of these are known asdiphthongs, where two vowels form one syllable. In English,
examples of diphthongs include the "ee" in "feel", or the "oo" in "foot". Additional
vowels of the Dragon Language and their pronunciations are as follows:

Dragon Example









Fundein, Keizaal

["foon-dine", "kai-zaal"]


Meyz, Beyn

["maze", "bane"]


Qostiid, Reyliik

["coast-eed", "ray-leek"]


Mir, Lusir

["meer", "loose-eer"]


Folook, Loost

["foe-luke", "loose-t"]


Thur, Urik

["thoor", "oor-eek"]




In the Dragon Language, the apostrophe is used to separate two vowels
into separate syllables, as opposed to forming a diphthong. Examples and their
pronunciation are as follows:
Thu'um - ["thoo-um"]
Su'um - ["sue-um"]
Du'ul - ["due-ul", the two-syllable pronunciation of "duel"]
Lo'om - ["low-um"]
The vowel preceding the apostrophe is pronounced long, and the vowel
following the apostrophe is pronounced short.

Sentence Structure
A sentence is made up several parts. The most basic sentence contains at
least two things - a subject, and a verb. The subject is the acting noun of the
sentence, and the verb is what the subject is doing. There are two kinds of verbs intransitive verbs, which require no direct object, and transitive verbs, which do
require a direct object. This bring us to the direct object, which is the noun that the
subject is acting upon. To determine what part of the sentence a word is, you can
ask yourself these questions:
1. Subject - Who is doing the action?
2. Verb - What are they doing?
3. Direct Object - Who or what are they doing the action towards?
Let's look at some English examples:
1. "The dragon flies." In this sentence, the subject is "the dragon", and "flies"
is the verb. Here there is no direct object.
2. "The dragon killed Ralof." "The dragon" is the subject, "killed" is the verb,
and "Ralof" is the direct object.
3. "Kyne bestowed the gift of the Voice upon mankind." In this example,
"Kyne" is the subject, "bestowed" is the verb, and "the gift of the Voice" is
the direct object. "Mankind" is another type of object called an indirect
object. The indirect object is the recipient of the subject's actions upon the
direct object.
The term sentence structure refers to how these parts are ordered in a
language. Fortunately, the Dragon Language follows the same sentence structure
as English. This sentence structure is:

Subject - Verb - Object

For indirect objects, they can come before or after the object depending on
whether you use a preposition. For example, you can say "I sold the shield to
Belethor" or "I sold Belethor the shield."

As in English, adjectives always precede the nouns they describe, and
adverbs can either precede or follow the verbs they describe. For more on the
parts of speech, see the Alphabet & Grammar page. Exceptions occur in poetic
writing, where sentence structure is more fluid.



Possessive Possessive



Zuu (I)

Zey (Me)

Dii (My)

Dii (Mine)



Mu (We)

Mii (Us)

Un (Our)




Hi (You)

Hi (You)

Hin (Your)




Hei (You)

Hei (you)

Hein (Your) Heinah




Rok (Me)

Mok (Him)

Ok (His)

Okah (His)



Rek (She)

Mek (Her)

Ek (Her)




Nii (It)

Nii (It)

Niil (Its)

Niilah (Its)








Note the difference between the possessive determiner and the possessive
pronoun, and between object and possessive determiner. With some English
pronouns, these are the same (Her, His, Its). In Dragon, this is not necessarily true
for their English equivalents. For example, "His sword is steel" would be "Ok
zahkrii los dwiin", and "The steel sword is his" would be "Dwiin zahkrii los okah.

Articles & Emphasis

The words "a", "an", and "the" are known as articles. The equivalents in Dragon
are "Aan" (for both "a" and "an"), and "Faal" and "Fin" for "the". The difference
between "Faal" and "Fin" is that "Faal" has primarily formal uses, in reference to
proper nouns or things of reverence.
One of the biggest differences between English and Dragon is that Dragon's
normal sentence structure rarely, if ever, uses articles. Context is used to
determine the references that "Aan"/"Faal"/"Fin" provide. Dragon also foregoes
the verb "to be" in some places in order to be more direct. While it is most correct
to ommit all of the above, you can include or exclude any of these and still be
grammatically correct. You can use this to place emphasis. Some examples and
their emphasis follow for translations of the sentence, "I am the Dragonborn!":

"Zu'u Dovahkiin!" - This is the most direct way of phrasing this sentence.
Its emphasis is "I am the Dragonborn!" or "I am the Dragonborn!"
"Zu'u los Dovahkiin!" - By including "los", the emphasis becomes "I am the
"Zu'u faal Dovahkiin!" - By including "faal", the emphasis becomes "I am
the Dragonborn!"
"Zu'u los faal Dovahkiin!" - Including both "los" and "faal" would likely
only occur for extra emphasis, or in poetic writing where the extra
syllables serve an artistic purpose.

As we've discussed in the previous lesson, the verb is the action in the sentence.
The term conjugationrefers to how a verb is modified according to the subject. For
example: "I climb the mountain", compared to "She climbs the mountain." A more
colorful illustration of verb conjugation is in the verb "to be", "I am", "you are",
"he/she/it is", etc.
Context clues are very important for understanding the Dragon Language, and it
plays a large role here as well. The Dragon Language doesn't conjugate the vast
majority of verbs like other languages do. This makes it easier to construct
sentences, but sometimes more difficult to interpret them. We'll tackle both
perspectives in this lesson.

Let's translate "He battles the dragon" and "We battle the dragon". The first is
"Rok grah dovah", and the second is "Mu grah dovah". As we can see, the verb
doesn't change. Later, we'll see this is true for most tenses as well.

Verb Tense & Context

Tense refers to when a verb is taking place. On the simplest level, there's present
tense, past tense, andfuture tense. This is the difference between "He battles the
dragon", "He battled the dragon", and "He will battle the dragon". In the Dragon
Language, this would look like "Rok grah dovah", "Rok grah dovah", and "Rok
fen grah dovah." Here the verb doesn't change for tense either. As stated before,
this makes it easy to construct sentences but difficult to interpret them without
larger context. With this context, we can gleam the tenses of verbs with some
analysis. Let's look at a few examples:




"Erik los hun do Rorikstead. Rok grah dovahhe." - The first sentence
translates to "Erik is the hero of Rorkistead." Since it is in the present tense,
we can make an educated guess that the following sentence is also in the
present tense. Thus, we get "Erik is the hero of Rorikstead. He battles
dragons." It is also possible for the second sentence to be in the past tense:
"Erik is the hero of Rorikstead. He battled dragons."
"Erik lost hun do Rorikstead. Rok grah dovahhe." - The first sentence
translates to "Erik was the hero of Rorkistead." We can then say for certain
that the following sentence is also in the past tense. Thus, we get "Erik was
the hero of Rorikstead. He battled dragons."
"Erik fen kos hun do Rorikstead. Rok fen grah dovahhe." - The first
sentence translates to "Erik will be the hero of Rorkistead." The verb "fen"
helps us contextualize that these phrases are in future tense. So, we have
"Erik will be the hero of Rorikstead. He will battle dragons."
"Erik hun do Rorikstead. Rok grah dovahhe." - This is the most
grammatically correct form of the above, as it ommits "los". Without it we
face a definite problem - is it in present tense or past tense? We then have
to draw on the larger context of the conversation or writing. Is it written
on a Word Wall or in a book? It is most likely past tense. Have you just
asked "Wo Erik?"/"Wo los Erik" ("Who is Erik?")? Then it is probably
present tense.

The Verb "Kos"

In constructing our sentences, there are a few things we can do to places clues as
to what tense we're using. These come mainly in the form of the conjugations for
"Kos", the verb which means "to be". Its conjugations also share meaning with "to
have". Below is a table for the conjugations of "kos" and its English equivalents.
English Translation

Dragon Conjugation