Dwarven Pidgin

as taken from Dragon Magazine #278 "A Dwarven Lexicon" by Sean K. Reynolds

Compiler's Note: As a service to D&D players, Dragon Magazine fans, conlangers and fantasy role-playing gamers everywhere, I have codified and reduced the article that introduced this language into the basics. This is not my original work, but a presentation of just the bare essentials and mechanics of this fantasy language.

Alphabet and Punctuation

Mr. Reynolds theorized that the Dwarven alphabet was influenced by the fact that the Dwarves had learned to work stone and metal early in their history. He supposed that meant that there were mainly straight lines and very few curved lines in the Dwarven alphabet, mainly representing sounds that were borrowed from other languges and hard for the Dwarves to pronounce.
Sentences are separated by a pair of diagonal slashes (//).
Pauses, represented in English by commas, are represented by a pair of horizontal lines (=).
Proper nouns are identified by a horizontal line below the first character of the word.
Questions are indicated by an X, which represents a "choice of paths".
A sentence with strong emphasis, represented in English by an exclamation point, is followed by a circle (°), expressing the importance of the sentence in the difficulty of carving a circle in stone.

Basic Grammar

Dwarven is a language of low vowels and hard consonants that usually sounds like a drone when spoken.
Mr. Reynolds suggested that the Dwarves laid great importance on proper names, which translates to how they use nouns. Dwarven nouns are usually listed first, followed by a string of adjectives. Often smaller words are combined into larger ones, even if one of the words is a name. Sometimes, words that would be excessively long or confusing are broken into smaller, compound words.
For example:
"Gimli, brave in war, loyal friend, with the adamantine greataxe Hurkuk"
gimlikurnzarnnarmervar = nos hurkukfarnyrgumdek
Broken down for the hard of hearing, very young, or outsiders:
gimli kurnzarnnar mervar nos hurkuk farnyrgumdek

The subject of a sentence in formal speech and writing is followed by the word "a", which exists only to point out the subject and has no true translation. "A" is usually pronounced "ah" as in "father". Though, there are dialects where it is pronounced "a" as in "map". Informal speech and writing, particularly with non-Dwarves, often omit the "a". Also, when the subject is omitted, so is the "a". When written, the "a" is always separated from the words forming the subject.
When secondary words are attached to a word, they are added after the word in any order that is significant to the writer or speaker.

Other notes:

Mr. Reynolds wrote in his article that Dwarves traditionally wrote on diamond-shaped tiles of flat stone or metal, with writing starting at a corner and spiraling inwards, often with a picture or "rune" at the center identifying the intended recipient.
An odd omission in the Dwarven language is a word for "or". Instead of using "or", they will repeat the similar elements in the two options. For a Dwarf to ask "Do you want to attack the goblins or the dragon?" he would say instead, "Do you want to attack the goblins, attack the dragon?"

Sample phrases:

The elf says the magic sword we want is in the lich's tomb.
olvrem a marnarnnus lar horlem magmornder mornludrukar

A red dragon! Scram!
durgarnbar a° // valergos°

Gimli, hit the orc with your axe!
gimli a = gedork nosnyr°

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Word List:

Dwarven Common Part of Speech
abat behind prep
aglot yet prep
alf air n-element
ang silver n-wealth
angdor mithral adj
argul chest n
aun water n-food
aur gold n-wealth
auraun ale n-food
aurdrukar inn n-place
azan night adj
bak you adj
bar red adj-color
bel above prep
braut demon n-creature
darsam celestial n-creature
deg mustard/spice n-food
dek strong adj
der evil adj
dews on prep
dog near adj
dogos beside prep
dor iron adj
dormark anvil n
dornar king adj
drukafaren city n-place
drukar home n-place
dug smart adj
dur shield n-weapon
durgarn dragon n-creature
dwar dwarf n-creature
dwarkar clan adj
ews hammer n-weapon
far big adj
farl rope n
farrenglos year n-time
flos scroll n
frul leather adj
frulbraut horse n-creature
frus animal n-creature
ged battle n
gelm peace n
gend danger n
glos day n-time
glot after prep
gnur gnome n-creature
gos go v
gost meat n-food
gren poison adj
grim beard n
grum steel adj
grumdek adamantine adj
gul good adj
gullend luck n
gulm heal v
gund caller/call adj
gurn green adj-color
gurnvos tree n
gurnvosen forest n-place
heng halfling n-creature
her to prep
hergos travel v
hermot through prep
horlem take v
horm cleric adj
hren rain n
hrot few n-number
hrun one n-number
hrunnar name n
hurm human n-creature
hurmfar giant n-creature
jor many n-number
kagel for prep
kaglem give v
kanazan darkvision n
kar far adj
karakan scout n
karglos tomorrow n-time
kel below prep
khun glitter/bright adj
klar bread n-food
klos food n-food
kos ugly adj
kurm bag n
kurn enemy adj
kurnzarn war n
kurs in prep
lar we adj
lu earth n-element
mag black adj-color
magmornder undead n-creature
mal true adj
mar mountain n-place
marn stop v
marnak rune n
marnarn magic n
marrur clothing n
mer friend adj
mord under prep
morn die v
mornludrukar tomb n-place
mos no adj
mosk but conj
mulg stupid adj
murg yes adv
nae stone n
naeborn cave n-place
nar bravery adj
ney white adj-color
nos with adj
nur gem n-wealth
nus sword n-weapon
nyr axe n-weapon
og armor n
olv elf n-creature
ork orc n-creature
rem speak v
remarn song n
ros weapon n-weapon
rosh spear n-weapon
tang bow n-weapon
tanthanus arrow n-weapon
tel fire n-element
telormar forge n
than small adj
thanamorn rest v
thannergos dance n
then beautiful adj
thos thief adj
thost greed adj
toglot before prep
tor soul n
torfarn deity n-creature
valdar cowardice adj
valergos flee v
valkag bribe v
var loyal adj
vas so prep
vel and conj
velmos nor prep
vol blue adj-color
vos wood n
yar yellow adj-color

 

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