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This page may be a Stub or not include some information. For a full article on the topic with citations, please see Languages at Greyhawkonline.com.

Human Languages

Baklunish

Ancient Baklunish is one of the ancestors of Common, though little resemblance remains between the two in the present day. It is used for formal and commercial dealings [1](p.13). It is the language of all official and religious documents west of the Yatil Mountains and typically used for literary works instead of Low Baklunish[2](p.12).

  • Low Baklunish is descended from Ancient Baklunish but much has changed by time. Low Baklunish encompasses the contemporary, colloquial Baklunish dialects[2](p.12). The people of Paynim speak a modern variation[3](p.16) and variations are also spoken in Ekbir, Ket, Tusmit, Ull (Ulagha)[2], Zeif (Osfaradd, named after the clan of the Sultan Ozef)[4](p.10), and the Tiger and Wolf Nomads (Ordai, which is similar to the Paynim dialect[2]) [3](p.31).

Examples:

  • Tufak- a soft, white stone made from volcanic ash[1](p.66). Likely Tuff.

Common

Common is a hybrid language, a combination of the dialect of Old Oeridian spoken in the Great Kingdom and Ancient Baklunish. It is the trade tongue of the Flanaess.[3](p.16). It borrows on Baklunish syntax and grammer and Oeridian elements. The most common dialect of Common is the Overking's Common Tongue, standardised by the spread of the Aerdi Kingdom[2](p.12).

  • Nyrondese: A dialect of common with High Oeridian influences. Spoken mostly by the peasants and trade folk around Nyrond.[3] (p.16). This is believed to be used due to mistrust of non-Nyrondese[1](p.14).
  • Cants, argot and jargon such as the Thieves', Beggar's and Assassin's cants and Guild jargons of Greyhawk are based on common[5].

Flan

Flan is probably the oldest language spoken to any notable extent, although dialects vary considerably through the Flanaess and have mutated with time. A stagnant language, it is difficult to translate modern concepts (such as magic) into Flan. The people of Tenh speak a more modern version[3](p.16)[1](p.13) Variations are also spoken in Geoff and by the Rovers of the Barrens [3](p.31).

  • Druidic: a secret language spoken by Gnarley Rangers and Druids across the Flanaess, Druidic has enough similarities to Flan that it's possible it evolved from it, although it is clearly a distinct and not comprehensible to Flan speakers[5](p.74). It's a static language that doesn't evolve with use, being primarily used for religious and secret purposes to refer to matters of the natural world[2](p.12).

Examples:

  • Dwur - Dwarf
  • 'Dwur-Rohoi' -' Twisted Dwarf' (Flan term for Derro, that corrupted in 'dwurroh' then derro)[6](p.40)
  • Heuroz- Orc
  • Hobniz- Halfling
  • Olve- Elf
  • Noniz- Gnome
  • Vocca- Language/Tongue

Oeridian

Old Oeridian was completely free of outside influences[3] until the Great Migrations[1]. Its grammar is thus unique and it is almost impossible to translate it into any language other than Common[3](p.16). Many of the books, records, and holy texts of the Aerdi were written in Old Oeridian. 'Oeridian' is spoken in the Great Kingdom and Ratik[3](p.31). Old Oeridian is the primary language of written literature in the Flanaess as a form of academic elitism and job security, restricting literacy to those who speak it[1](p.13). However it was apparently beginning to die out as a spoken language by 583 CY[5](p.73).

  • Ferral: A secret tribal oeridian language, used by the officials of The Iron League, purely for command and identification purposes and was more a set of code words than a true surviving dialect[3](p.16) . After the fall of Iron League, this dialect is now found mostly in documents saved from the fall [1](p.14) and the surviving officials[7](p.15). A 'magic-laced' version is being created in an attempted to protect the language from the Scarlet Brotherhood[2].
  • Velondi: A tribal language spoken by rural people along the Furyondy-Veluna border[3](p.16), more so in Veluna[3](p.31). No written form.
  • Keolandish: Spoken around Keoland, Gran March and the Yeomanry[3](p.31), it's a dialect that is based on Old High Oeridian, with local variants.[3](p.16)

Examples:

'Aerdi' may be old Oeridian for 'Sky People', as it is said to mean in the 'old tongue' of Ahlissa.[2](p.23)


Olman

A Hepmonland Language.Perhaps also known as Olmec[8]. Olman is spoken by the Olman people of the Amedio Jungles and those Olman who were enslaved by the Sea Princes. It has a complex pictograph script[2](p.12) that is said to be influenced by and similar enough to Supernal that a speaker of Supernal could attempt to understand Olman Heiroglyphs and speech[9](p.2). True Olman is an old language of up to 1500 years but rarely spoken nowadays, with it's dialect/child languages being more popular.[10](p.38)

  • Etlani- A mix of Olman and Touv, written phonetically like Touv but sharing more spoken similarities to Olman, it can be understood by a speaker of either parent language half of the time. Spoken in Cuheutla, alongside Touv, due to the Kundlandi occupation.[10](p.38)
  • Tlaman (See non-human languages below, Spoken by Yuan-ti)
  • Xolasa- Spoken by tribes of Xolapeqa. Mostly Olman with some Rasol (See Suloise) influences, it sounds similar but incomprehensible to Suloise speakers, and some words are barely understandable to a Rasol speaker.[10](p.38)

Examples:

  • Etli: Powerful [10](p.65)

Ralat

A Hepmonaland Language. Ralat is a basic Trade Tongue based on Touv, Olman and Rasol. Unlike Common, the trade tongue in the Flanaess, Ralat is only used if the speakers share no other language.[10](p.38)


Rhopan

Also known as the 'Rhenee Cant', Rhopan[5] is the secret tongue of the Rhennee. Descended from some non-Oerthly tongue, it has incorporated terms from the criminal argot of many peoples, mostly from Oeridian and Common. While called a cant, it is a true language[7](p.15).

(Note: First mentioned in WoG (Boxed Set)[3](p.47), but not expanded upon.)


Suloise

Suloise is an ancient and widespread language that became almost extinct after the destruction of the Suel Imperium. It is rarely used in modern time aside from the Scarlet Brotherhood[1](p.13), a few isolated scholars,[3](p.16) and lawyers in Greyhawk[7](p.15). It is reported to be dangerous to use in spellcasting, as many inflections and spoken use of the language have been lost[2](p.12), although knowing Ancient Suloise is needed to become a Suel Arcanamach[11](p.63)

  • Amedi is a corrupt form of Ancient Suloise spoken in the Amedio Jungle.[2](p.12)
  • The Cold Tongue: Also known as Fruz, is a strong dialect based on Suloise with Flan influence, spoken by the Snow, Ice and Frost Barbarian. It is unrelated to common and difficult to understand even to speakers of Suloise.[3](p.16)
    • Examples: Rhizia (The name of the Thillonrian peninsular), Fruztii (The name of the frost barbarians), Schnaii (The name of the Snow Barbarians), Cruskii (The name of the Ice Barbarians)[1].
    • The extra 'i' at the end of Cruskii and Schnaii is dropped by 590 CY/3e D&D [2]
    • Fruz may be based on Germanic languages. Compare the Proto-Germanic Snaiwaz (Snow) and Frustaz (Frost). However Ice is īsą in Proto-Germanic and similarly pronounced and written in other germanic languages and is closer to the etymological roots of 'Crust' which are more Ancient Greek based. This may be combined with Slavic languages, such as the '-ski' suffix added to animate nouns to form adjectives.
  • Derrosh (See non-human languages below, spoken by Derro)
  • Lendorian: An obscure dialect based on suloise, it's mostly used as a secondary language to Common in the Lendore Isles.[3](p.16). Comprehensible to both Suloise and Common speakers, it's mainly used by sea farers and has many terms relating to meteorology[1](p.14). It's nearly extinct especially after the human exodus from Lendore in 583 CY[7](p.16).
  • Leraran Suloise: a corrupt form of ancient Suloise, influenced by Drowic Elven. It can be understood half of the time by speakers of Suloise, but is incomprehensible to speakers of modern Suloise dialects/languages, such as Fruz, Lendorian, Amedi and so on[6](p.46).
  • Rasol: Derived from ancient Suloise, it has a basic writing system based on ancient Suloise runes, and is sometimes comprehensible to a speaker of Ancient Suloise. After long use in the Hepmonland Jungles, it now uses mostly basic Suloise terms with words loaned heavily from Olman. It is spoken in Zar, Lerga, Sharba, Sharbakal[10](p.38)

Examples:

  • A-/al-: Preffix denoting female (TSB, p.95)
  • Ko / Ako: Man / Woman (TSB, p.95)
  • Sahey/ Asahey: Brother/Sister (TSB, p.95)
  • Thurg: Little/small (TSB, p.95)
  • Maz: Mine(TSB, p.95)
  • Mazar: Miner (TSB, p.95)
  • Thurgamazar: 'Little Miners' (The name originally used for Derro)[6](p.40)
  • Murma / Se-Murma: Mother/ Our Mother (the latter is also used by the Lerara to refer to their 'deity', 'The Mother'.[6](p.45)
  • Sahar: Father (TSB, p.95)
  • Karuth: Ruby Skull (TSB, p.95)- see Wee Jas

Note: TSB, The Scarlet Brotherhood[10], has an extended lexicon. This is just a selection to give an idea of the language.


Touv

A Hepmonaland Language. Touv is a 'polyglot' tongue based on many tribal languages, meaning it has many homonyms and is easy to learn if difficult to master.It's spoken in all former Kundali nations and is a strong influences on other neighbouring languages[10](p.38).


Ur-Flan*

Ur-Flan was an ancient language used by the Ur-Flannae people thousands of years ago in the Flanaess. It died along with the Ur-Flan empire and is never spoken aside from by a tiny number of scholars. Some fragmentary writings survive. Unsurprisingly, Flan is closely related. (Needs Citation)


Demihuman/Non-Human Races Languages

Demihuman languages apparently share common enough roots and are supported by divine means that while the dialects vary across the Flanaess, any speaker of the same racial tongue could understand each other no matter how far they travel. Outside of communication between two members of the same race, these languages see use in official documents from places such as Greyhawk, that send letters in the appropriate racial language as well as common[5](p.73).

Beastfolk

Beastfolk speak their own language[12], which is a complex language using spoken word, gestures, body language and using the beastfolk's inherent ability to change the patterning of their fur[13]. This language is based on Sylvan and can be understood by sylvan speakers [4](p.24)

Elven/Elvish

High, Grey speak Elvish along with many other tongues[14] (p.39). Aquatic elves speak only Elvish[14](p.39), which may be a different dialect as Tritons only know elven as spoken by sea elves [14](p.96)[15]. Wood elves [14] (p.40) and wild elves[16](p.63) speak some woodland tongues and Elvish, this may be a different dialect to other sylvan as Satyrs speak an elven only understandable by wood elves [14] (p.85) called Sylvan Elvish [17]. Drow speak their own language [18] (p.34), called Drowic which uses it's own runes[19](p.7) and is described as a strange version of elven[15]. Elven uses a script called Rellanic[20](p.19).

After 583 CY, the elves of the Lendore/Spindrift isles speak Lendorian Elvish, a language divinely given to elves who linger on the isles[1](p.30).

Elven post 583 CY is rarely heard outside of elven settlements, as many elves have withdrawn and communication with outsiders is rarer[5](p.73).

Derrosh

Derro speak their own language[15](p.42), based on ancient Suloise and Dwarven roots.[6](p. 42)

Dwarven

Dwarven is guarded carefully and not easily shared with nondwarves [12](p.124). Dwarven uses a script called Davek[20](p.19).

Duergar speak a language [16](p.61) that is described as a dialect of dwarven (MM2e)(p.97).

Halflingish

Little seems to be known about the Halfling tongue in Greyhawk.

Gnomish

A variant of Gnomish is spoken by Deep Gnomes[21] (p.11), which is different enough that surface gnomes can only understand it a little over half the time[18](p.85).

Kech

Spoken by the Kech, it has loan words from Olman and Amedi (see Suloise).[10](p.64)

Orcish

Spoken by Orcs and Half-Orcs. Dialects may be separated by tribes.[14](p.76)

Examples: Nilon (Hot)[22](p.96)

Tlaman

Spoken by the yuan-ti in Hepmonaland, it's heavily based on the Human language Olman, mixed with serpentine languages. to the point an Olman speaker could understand most of what a Tlaman speaker is saying.[10](p.38)

Undercommon

The trade tongue of the subterranean races such as Duergar, Drow,[21](p.11) and Kuo-toans.[18](p.59). Also known as "Underworld Cant".[18](p.85)

-Silent Undercommon/Drow Sign Language

The Silent Language[18](p.34) or the Silent Tongue: A combination of complex hand signals, facial expression and body language that subterranean races use to silent communicate, but only fully mastered by the drow.[21](p.11) Duergar are known to use it.[23](p.97). It's implied the version that Drow use is their own.[15]

Examples of non-human languages:

'Tjalf' meaning 'Toil' in giant[2](p.49) (Unspecified which type, due to 3e D&D moving away from AD&D's more subdivided languages).


Publication History

Greyhawk Specific Languages

AD&D 1e had five main languages for the Flanaess: Suloise, Flan, Ancient Baklunish, Old Oeridian and Common, along with six dialects: Ferral, Nyrondese, The Cold Tongue, Keolandish, Velondi, Lendorian[3](p.11). AD&D 2 in 1992 introduced these categories as in universe lore with Revort Leyhar, a linguist and sage from the Grey College of the University of Greyhawk, having wrote a 44 volume work on the languages of the Flanaess (Exegesis of Linguistic Usage by the Flanaess peoples) declaring these five 'dialects' the most widely used enough to be considered languages. AD&D 2 also changed the nature of Old Oeridian from being an isolated language to an open one [1]( p.13). The Rhenee Cant was expanded in 1998.[7](p.15)[5](p.73)

Lendorian Elvish was introduced in AD&D 2e, 1992.[1]

The Olman language and Amedi, Ulagha and Ordai dialects were introduced in 3e D&D, 2000.[2]

AD&D Languages

AD&D 1e and 2e, of which Greyhawk was the default setting, had a great deal many languages. Animals might have a rudimentary language, categorised by region, type or specie, such as woodland, Burrowing, or corvid [16](p.105)[24]. Particularly intelligent or magical animals, such as giant lynxes, eagles, pegasi, perytons, or even dolphins, might have their own language. Most fey creatures had their own tongue, or spoke the tongue of their kin, such as Buckawns speaking Brownie.[14](p. 11)[24]

Alignment languages were used in AD&D Greyhawk, more so in AD&D 2e Greyhawk, due to growing unrest and unease.[1](p.20) These could be seen as semi-religious languages or cants only really known by those who grew up within a type of alignment, and thus could reveal someone's upbringing and culture.

In addition to those above, these are some of the languages used by prominent races and creatures in the Greyhawk setting during AD&D:

  • Aarakocra (FF,p.8), (MC2)
  • Aspis (MM2, p. 11)†
  • Beholder (MM,p. 10),(MC1)
  • Bugbear (MM, p. 12), (MC2)
  • Bullywug (FF, p.17)
  • Centaur (MM, p. 14), (MC1)
  • Draconian, by type (MM, p.30)
  • Draconian Common, by alignment (MC5)
  • Ettin (DMG, p.102)†
  • Gargoyle (DMG, p.102), (MC2)
  • Giant,by type (MM, p.44)
  • Genie, by type (MM2, p.32), (MC1)
  • Gnoll (MM, p.46), (MC1)
  • Goblin (MM, p.47),(MC1)
  • Grippli (MC5)
  • Grung (GA, p.28)
  • Hobgoblin (MM, p.53), MC1)
  • -Koalinth(MC1)
  • -Norker (MC5)
  • Hook Horror (FF, MC5)
  • Ixitxachitl (MM, p.84)
  • Jermlaine (FF, p.54)
  • Kobold (MM, p.57), (MC1)
  • Kuo-toan (FF, p.59), (MC2)
  • Lammasu (MM, p. 59), (MC2)
  • Lizard man (MM, p. 62), (MC1)
  • Locathah (MM, p.70), (MC2)
  • Lycanthrope, by type (MM, p.63), (MC1)
  • Medusain (MM, p.66), (MC1)
  • Merman (MM, p.70), (MC2)
  • Mindflayer (MM, p.70)†
  • Minotaur (MM, p.71), (MC1)
  • Naga, by type (DMG, p.102)
  • Ogre (MM, p.75), (MC1)
  • -Ogre, Aquatic (MM2, p.96), (MC1)
  • Ogre, Japanese/magi (MM, p.76)
  • Sahaugin (MM, p.84), (MC2)
  • Shedu (MM, p. 87)
  • Sphinx, by type (MM, p. 90), (MC2)
  • Tabaxi (FF, p.86)
  • Taer (MC5)
  • Tasloi (MM2, p.118), (MC2)
  • Titan (MM, p. 95)
  • Triton (MM, p.96), (MC2)
  • Troglodyte (MC2)
  • Troll (MM, p.46)†
  • Umber hulk (MM, p.98), (MC1)
  • Wolf, Mist (GA,p.33), (MC5)
  • Yuan-ti (MM2, p. 130), (MC1)


Legend:

  • MM: AD&D Monster Manual[14]
  • MM2: AD&D Monster Manual II[16]
  • GA: Greyhawk Adventures[12]
  • FF, Fiend Folio[18]
  • MC1: Monstrous Compendium, Volume 1[17]
  • MC5: Greyhawk Monstrous Compendium Appendix[24]

Page numbers are given where the language is mentioned, and where possible, as the same page as the creature it is named for. Monstrous Compendiums lack page numbers but are ordered alphabetically.

Languages in bold are confirmed to be used in AD&D 1e and 2e. Those in italics are only confirmed in 2e. Those with a '†' next to them are confirmed to be 1e only and changed later. Those with '-' before them are dialects of the language before them in the list.

D&D 3rd-5th Edition Languages

More information on each editions languages can be found here: 3rd, 4th, 5th.

The important difference these editions is that alignment languages have been removed. The fey of Greyhawk now all share Sylvan as their language, rather than having individual languages. Goblinoid is now the shared tongue of most goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls and so on. Draconic and Giant is not separated by type and is spoken by other creatures. In general the non-humans of Greyhawk in 3rd edition onwards have a reduced amount of languages to speak and many who spoke their own language now speak a dialect or version of a more common language, such as Beastfolk going from their own tongue to a version of Sylvan.


See Also

  • Canonfire's ghwiki's article on Languages which was transferred and updated on GreyhawkOnline's wiki
  • Cynidicean is spoken in the lost, underground city of Cynidicea[25](p.18). (Note: While Cynidiceans are mentioned in 'Return to the Keep on the Borderlands' a module optionally taking place in the Greyhawk Setting and based on the original B2-Keep on the Borderlands, typically accepted in the Greyhawk setting, the 'B' series Cynidicea comes from is typically set in The Known World or Mystara setting. As such, it is an optional existing language in Greyhawk.)

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Greyhawk Adventures: From the Ashes, Carl Sargent, 1992, 2e, ISBN 1-56076-341-8
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, Erik Mona, Sean K. Reynolds, Gary Holian, Frederick Weining, 2000, 3e
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 World of Greyhawk (Boxed Set), Gary Gygax, 1983, 1e
  4. 4.0 4.1 Living Greyhawk Journal V1 #05, Erik Mona,July 2001, 3.0
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins, Roger E. Moore, 1998, 2e, ISBN 0-7869-1249-9
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Dragon Magazine #241, "Legacy of the Suel Imperium", Roger Moore, November 1997, 2e
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Greyhawk Player's Guide, Anne Brown, 1998, 2e, ISBN 0-7869-1248-0
  8. Lost Tomaochan- The Hidden Shrine of Lubaatum, Harold Johnson & Jeff R. Leason, 1979, 1e
  9. Hidden Shrine of Tomaochan, Stephen Radney-Macfarland, Wizards of the Coast, 2011, 4e
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 10.9 The Scarlet Brotherhood, Sean Reynolds, 1999, 2e, ISBN 0-7869-1374-6
  11. Complete Arcane, Richard Baker, 2004, 3.5, ISBN 9788882881481
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Greyhawk Adventures, James M. Ward, 1988, 1e*
  13. Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Adventures Appendix, Grant Boucher, William W. Connors, Steve Gilbert, Bruce Nesmith, Chris Mortika, and Skip Williams 1990, 2e
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 Monster Manual, Gary Gygax, 1977, 1e
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Monstrous Compendium Volume 2, TSR, 1989, 2e
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Monster Manual II, Gary Gygax, 1983, 1e
  17. 17.0 17.1 Monstrous Compendium Volume 1, TSR, 1989, 2e
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 Fiend Folio, Editted: Don Turnbull, 1981, 1e
  19. D1- Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Gary Gygax, 1978, 1e ISBN 0-935696-05-9
  20. 20.0 20.1 Dungeon Magazine #200, Hall of the Fire Giant King, Christopher Perkins, 2012, 4e
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Unearthed Arcana, Gary Gygax, 1985, 1e
  22. Scourge of the Slave Lords, David Cook, Allen Hammack, Harold Johnson, Lawrence Schick, Ed Carmien, 1986, 1e, 394-55419-1TSR1500
  23. Monstrous Manual, 1993, 2e, ISBN 1-56076-619-0
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Adventures Appendix,TSR, 1990, 2e
  25. Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, John D. Rateliff, 1999, 2e, ISBN 0-7869-1327-4

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