Orcish language

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Language: English
Native speakers
c. 160,140 speakers in total:
  • c. 86,140 native speakers (Orcs)
  • c. 74,000 second-language speakers (Goblins and Ogres) (833)
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Orcish is the language of the Orcs, spoken by the Orcish tribes, as well as the Goblin and Ogre populations of Brutang, although the latter two may also speak the Kobold language.

Evolution from Middle Orcish

  • The voicing distinction is replaced by an aspiration distinction, in other words...
    • The voiceless stops /p t t͡ʃ k kʷ q qʷ/ become aspirated [pʰ tʰ t͡ʃʰ kʰ kʷʰ qʰ qʷʰ] when followed by a vowel (they remain unaspirated if there is no vowel following them)
    • The voiced stops /b d d͡ʒ g gʷ ɢ ɢʷ/ lose their voicing word-initially and word-finally, becoming [p t t͡ʃ k kʷ q qʷ]. They remain voiced word-medially.
    • The voicing distinction is preserved for fricatives.
  • The high vowels /i iː u uː/ develop the allophones [ɛ eː ɔ oː] after the uvular sounds /qʰ qʷʰ q qʷ ʀ/.
  • The short high vowels /i u/ lax to [ɪ ʊ]
  • The diphthongs /æi̯ ɒu̯/ monophthongize to [ɛː ɔː]. The diphthongs /æu̯ ɒi̯/ shift to [au̯ ai̯].



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular
Nasal m n, ⁿd (ɲ) (ŋ) (ɴ)
Stop Aspirated t͡ʃʰ kʰ kʷʰ qʰ qʷʰ
Unaspirated p~b t~d t͡ʃ~d͡ʒ k~g kʷ~gʷ q~ɢ qʷ~ɢʷ
Fricative Voiceless s ʃ (χ)
Voiced z ʒ
Sonorant ɽ (r̥) (l) j (ç) w (ʍ) ʀ (ʀ̥)
  • The coda nasal /n/ had the following allophones
    • labial [m] before /pʰ p/
    • alveolar [n] before /tʰ t s z ɽ/
    • palatal [ɲ] before /t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ ʃ ʒ j/
    • velar [ŋ] before /kʰ k w/
    • uvular [ɴ] before /qʰ q ʀ/
  • Both [ʀ̥] and [χ] only exist as parts of the word-initial cluster /χʀ/
  • [r̥ ç ʍ] are allophones of /ɽ j w/ after aspirated consonants. For example, /pʰw/ is pronounced [pʍ].


Front Back
Close ɪ iː ʊ uː
Open-Mid ɛ ɛː ɔ ɔː
Open æ æː ɒ ɒː

The language also has two diphthongs: [au̯ ai̯].

Dialects and accents

Northwestern Brutangi / Hro'z

  • The postalveolar /t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ ʃ ʒ/ are retroflexed [ʈ͡ʂʰ ʈ͡ʂ~ɖ͡ʐ ʂ ʐ].
  • The vowels /æ æː/ are more centralized [æ̈ æ̈ː] or even fully central [ɐ ɐː]

Southwestern Brutangi / Kro'm

  • The distinctions between uvular and velar stops are no longer held - the uvular stops are merged with the velar stops.
  • The clusters /χʀ/ is replaced by /kʰʀ/.
  • The coronal rhotic /ɽ/ is usually realized as an alveolar trill [r], but still distinct from the uvular rhotic /ʀ/.
  • The uvular rhotic /ʀ/ is pronounced as a velar fricative [ɣ], except after aspirated stops: the clusters /pʰʀ tʰʀ t͡ʃʰʀ kʰʀ/ are realized as [px tx t͡ʃx k͡x]. The cluster /kʀ/ is realized as a consistently voiced [g͡ɣ].

Northeastern Brutangi / Bru'k

  • The medial allophones of the lenis dorsal stops /k kʷ q qʷ/ are fricatives [ɣ ɣʷ ʁ ʁʷ] rather than stops like in the other dialects [g gʷ ɢ ɢʷ].
  • The aspirated dorsal stops /kʰ kʷʰ qʰ qʷʰ/ are realized as affricates [k͡x k͡xʷ q͡χ q͡χʷ]. In the coda-position, rather than losing their aspiration like in other dialects, they spirantize to [x xʷ χ χʷ].
  • Some speakers merge /ɽ/ and /ʀ/ into a single phoneme, realized as a trill, either alveolar [r] or uvular [ʀ].

Southeastern Brutangi / Pri'd

  • The vowel /i/ colours following coda-position consonants by palatalizing them. Uvular consonants are unaffected. For example, /pʰɽit/ (the clan's name) is realized as [pr̥itʲ~pr̥ic] instead of the expected [pr̥it] that other dialects would have.

Goblin accents

Even though those Goblins who live in Brutang still speak their own language, being under Orcish rule forced them to learn the language of their new masters, which resulted in almost ubiquitous billingualism in Brutang. Nevertheless, most Goblins speak Orcish with a noticeable accent:

  • The uvular stops /qʰ qʷʰ q qʷ χ/ are usually replaced with their velar equivalents /kʰ kʷʰ k kʷ x/.
  • The unaspirated stops /p t t͡ʃ k kʷ q qʷ/ are always realized as voiced [b d d͡ʒ g gʷ ɢ~g ɢʷ~gʷ].
  • /ɽ ʀ/ are typically realized as [ɾ ʁ]. The cluster /χʀ/ ends up being realized as [xɾ], [kɾ̥] or [ɾ̥].
  • Difficulties with the voiced fricatives /z ʒ/, they are usually turned into affricates [d͡z d͡ʒ] or just devoiced [s ʃ].
  • The vowels /æ æː ɒ ɒː ɛ ɛː eː ɔ ɔː oː ɪ iː ʊ uː/ are theoretically reinterpreted as /a aː a aː e eː ei̯ o oː ou̯ i iː u uː/, but most Goblins don't maintain length distinction at all, and end up having only /a e ei̯ o ou̯ i u/, respectively realized as [ä e̞ e̞i̯ o̞ o̞u̯ i u], just like in Kobold.

Ogre accents

Those Ogres living in Brutang are typically bilingual in Kobold and Orcish, and usually have Orcish as their native language. Despite this, they still speak Orcish with noticeable accents:

  • The dipthtonhgs /ai̯ au̯/ are simplified to a monophthong [aː]
  • The dorsal aspirates /kʰ kʷʰ qʰ qʷʰ/ are replaced by affricates [k͡x k͡xʷ q͡χ q͡χʷ]
  • The unaspirated stops /p t t͡ʃ k kʷ q qʷ/ are always realized as voiced [b d d͡ʒ g gʷ ɢ ɢʷ].
  • The rhotics /ɽ ʀ/ are realized as alveolar trills of different length [r̆ rː]. /χʀ/ is realized as just a long voiceless trill [r̥ː].
  • The original orcish vowel length distinctions of /æ ɒ ɛ ɔ ɪ ʊ/ versus /æː ɒː ɛː ɔː iː uː/ fall apart, as all vowels - except /eː oː/ - become short [æ ɒ ɛ ɔ ɪ ʊ] in final syllables and in closed syllables before unvoiced consonants, long [æː ɒː ɛː ɔː ɪː ʊː] in non-final open syllables and before voiced consonants.