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Key Points

  • Dragon runes are written left to right, top to bottom.
  • Write the letter combinations that appear first: kiir is written as k + ii + r.
  • Apostrophes are written as 5 (uu).
  • Use line breaks or conjunctions to indicate where phrases begin or end.

About Reading & Writing

Up to this point, the dragon language has been presented in the familiar Roman alphabet. We will now begin to study the language in its native alphabet. Extensive use of the alphabet is featured only in this lesson and some of the more advanced exercises, so mastering reading isn't required if you wish to continue past this section. For many it is one of the harder parts of learning the dragon language, but with enough practice it will become second-nature.

Reading Dragon Runes

As English, the dragon language's alphabet reads from left to right, and top to bottom. Its words are separated by spaces.

You have probably seen the phrase that says "it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae." It illustrates that we usually don't read letter-by-letter, but interpret words as individual symbols. Because the dragon language uses a vastly different alphabet, it's going to take some practice to become fully literate.

Each letter is made up of several slashes, dots, and hooks, and some of them are very much alike! Below is a table of letters that can easily be mistaken for one another:

Dragon Romanization
D R D, R
B E B, E
I S Z I, S, Z
2 V ei, V
A Q G 9 A, Q, G, ey
U F M 5 U, F, M, uu

Find a way that works for you to memorize the differences between these letters. For example, "D is dotted, R is sharp", "E is an eye", "ei is high", "if one U makes a left then two U's make a right", or "W opens west and X opens east." With enough practice they will come naturally.

Without further ado, let's dive into some examples:






In the space provided, write out what the above says in the Roman alphabet. See answer

Het nok Lydia
lot spaan vahdin wah
Dovahkiin ahrk
zok lot do ok

Here's another one for practice:






Like before, write out the above in the Roman alphabet. See answer

vahrukiv Ysmir
saviik do jul wo
alok meyz rah

Challenging? It will be at first. As we go on, the alphabet will hopefully become more familiar. One of the best ways to learn the alphabet is through writing it.

Reading Test

Need more reading practice? Type out the words below as quickly as you can read them. When you correctly type a word, a new word will appear. Use this to learn to recognize some of the language's most common words.

Writing Dragon Runes

We've learned already that dragon runes are written much like English; left to right, and top to bottom. However, there are some key differences. There are no upper and lower case letters to deal with, and there are no punctuation marks such as commas, periods, or question marks. Line breaks and conjunctions like ahrk "and" or ruz "then" can be used to indicate where phrases begin and end.

The letters themselves are straightforward, but there are some rules to follow, especially pertaining to the special runes such as aa, ei, ii, etc.

Writing Overlapping Runes

Some runes may be written as multiple letters in English, such as the runes for ii and ir. What if we have a word such as kiir "child"? Should it be spelled as K3R, KI7, or K37? The correct way to spell it is to use the sound that comes first. In kiir, ii comes before ir, so kiir is spelled as k + ii + r, or K3R. Another example is the word miiraad, which is spelled m + ii + r + aa + d, or M3R1D.

Writing Apostrophes

We've already talked about apostrophes in the Alphabet & Pronunciation lesson but it helps to repeat especially now that we're writing in the alphabet. Apostrophes are always featured between two u's. Examples include thu'um, zu'u, and du'ul. There is no apostrophe mark in dragon writing. Instead, u'u is spelled with the rune 5 (uu). Thu'um is written as t + h + uu + m (TH5M), and zu'u is written as z + uu (Z5).

Handwriting the Alphabet

It's time to grab pen and paper! At first, handwriting the runes will be awkward and clumsy. Years of writing in your native alphabet have allowed you to write words quickly and in as few strokes as possible. With practice, the dragon runes will become just as easy. It will seem overwhelming with the mindset of reproducing each slash and niche as accurately as you can. For common writing, the best way to approach the runes is to simplify them. Try and write each letter in no more than 5 or 6 strokes.

For practice, write down every letter of the alphabet. Then try your hand at writing the reading examples shown above.

It can be tempting to draw the letters large. Try drawing them smaller with less of a concern about detail, and see which way is easiest for you.


1. Write the following in the Roman alphabet:

HET NOK g2rmund borm4 do pog1n kulle

See answer

Het nok Geirmund bormah do pogaan kulle

2. Write the following in the Roman alphabet:

Hin Th5m los mul d3 hokoron

See answer

Hin Thu'um los mul dii hokoron

3. Write the following in the dragon alphabet: Qethsegol vahrukiv faal Dovahkiin voth sossedovah.

See answer

Qethsegol v4rukiv f1l Dov4k3n voth sossedov4

4. When you come across a Word Wall in Skyrim, take a moment to write it down on paper. Then, just as you've done in this lesson, romanize the spelling. If you're up for the extra challenge, translate it into English!

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