Alphabet & Pronunciation
- The dragon language has a 34-rune alphabet with no upper or lower case.
- There are unique letters for aa, ah, ei, ey, ii, ir, oo, uu, and ur.
- Apostrophes can be pronounced as one syllable or two.
About the Alphabet
The Dovahzul alphabet consists of 34 runes, each made by three or more slashes and dots. The letters are based on the markings a dragon's claws might make in stone. Some letters have exact English equivalents while others are combinations of English letters (such as "aa", "ah", and "ii").
Below is a list of all 34 Dovahzul runes, their letter names, and their pronunciations with both the International Phonetic Alphabet and English examples. Special thanks to LucienLachance for the audio!
The letter names listed are non-canon inventions.
|A||A||az||/æ/||cat, black, bad, sometimes /ɑ/, or /ə/ in comma unstressed|
|4||AH||hah||/ɑ/||father, arm, may sometimes be pronounced with German ch /χ/, /ə/ in comma unstressed|
|E||E||en||/ɛ/, /ə/, /eɪ/||Normally /ɛ/ in net, enter. When at the end of a word, usually /eɪ/ in may, able. Sometimes also /ə/ in comma. When at the end of a word and followed by h as in geh, retains /ɛ/ pronunciation.|
|2||EI||hei||/aɪ/||why, hi, find|
|9||EY||ney||/eɪ/||hey, may, able|
|I||I||in||/i/||see, clean, rarely but sometimes /ɪ/ in win|
|3||II||kii||/i/||always see, clean|
|7||IR||hir||/ir/||hear, leer, irritate|
|J||J||jen||/dʒ/||just, agent, very rarely /j/ in some compound words|
|K||K||kei||/k/||keen, keep, rock|
|N||N||ni||/n/||no, end, kin|
|O||O||ot||/o/||Like foe and know, but not a diphthong. Pronounce without rounding the lips into /u/.|
|8||OO||thoor||/ɔ/||Typically lore, jaw, hawk, sometimes /u/ in moon|
|Q||Q||qo||/kw/||Articulated with the back of the tongue. Usually pronounced with a following /w/ as in quote.|
|R||R||rah||/r/||run, arise, usually tapped or rolled. Very close in pronunciation to /l/.|
|U||U||un||/u/||rule, fool, very rarely /ʌ/ in sun|
|5||UU||huul||/u/||rule, fool, see also use for apostrophes|
|X||X||nex||/ks/||axe, fox, relax, never /z/|
The dragon language does not have upper or lower case letters.
There is no dragon equivalent for the letter C. Instead, either S or K are used to produce the same sound. When transliterating a name that uses ch, the spelling tsh can be used instead.
Some words are transliterated in English with apostrophes, such as thu'um and su'um. The dragon language itself has no written apostrophe. Instead such words are spelled with the letter 5 (uu). There are many ways to pronounce an apostrophe. This section covers the more commonly seen ways.
As two syllables - In this pronunciation, the two u's are given separate sounds. The first u is a long /u/ as in too and the second u is a short /ʌ/ as in hum. With this pronunciation, thu'um would sound like thoo-um, and su'um would sound like soo-um. These two vowels flow into each other without a stop.
As two syllables with a glottal stop - This is a rarer pronunciation than the other two. It is like the first in that the u's make up two syllables, except both are long /u/ and they are separated by a glottal stop. With this pronunciation, thu'um would sound like thoo-oom, and su'um like soo-oom.
As one syllable - Mostly in casual conversation, words with apostrophes are pronounced with one long /u/ vowel. Here thu'um would sound like thoom, and su'um would sound like soom.
In most cases letters are pronounced on an individual basis. For example, the "ui" in Alduin is pronounced like "Al-doo-een" rather than something like "Al-dwin". Likewise the "ua" in fahluaan is pronounced "fah-loo-on" rather than "fahl-won". Some letters can combine to form new sounds. Below is a list of these combinations and their pronunciations:
|AE||AE||/eɪ/||hey, may, able, only seen in the word mahfaeraak|
|AU||AU||/aʊ/||how, crowd, brown|
|SH||SH||/ʃ/||she, wash, condition|
|TH||TH||/θ/||through, thin, pathway|
This tool will convert text to and from the Dovahzul alphabet. It will replace letter combinations such as "ah" and "ei" with their Dovahzul equivalents, and vice versa. This way you can write the language in the Roman alphabet and convert it into the Dovahzul alphabet here, or transcribe something from the Dovahzul alphabet to the Roman alphabet. Select the language you want the output text to be and paste text in or begin typing.
1. Rewrite the following English words in the dragon alphabet so that they keep the same pronunciation. For example, spear would be rewritten as spir:
- Mit or Miit
- Kul or Kuul
- Sis or Siis
2. Write out the pronunciations of the following dragon words or phrases as best you can. For example, based on dovahkiin you might write "doe-vah-keen".
- Drem yol lok
- Su'um ahrk morah
- Kendovve los mul
- Dovahhe bo ko lok
- "Drem yole loke"
- "Sue-um ark more-ah". You could also write out su'um as "soo-oom" or "soom".
- "Kend-doe-vey lows mool"
- "Doe-vah-hey boe koe lowk"
3. Try to write your name in dragon runes - once phonetically (keeping the pronunciation the same as you did in exercise #1) and once with all the letters the same. For the second one, write out how your original spelling would be pronounced as you did in exercise #2.
Example: The name "Kate" would be phonetically spelled as "Keyt". The original spelling "Kate" would be pronounced as "Kat-ey".