Ways of Darkness
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Dwarven language

From Ways of Darkness
Language: English
Dwarven
RegionNorthern Etrand
EthnicityDwarves and Gnomes
Native speakers
roughly 330,900 native speakers, a few thousands of second-language speakers
Norlokian
  • Dwarven
Dwarven script
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Dwarven is a language or language family of mutually intelligible languages natively spoken in Northern Etrand, as well as by Dwarven and Gnomish diasporas outside of their native homelands. The Dwarven language itself is a continuum, where the lower end is the various dialects that are divergent from each other but still largerly mutually intelligible; the higher end is a highly conservative form known as Temple Dwarven (effectively Old Dwarven with modernized pronounciation); and the middle is the Dwarven Koiné, a koiné based off the most influential dialects, with some preserved archaicisms (but not as nearly as much as in Temple Dwarven) as well as external influences, mainly from Etrandish and High Elven.

Phonology

Variants

The Dwarven language exists on a continuum, that can be divided into roughly three parts (Dwarven Dialects, Dwarven Koiné, Temple Dwarven), although, being a contiuum, transitions exists. The closest equivalent to a "Standard Dwarven language" would be a point on the continuum halfway between Dwarven Koiné and Temple Dwarven - which is precisely the language being used in official documents.

Dialects

See also: Dwarven dialects

Almost each and every clan has its own unique dialect, however, all of these are, for the most part, mutually intelligible with each other. Nevertheless, differences exists, and the various dialects can be vaguely grouped together based on shared features and geographical proximity.

There are plenty of features all dialects share, both phonological and grammatical, that set them apart from Classical Dwarven.

Koiné

See also: Dwarven Koiné

Dwarven Koiné is the colloquial koiné of the Dwarven people, arisen from a mixture of the most influential dialects without displacing any of them. It is used by all Dwarves when communicating with other Dwarves who are from a different clan, therefore speaking a different dialect natively. In addition to that, Dwarven Koiné - in sharp contrast with the purest forms of Temple Dwarven - is also enriched by loanwords from the various foreign languages the Dwarves have come into contact with, most prominently Etrandish and High Elven (largerly indirectly and by Etrandish proxy) - after all, being under Etrandish suzerainty makes the absorbtion of Etrandish loanwords inevitable.

Unlike Temple Dwarven, Dwarven Koiné has for the most part cast off the archaicisms (but not completely) of Old Dwarven, favouring a more modernized grammar that is shared between the majority of dialects.

Temple Dwarven

Temple Dwarven is a highly conservative variant of the Dwarven language, which in its purest form is very close to being essentially Old Dwarven with modernized pronounciation. It is full of archaicisms, and largerly kept pure from loanwords. The purest and most classical forms of Temple Dwarven are largerly only used in religious writings, religious rituals, conservative poetry and music, serving as the liturgical language of the Dwarven religion. A somewhat less pure version of Temple Dwarven - one that tolerates loanwords for modern concepts, often teethering on being halfway between Temple Dwarven and Koiné - is used in official documents, as well as a "posh language" by the upper strata of Dwarven society.