((Guide originally written by Thoren Stonehammer - Wyrmrest Accord! I do not proclaim this to be my original writing. I only added certain words and further explanations to his work!))
THE DWARVEN LANGUAGE
The origin of the dwarven language heralds back to the titans and the ages of old. The Earthen, the stone-skinned ancestors (and later the first dwarves), spoke the Titan language along with their cousins, the giants, and the vrykul. After the curse of flesh had created the vrykul and dwarf races proper, they began to drift away from their titan heritage, and like most languages in history, that too changed over time.
The languages did not become completely different as a specialist could still easily point out where both the now different Dwarven tongue and Vrykul language share close similarities with their Titan ancestor (Just like how Thalassian and modern Darnassian are both similar and also still both connect with the ancient Darnassian/Darnassae tongue of the sundering era). The Vrykul tongue would eventually go on to evolve to modern day common used by their offspring, the Humans, most likely with heavy influences from the other residents of the eastern kingdoms but that is a discussion for another time.
The grammatical structure of Dwarvish can be very difficult for outsiders to glean. The dwarf language usually places the subject before the verb in a sentence, however the way a word is pronounced or stressed can often determine where it should be thought of in relation to its place in a sentence. Some words are deemed so important that they are placed at the beginning of a sentence and then again later on regardless of formal structure. Dwarven has few individual words relating to abstract concepts, and most abstract concepts are described in relation to something physical, often using the same word as what they relate to. Most Dwarf words are formed from a short root word.
THE DWARVEN ALPHABET ("KLINKARHUN")
Dwarves naturally have loud, rumbling voices, and when they speak Dwarvish, their speech is like thunder rolling amidst the mountains or the scraping of rock against rock. It is a hard, forceful, and sometimes guttural sound. The language reflects dwarfish passions and contains hundreds of words describing different types of rock, tunnels, and gold. Its written form is called the Klinkarhun, a runic alphabet designed to be easily chiselled into rock or metal.
Dwarvish vowel sounds in particular are uncompromisingly precise and very heavily accented. Consonants are often spat aggressively or gargled at the back of the throat, and many Dwarf root words begin with harsh consonant sounds such as K, G and R. Contrary to Humans, whose myriad dialects differ widely depending on geographic location-- even within the same language-- the Dwarfs remain fairly consistent in dialect across Azeroth although there are exceptions.
Although the sound of Dwarvish does not exactly match the sounds of Common speech, the chart in this article gives the closest approximations. The sounds should be pronounced with force, and the ‘r ’ and ‘kh’ sounds in particular are made as if enthusiastically clearing the throat.
To follow is a brief list of some dwarven words and their meanings listed in Common alphabetical order:
- A - Of, with, within, to.
- Ad - Did, done.
- Af - They, you (plural).
- Agril - Silver metal.
- Agrul - Stone carving, lines on the face of a very old Dwarf.
- Ald - Old.
- Aldrhun - Old runes.
- An - Will, shall, am going to, with purpose.
- Anad - Will have done, shall have done.
- Ang - Ironwork, industrial work.
- Ankor - Domain, realm, country.
- Anu - Soon, very soon, any minute now!
- Arkhandrazkal - The art of inscribing runes on precious metal with a troll's tusk.
- Arm - Irregular verb 'to be'. (Past tense "urz")
- Az - War axe.
- Az-Dreugi - Great axe.
- Azgal - Treasure hoard.
- Azkahr - Massive masonry.
- Azril - Silvery colour
- Azul - Metal of any kind; dependable
- Azumgi - A dependable or respectable human.
- Bael - Red
- Bael Dun - Red Town, Red Halls or Red Ground
- Bael Modan - The Red Mountain
- Bael Gar - Red Giant
- Bak - Head (physical body part).
- Bar, Barak - Fortified gate, door.
- Barag - War machine.
- Baragi - A pilot of a siege engine.
- Baraz - Bond, oath or promise.
- Barazi - One who has sworn or is bound by an oath.
- Bezek - Own, possess.
- Bezeki - Owner/possessor.
- Bin - In, on, beside.
- Boga - A candle which blows out unexpectedly, making a tunnel dark; a curse.
- Bok - Banging head on a low tunnel ceiling, scar caused by this.
- Boki - Slang for Dwarf miners.
- Bolg - Fat belly. Also a state of extreme wealth, age and contentment.
- Bolgi - A politician or noble.
- Bran - Clever, alert, mentally sharp.
- Brog - Bread, cake.
- Brogi - A baker or chef.
- Bryn - Gold which shines brightly in the sunlight. Anything that is shiny or brilliant, or brilliantly coloured or decorated.
- Brynduraz - Azerite (Literally: “Brightstone”).
- Chuf - Piece of old cheese kept under miner’s hats in case of emergency.
- Cyfail - Heart; core
- Dal - Old, Sturdy
- Dammaz - Grudge, bitterness.
- Dar - A bet, wager or challenge.
- Dawi - Dwarf/Dwarves (informal)
- Dawibarazi - Husband; partner (gender neutral); a very trusted friend (Literally: “Oath Dwarf”).
- Dawr - As good and reliable as can be, without proving reliability through use over time; Dwarf-like.
- Deb - Untried, untested, unconditioned; can be used to refer to children.
- Doh - Stupid, gullible.
- Dohgi - A clumsy person.
- Dok - To observe, watch; an eye.
- Dongliz - Parts of Dwarf body impossible to scratch.
- Draig - Dragon.
- Draig'cyfail - "Dragonheart", a title given to the wizard Rhonin
- Drek - A great distance; a great ambition/undertaking.
- Dreng - To slay in combat.
- Drengi - Slayer; great warrior.
- Dringorak - "Cunning Road", usually a trap-door or secret passageway.
- Dron - Thunder, loud boom/noise.
- Drongnel - A Dragon stew with strong mushrooms, marinated in ale.
- Drung - Defeat, vanquish.
- Drungi - Coward, an insult.
- Duk - Low cramped tunnel.
- Dum - Doom or darkness, evil, Chaos.
- Dum’Zul - Dark Iron
- Dum’Elgi - Void Elves
- Dun - settlement/town, also refers to the ground or an underground hall/chamber.
- Duraz - Stone.
- Durak - Hard (Literally "Stone-like").
- Dwyar'hun - "Star Bow". A form of dwarven crossbow with spiked balls instead of bolt.
- Ekrund - A staircase descending into the earth.
- Elgi - Elf, Elves. Homonym; skinny/someone who is too thin.
- Elgraz - Construction that seems about to collapse (noun).
- Endrinkuli - Engineer, mechanic.
- Eta - No
- Frongol - Mushrooms which grow at the back of a cave.
- Gal - Any kind of gold. Can be currency, ore, ingots, etc.
- Galzi - A banker or financial advisor.
- Galaz - Gold which makes a nice ornament; jewelry
- Galbaraz - Oathgold - a reward given/received because of a promise, oath, or agreement.
- Gand - Find, discover
- Gar - Giant
- Garaz - Fearless, rebellious.
- Gazan - Wasteland, plains.
- Ghal - Skull.
- Ghal Maraz - Skull-Splitter.
- Gibal - Fragments of food in a beard.
- Ginit - Small stone or pebble in a boot which causes discomfort.
- Girt - Broad tunnel with plenty of headroom.
- Git - Irregular verb "to go" (past tense "ged").
- Gnoki - Gnomes
- Gnollor - Old and reliable; trustworthy; wise.
- Gnoll-engrom - Respect due a Dwarf with a longer or more impressive beard.
- Gor - Beast; animal
- Gorak - Great cunning; uncanny.
- Goraki - A rogue or sneak.
- Gorl - The colour yellow; gold which is soft and yellow.
- Gorog - Beer/Ale; high spirits; a drinking binge.
- Gorumgi - Worgen (Literally: “Beast Humans”)
- Got - March/Travel quickly with purpose.
- Grik - Neck pain caused by stooping in tunnels.
- Grim - Harsh, unyielding.
- Grimaz - Barren area of land.
- Grimazul - Steel (trans. Unyielding Iron)
- Grindal - Long plait worn in the hair of a Dwarf maiden.
- Grint - Waste rock left from mining; an insult.
- Grizak - A stew made from poor cuts of meat.
- Grizal - Poor meat.
- Grizdal - Ale which has been fermented for over a century.
- Grob/Grobi - The colour green; also Greenskins (literally "Greenies" Refers to Goblins, Orcs and some trolls)
- Grobkul - Sport of Greenskin (orc and troll) hunting
- Grog - Inferior ale/beer, human-like brew.
- Grom - Brave, defiant.
- Gromdal - Ancient artifact.
- Gromthi - Ancestor.
- Grong - Anvil.
- Gronit - Irregular verb 'to do' (past tense "gird").
- Grumbak - Short measure of ale; trivial complaint.
- Grumbaki - A Dwarf who whines, complains, or grumbles a lot.
- Grund - Hammer.
- Grundlid - "Hammertongue:" A secret language known by miners and engineers consisting of numbered and timed taps on a hard surface. Similar to Gnorse-code
- Grung - A mine.
- Grungnaz - Making or smithing.
- Grungni - A blacksmith/skilled craftsman, a very polite compliment.
- Grungron - A forge.
- Guz - To consume food or drink. (May be where "guzzle" originated.)
- Gwyarbrawden - Ritual among dwarven warriors, a way of connecting their blood. It was also a kind of justice. Those who swore Gwyarbrawden to another would avenge that person's death no matter the difficulty.
- Haggis - A dish consisting of a mixture of the minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the slaughtered animal
- Hazkal - Ale which has been only recently brewed; a fiery young warrior.
- Hirn - Horn.
- Hunk - Carry heavy rocks, carry a great burden.
- Hunki - Manual laborers; working class citizens.
- Ik - Placing one's hand into something slimy and unpleasant in the dark.
- Ikki - An unhygienic dwarf.
- Irkul - Pillared vault hewn into rock; prison
- Izor - Copper.
- Karak - Enduring, lasting.
- Kaza - Fortress.
- Kazak - War; battle; conflict.
- Khadgar - Trust
- Khadgari - A trustworthy person; someone who has fulfilled an oath; a compliment.
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- Khaz - Short form: refers to the titan Khaz’goroth
- Khaz Modan - Mountain or Mountains of Khaz, named after the titan, Khaz'goroth.
- Khâzad - Earthen; (Literally: "Sons of Khaz'goroth") Used to refer to dwarves who have not succumbed to the Curse of Flesh.
- Khâzuk Kazakit-ha - Shortened version of the chant below (Literally: “Look out! Dwarves are on the warpath!”)
- Khâzuk Khâzuk Khâzuk-ha -Dwarven war-chant.
- Khâzuk/Khâzukan - Another formal way to referring to dwarves
- Khrum - War drum.
- Klad - Armour.
- Klinka - A chisel
- Klinkarhun - Commonly used runes (Literally: "Chisel-runes").
- Kol - The colour black, black stone; sombre.
- Konk - Large and bulbous nose; gold which is ruddy in colour.
- Krink - Bad back due to stooping in tunnels.
- Kron - Book, record. (Possibly where the human word "Chronicle" originated.)
- Kruk - Unexpected disappointment; vein of ore which suddenly proves to be empty.
- Krunk - A disaster; an underground rock fall.insult
- Krut - Disease contracted from mountain goats.
- Kruti - Dwarf suffering from the above (too much time above ground); a goatherd, an insult against Wildhammers.
- Kulgur - The art of cooking Trolls.
- Kuri - Meat stew spiced with wild berries; uses any available ingredients and made by travelers .
- Kvinn - Lady; woman (informal)
- Lid - Tongue (body part).
- Loch - Lake
- Loch Modan - Mountain Lake
- Lochvar - Ocean/Sea
- Lochvargi - Naga; Murlocs. (Literally: “Sea People”)
- Lorn - Land
- Lok - Very intricate or embellished; worthy of praise.
- Loki - An attractive dwarf.
- Magna - Protector, used for both male and female Guardians.
- Makaz - Tool or weapon.
- Maraz - Splitter; saw
- Mingol - Tall watchtower built on lowland.
- Modan - Mountain
- Modani - A mountaineer; hunter
- Modrin - Mountain pass
- Modrag - Volcano or barren mountain.
- Naggrund - Region of devastation or great industry and upheaval; roughly translates to devastation or desolation, but only when they apply specifically to industrial areas. (Example: Lordaeron/Plaguelands, Azshara, Orgrimmar, Blasted Lands)
- Nef’Elgi - Night Elves
- Nogarung - Tankard used to drink from, made from Troll's skull.
- Ogri - Ogres.
- Oie - yes
- Ok - (pronounced aw-K) Cunning, skillful.
- Okri - Craftsman. (Also a common personal name.); a respected relative.
- Onk - Comradely assertion of dirt and grime on Dwarfs who have spent much time underground.
- Ragarin - Coarse and uncomfortable clothing made from Ettin hide, an itchy cloak worn by mountaineers or guards to keep from falling asleep.
- Rhun - Runes; a word; the act of writing.
- Rhunki - Runesmith; writer; chiseler.
- Ril - Gold ore which shines brightly in rock.
- Rinn - A lady dwarf; woman (formal).
- Rinnbarazi - Wife (Literally: “Oath Woman”).
- Rorkaz - Informal shouting contest; an argument
- Ruff - Large underground dome, either natural or constructed.
- Runk - One-sided fight; a sound thrashing.
- Rutz - Slackness of the bowels caused by excessive ale consumption.
- Skarrenruf - The colour bright blue; daytime sky.
- Skaz - Thief.
- Skof - Cold meal, usually eaten underground.
- Skrat - Scavenge; harsh living; searching for gold in loose rocks or a stream bed.
- Skrati - Poor prospector, an insult.
- Skree - The loose rock on a hill or mountainside.
- Skruff - Scrawny beard (considered a terrible insult).
- Skrund - The act of cleaving rock; to work hard.
- Skuf - Drunken fight, skirmish. (May be the origin of the Human word scuffle.)
- Slotch - Mix of water, mud and bits of stone at the bottom of a mine or quarry.
- Stok - The act of hitting or striking.
- Strol - To travel or walk leisurely.
- Stromez - Stream.
- Thane - A clan leader, Lord, Mountain King or King.
- Thag - To kill in a dishonourable or dishonest fashion.
- Thagi - A traitorous killer, an extreme insult
- Thaggoraki - Troggs; a crazed person.
- Thrindrongol - Secret vault to keep ale or treasure or valuables in.
- Thingaz - Dense forest.
- Thor - Short form, refers to the titanic watcher Thorim
- Thor Modan - Mountains of Thorim
- Throgg - Feast or bout of excessive drinking.
- Throng - Army or gathering of Dwarfs, a clan.
- Thrund - A hand gun.
- Thrundi - A gunner; ranger; marksman
- Tromm - literally translated as Beard; A term of respect to an elder dwarf due to age or experience.
- Ufdi - A vain Dwarf; a Dwarf who excessively preens his beard, implies that he cannot be trusted to fight.
- Umanar - Roughly or approximately; indecision.
- Umgak - Poorly made (Literally "Human-made".); excrement; something shoddy
- Umgi - Humans.
- Unbaraki - Oathbreaker(s); liar(s); an extreme insult.
- Und - Watchpost carved into the side of a mountain.
- Ungdrin - Underway; underground dwarf tunnels/highways that connect towns, cities and settlements
- Ungor - Cavern or cave.
- Ungrim - A Dwarf yet to fulfill an important oath; untrustworthy; a derogatory way of addressing children.
- Urbar - Trade.
- Urbaz - Trading post, market.
- Urk - Orc or enemy.
- Uzkul - Bones; death; derogatory term for Undead.
- Valdahaz - Brewery.
- Vongal - Raiding band.
- Vorn - A farm.
- Wan - Signifies a question when used at the start of a phrase, can also be used directly before a word to form a question. (E.g. “Wan dawi?” - “Are you a dwarf?”)
- Wanaz - Disreputable Dwarf; unkempt beard.
- Wanaz’Dum - Derogatory term towards Dark Irons
- Wattock - Unsuccessful prospector; down-at-heel (insult).
- Wazzock - Foolish, gullible; someone who has exchanged valuables for something of little worth.
- Werit - State of confusion; a Dwarf who has forgotten where he put down his ale; memory loss due to age
- Wutroth - Wood from an old Mountain Oak tree.
- Wyr - White.
- Zak - Isolated hut in the mountains.
- Zaki - Crazed Dwarf who wanders the mountains; Dwarf hermit.
- Zan - Blood
- Zan’Elgi - Blood Elf
- Zharr - Fire.
- Zhuf - Torrent of water, waterfall, rapid river.
- Zorn - Upland meadow, plateau.
- Zon - The Sun.
- Zul - Iron
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1. Nothing evens a race like an axe to the kneecaps.
2. The air must be thin up there. - (An insult used against those of the taller folk.)
3. Beardling - A young Dwarf who has yet to prove his salt, typically under 50 years of age with a short beard. Usually a condescending term used by older dwarves to youth.
4. Never turn down an ale. Who knows if it may be your last.
5. "Ten seconds more…(and I will smash ye into nothingness!)." - A popular quote attributed to a legendary dwarven warrior. Now used euphemistically, “ten seconds more” implying, "I’m losing my patience, and you are about to feel my wrath." It's a good tip to back off if you ever hear a dwarf say this to you.
6. Leave iron to rest before you hammer it. - (Have patience.)
7. Guard your beard. Guard your gold. Guard your life. In that order.
8. Manling - Dwarf term for human
9. “A hundred able dwarves…” - As in, give me a hundred able dwarves, and I could conquer Orgrimmar. Or give me a hundred able dwarves, and I would build a city upon this mound in a fortnight! And so on. Used to denote the solid reliability and can-do attitude of each and every dwarf.
10. “We still hone the axe" - The full expression being, “We still hone the axe which slew your kin. Tis’ still sharp and ever-ready.” A warning the dwarves will use denote a second or third attack on the Orcs/members of the Horde who didn’t learn their lessons the first time the Dwarves attacked.
11. Schist! - (a poor, flaky mineral—the equivalent of saying S**t!)
12. The Humans have a saying: "The nail that sticks out gets hammered." We have a saying too! "Shoddy work! Not a single nail should be sticking out."
13. I swear by my forge. (obviously a serious oath)
14. Deep(s) - term used to refer to the multiple levels of a dwarven city. (Example: the part of Ironforge we see in game is five deep. The city has actually has eight.)
15. Nothing a hammer can’t solve.
16. It is easy to fool a trogg, but it's even easier to kill one. - (Don’t bother with complex solutions when simple ones will do.)
17. The best place to hide something precious is in your beard. - (Because no one will think to look in the obvious place.)
18. Long’uns. (Long ones) - refers to the taller and skinnier races, primarily humans and elves.
19. The stones will sing if you let them. - (Be quiet and listen.)
20. Marriage is like an anvil. It is always there. It is solid. It is quiet. Like a husband. - (Dwarven matrons have been overheard telling this to their daughters.)
21. Drinking contests with humans are unbearable. They drink. They collapse. And we have to drag them back to their homes. The next day, they never remember losing.
22. "Hi ho hi, it's off to war we go..." - Dwarf marching chant (many variations, some include drinking instead of war)
23. The first prisoners always killed are the cowards and only then, the traitors. - (Being cowardly is very, very bad.)
24. There are only two sure things in this world: The strength of dwarven steel and the glitter of gold.
25. Never answer a question when you’re dreaming. - (implying superstitious fear/distrust of witchcraft/magic; mainly used by more older traditional bronzebeards)
"Forge a new hammer." - "Turn over a new leaf."
"Thought his beard was thicker than everyone else's." - An arrogant person.
"Rock dust in their blood." - Someone who is dwarf-like.
"A noble death treasure that no one is too poor to buy."
"I wish you hot forges." - Wishing someone good fortune.
"Rust and tarnish/Rust and corrode." - Damn/curse.
"You can't turn iron (or other metal) into ore." - Don't cry over spilt milk.
"Set down in three runes, with two just for emphasis." - Something very simple.
"Better a rock in the head than a knife in the back." - It is better to have dumb, loyal companions than clever, disloyal ones.
"Give me a hundred able dwarves..." - The implication is that with a mere hundred able-bodied dwarves you can do anything.
"Guard your beard." - Be careful. Generally said around shady areas.
"I swear by my hammer..." - A common oath.
"I swear by my beard..." - A common, but serious oath.
"I swear by the forge..." - A serious oath.
"I swear by my clan..." - THE most serious oath.
"You can kill a dwarf, but you can't beat a dwarf." - A testament to the dwarves' unconquered spirits.
"Hidden in your beard." - "Hidden in plain sight."
"Better to mine an empty shaft than do X." - An expression meaning that the other thing, X, is worse than a waste of time.
"The stone never forgets, and neither do we." - Dwarves never forget a favor or a slight.
"Mind your head." - Often said to other races, but also said to dwarves when they are not acting properly dwarf-like.
"You cannot earn your beard." - Some things come only in time.
"You can't buy honor." - Honor is more important than gold.
"You can't buy clan." - Kin are more important than gold.
"A dwarf is a dwarf only while he keeps his word." - Never lie.
"Gold in the ground is yet rock." - "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
"Got the shale." - "Got the short end of the stick."
"Better to die chained to the block than chained to the forge." - Similar to "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees," but specifically saying that if you're captured, it's better to cause problems until they execute you than help them in any way.
"Hard as stone and twice as stubborn."
"Keep yer feet on the ground." - Stay practical, and don't get distracted by wild ideas.
"Ye can always tell a dwarf, but ye cannae tell him much."
"Havas" - Heart
"May yer inner furnace burn bright." - A farewell.
May the wind stay under ye wings. - A farewell.
"Yer a blessin' from below." - A compliment.
"By the embers of Ragnaros!" - Dark Iron expression of surprise.
"What in the smelting pit?" - Expression of surprise.
"A dwarf's life belongs as much to the clan as to the dwarf." - A common expression that emphasizes the importance of the clan to Dwarves.
"Let no one say he/she/(name) did not fight until the last." - A traditional farewell to Dwarf warriors who fell in battle.
"Skim the dross." - "Cut the crap."
"Lying is the first step down the path of thievery."
"It's better to be deceived than to deceive."
"A bad workman blames his tools."
"Traveler, your travels are through. The halls of our ancestors open their gates to you. Titans, take (name or "this one") home."
"Spirit of the Mountain give me strength."
"You burn the dross from me, so only the iron remains." - You perfect/complete me. Usually said to a lover or a very close friend.
"Lo, there do I see my father. Lo, there do I see my mother and my sisters and my brothers. Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the Earthen. Lo, they do call to me. They bid me take my place among them in the halls of the Titans, where the brave may live forever." - Said before a battle, often a battle of almost certain death.
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Guide by: Thoren Stonehammer - Wyrmrest Accord
The World of Warcraft dwarf language guide/primer was made with the official translations from Blizzard with all the rest being filled in with Khuzdul and Khazalid words (the Tolkien and Warhammer dwarf languages). All of these are in no way official, but we as RPer’s have to fill in the blanks. And many of the dwarf names and language are heavily based off of these two other dwarf languages, so they are our best bet. I did not create all the sayings and translations (only some), I merely compiled everything in an easy to use guide.
wowpedia- dwarf (language)
Games Workshop (Khazalid) grudgelore
LOTR wiki - Khuzdul
Dwarf quotes -Lexicanum