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Many languages are spoken, or have been spoken, throughout the world of Gielinor and beyond. Though most characters speak a language usually referred to simply as the "common tongue,"[1][2][3] many more are encountered by more inquisitive people, or are referred to by other characters. According to Postie Pete, there are over 1000 languages spoken in the universe.[4]

The common tongue is spoken by the vast majority of Gielinor's races and nations. Although many races do possess their own languages and dialects, many of these have been forgotten or been made rarer in recent years. This may be partially due to the more peaceful relationships between civilisations since the Fourth Age, when interaction between many races became more common.

Because the frequent use of many different languages would negatively affect gameplay, the common tongue is presented to the player in the language they themselves select when logging in; English, German, French, Portuguese, or (formerly) Spanish.

Known languages[edit | edit source]

Ancient Dwarvish tongue[edit | edit source]

Dondakan the Dwarf chathead.png

The ancient dwarvish tongue is the traditional language of the dwarves, a subterranean race found throughout Gielinor. Its modern use varies by region. In the more industrial, modernised parts of the Dwarven Realm, such as the capital city of Keldagrim, the dwarven tongue is no longer commonly spoken. However, the language was spoken by the dwarves in addition to the common tongue before they fled beneath the surface of Gielinor during the God Wars, and remained the dominant language for centuries, such as during the Era of Kings. As a result, most of the city's ancient documents are written in the ancient dwarvish tongue, and so it is still known to scholars and historians. Ironically, however, its oldest surviving manuscript, the Azdaran document, is written in the common tongue.

In some parts of the Dwarven Realm, such as the Ice Mountain Dwarven Colony, the ancient dwarvish tongue is used to a slightly larger degree, although it is known that by 164 of the Fifth Age it had mostly given way to the common tongue. Master Phyllis, an extremely elderly resident of the Colony, often spoke in Ancient Dwarvish. Kara-Meir, the girl discovered by Phyllis and his clan in the 155, was named "Wolf Cub" in the dwarvish tongue because she was found resting in the butchered body of a wolf.[5] In this case, kara may mean "wolf" and meir means "cub," but this is not entirely certain.[6][7]

Another word known to come directly from the ancient dwarvish tongue is Hugi, which literally means "personification of thought".[8] The word itself has found use as a name amongst the dwarves, as is the case with the librarian of Keldagrim Library.

The Sacred Forge of Camdozaal is known to have been activated with the chant Bron Uffon Afgi Bami prior to the hall's destruction during the Runecrafting Crusades that took place during the years 42 to 62 of the Fifth Age. Ramarno, one of few Imcando dwarves to survive the Battle of Camdozaal, is seen using the chant when activating the forge. However, it is unclear if the phrase is drawn from the dwarvish tongue or from another language.

Ancient Gnomish[edit | edit source]

Main article: Ancient Gnomish
Hazelmere chathead.png

Ancient Gnomish is a language traditionally spoken by the gnome race. It was used regularly by the gnomes of the Gnomish Empire up until the late Fourth Age, when the race began to experience more regular interaction with other races.[9] Today, most gnomes still speak Ancient Gnomish, but the common tongue has largely become the dominant language of the race. Many Ancient Gnomish terms have been made common knowledge via dictionaries.

Instances of the language's modern use can be found throughout the Gnomish Empire; for instance, gnome glider pilots still use maps bearing Ancient Gnomish text, as does a large advertisement at the Gnome Stronghold Agility Course. Hazelmere, a gnome hero of the late Fourth Age, was known to regularly speak the language even into the modern day, even refusing to speak the common tongue unless absolutely necessary, for instance in life-threatening situations.

Ancient Saradominist[edit | edit source]

White Knight chathead.png

The Saradominist clergy used an old Saradominist language centuries ago. Now that they have switched to the common tongue, this language has died out. Interestingly, it seems to have been based on an even earlier language spoken by Saradominists. Only one name is known: Mother Mallum, which is Mahey'ish Medron in the Saradominist language.[10]

Cabbage language[edit | edit source]

Cabbage chathead.png

Cabbages are occasionally sentient vegetables that have their own language. In order to understand their language, a cabbagespeak amulet must be worn.

Some words seem to be somewhat based off of the common tongue. For example, "Pedee hay" means "Party hat"

Camel language[edit | edit source]

Camel chathead.png

Camels are a race that inhabit the Kharidian Desert. These include dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius), which have one hump, Bactrian camels (C. bactrianus), which have two humps and Ugthanki (C. horribleus), which are exclusively found in the Kharidian desert. In order to speak with camels, one must be in possession of a camulet created by the Mahjarrat Akthanakos. Without the camulet it's only possible to insult the camel; whether the camel understand it or not is unknown, but they do understand the intention. It also appears that the Ugthanatos, a species created by Akthanakos, also speak camel language.

Common tongue[edit | edit source]

Roger chathead.png

The common tongue (also referred to as English, German, French, Portuguese or Spanish, depending on the version of the game) is the language spoken by the vast majority of Gielinor's inhabitants. It is often associated with humans, suggesting it may have originated with them; however, nearly all of Gielinor's inhabitants have adopted it, at least to some extent, and speak it when necessary. Humans and other races are known to have spoken the common tongue since the First Age, evidently having brought it with them from Teragard. It is also known to be spoken in Britain, homeland of King Arthur.

Guthix suggests that the common tongue has developed greatly over the course of Gielinor's history, pointing out that the ancient names of modern cities such as Avarrocka and Farradorn have died out relatively quickly.[1] There are a wide variety of dialects in the common tongue; for instance, most ogres, trolls, and goblins all speak what seem to be simplified versions of the common tongue.

Crocodile language[edit | edit source]

Crocodile chathead.png

Crocodiles have their own language, which can only be understood if wearing a crocspeak amulet, without one their language sounds like growling. The crocodiles are blessed by Crondis, the crocodile-headed goddess, which somehow effect their mood. While Crondis was corrupted by Amascut, the crocodiles were extremely aggressive, but once Crondis was restored, they became much more pleasant in both behaviour and language.

Dragon language[edit | edit source]

King Black Dragon chathead.png

The language of dragons focuses on expressing certain emotions.[11] Dragons have very few memories of lucid moments, and their language works to convey such moments. Their written language is very elegant, but it can also be used by non-dragons for other purposes such as sending coded messages.

Dragonkin language[edit | edit source]

Maragan (Nodon elder) chathead.png
Main article: Dragonkin language

The language spoken by the Dragonkin is the only language known to originate from before the last Great Revision. They used it to communicate with one another in the First Age, while experimenting with dragons. Robert the Strong was able to understand bits of the language, and studied its grammatical structure as well. He describes it to be "as blunt as they are" with "direct and simple" phrases.[12] While the remaining Dragonkin are capable of communicating in the common tongue, they sometimes still use their own language, especially for important matters, such as False Users.

Elvish language[edit | edit source]

Ilfeen chathead.png

The elves have a complex language that even the greatest human scholars can not completely comprehend. Reldo describes it as "far more complex, for their tongues are as agile as their minds, and twice as bewildering." Their language was one of the first to exist in Gielinor, as the elves were brought by Seren and Guthix to Gielinor via the World Gate in the early First Age. They have most likely brought it with them from their homeworld, Tarddiad. Even before most other races had had arrived in Gielinor, the elves had a mastering of the common tongue, as is seen with the lines of Haluned.[13] It is unclear whether they spoke this before they arrived, or learned it once in Gielinor. However, at least since their arrival on Gielinor, residents of Tarddiad had also been able to speak the language, as evidenced by Angof's speaking in the common tongue. It is difficult for humans to speak the elvish language more than pronunciation approximations.[14] The art of crystal singing is also deeply rooted in the elvish language, although the exact relationship between the two is unclear.

Feline language[edit | edit source]

Nodjmet chathead.png

Cats are an intelligent race of felines with their own languages. They were brought into Gielinor by Guthix.[15] However, due to limitations in human comprehension, all words spoken by cats are interpreted as "meow" by humans. In order to communicate with cats, the clergy of Sophanem created the catspeak amulet, which made it possible for humans to communicate with cats, and vice versa. Certain felines (such as the Sphinx) can be understood without a catspeak amulet, which may mean that they can speak the common tongue.

Ghost language[edit | edit source]

Closure chathead.png

Ghosts have a language not understood by anyone. All of its words are "woo" with different amounts of "o" letters. In order to understand their language, a ghostspeak amulet must be worn, or all hard Morytania achievements must have been completed.

Only one sentence is known: "Wooo wooo wooooo!" is "Not very good, actually." in the common tongue.

Goblin language[edit | edit source]

Main article: Goblin language
Goblin chathead 2.png

Prior to their arrival in Gielinor, the goblin race is known to have spoken a language separate from that of the common tongue. The ancient goblin language originated in Yu'biusk, a separate world within the multiverse. After being forcibly brought to Gielinor in the Second Age by the deity Bandos, the race retained this language for some time. However, the goblins gradually adopted a variant of the common tongue. In the modern day, the old language is nearly forgotten. The Dorgeshuun of Dorgesh-Kaan have studied the language, and have documented it to a degree.[source needed]

A goblin language is known to have been spoken by some Misthalanian and Asgarnian goblins as recently as the early 700's of the Fourth Age. Arrav, a legendary Fourth Age soldier of Avarrocka, earned his name from a curse in the goblin tongue.[16]

Tribes of other Yu'biuskian races had names that were seemingly similar to the goblin tribe names, suggesting the old goblin language may have been used by other races of Yu'biusk as well.

Icyene language[edit | edit source]

Garlandia chathead.png

The Icyenic language is a language spoken by the Icyenes from the world Hallow. The language was brought with Saradomin and the Icyene to Gielinor, and was used among many of Saradomin's followers during the Second Age including Imcando dwarves and humans. It appears that the language was slowly replaced with the common tongue, and even the Icyene have adopted it. However the Icyenic words were used in the various forces of Saradomin's army i.e. the Phalangites, Hetairoi and Pyrophoroi are all Icyenic words, also particular minerals were named by Saradomist dwarves in the Icyenic language i.e. orichalcite and drakolith.[17]

Infernal language[edit | edit source]

Duke Sucellus chathead.png

The Infernal language is the language that was spoken by the Infernal demons on their homeworld Infernus. After the ruling Infernals were usurped by the rebelling Chthonians, they continued using the language. After Zaros brought his Chthonian and Avernic demons to Gielinor in order to help him conquer territory, he made the Infernal language the official language of his empire.[18] Nowadays, it is mostly used by Zarosians, although the language has spread outside of the Zarosian domain to a limited degree, and there are also those who use the language without a known Zarosian connection such as Dionysius. There are also some cases where words appearing to be or greatly resembling the Infernal tongue are used, yet these need not actually have a Zarosian or Infernal connection.

Kurask language[edit | edit source]

Baby kurask chathead.png
Main article: Kurask § Language

The kurasks have a basic language, known to the human world thanks to Skuhavi, a Kurask banished for his interest in humans.[19] The Kurask language has eight known words, many of which are related to Kurisk, the rite of passage attempted by all Kurask at age 80. The language became known to humans when Skuhavi replied to an adventurer's letter using Kurask words.

Mahjarrat language[edit | edit source]

Main article: Mahjarrat § Language
Azzanadra (Children of Mah) chathead.png

The Mahjarrat tribe is known to possess a language of its own,[20] which it brought to Gielinor from Freneskae in the Second Age. Perhaps because the Mahjarrat have been so deeply involved with other races during their time in Gielinor, the Mahjarrat are usually observed to speak the common tongue, even amongst themselves.

The only word known to have been directly derived from the Mahjarrat language is that of their homeworld, Freneskae. However, it is extremely difficult to approximate the language in the common tongue, and so alternate spellings and pronunciations such as Feneskrae, Freneskrae or Freneskæ have been used in the past.

The Mahjarrat Sliske re-animated the corpses of the Barrows Brothers during the Third Age by chanting "in some foul, ancient language, casting his old magic."[21] It is probable that this spell was cast in the Mahjarrat language, again indicating its potency in magic.

Menaphite language[edit | edit source]

Main article: Menaphite language
Menaphite guard chathead.png
The Menaphite alphabet.

The Menaphite people of the Kharidian Desert are known to possess their own unique language. Given the long history of the Menaphites, it is highly possible that the Menaphite language is one of the oldest in Gielinor. Hieroglyphs representing the Menaphite language can be found in temples, pyramids, and other structures throughout the desert. They also have a unique alphabet with all letters having a corresponding common letter.

Monkey language[edit | edit source]

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Gielinor's monkey population possesses an advanced language that is unintelligable to most, if not all, other races. The monkeys that inhabit Karamja and Ape Atoll both speak identically, whereas the Harmless species native to Mos Le'Harmless speaks a slightly simplified version. By wearing a monkeyspeak amulet, it is possible to understand the monkey language. Otherwise, it sounds as unintelligible "ook" and "aak" to human ears.

Old Forinthryan[edit | edit source]

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A language spoken in Forinthry during the Second Age.[22] It is likely that it was spoken mostly by the lower classes, as the elite of Zarosian society is known to have spoken Infernal. According to Reldo, the dialectic idiosyncrasies of Old Forinthryan are poorly understood by modern scholars.

Skavid language[edit | edit source]

Main article: Skavid § Language
Mad skavid chathead.png

The skavids of Feldip Hills, in addition to understanding and speaking the human tongue, also possess a language of their own. The skavids were the indigenous race of Feldip Hills, but were driven nearly to extinction by Bandosians during the Third Age, and forced into servitude by their ogre masters. This language is used by the skavids so that the ogres cannot understand them. In 169 of the Fifth Age, an adventurer was taught some words of the skavid language by a scared skavid underneath Gu'Tanoth. There are only ten known words in the language, but they are enough to communicate with other skavids.

Stalker language[edit | edit source]

Sneakerpeeper chathead.png

The Stalker race that was brought to Daemonheim by the Mahjarrat Bilrach speaks a highly complex language that only they understand. Not unlike the Mahjarrat language, the Stalker language may physically harm individuals of other races if they hear it. The combination of audible and inaudible sounds produced by Stalkers speaking their language is known to cause heavy bleeding from the nose and severe headaches, even in brief periods of exposure.[23]

When necessary, Stalkers also are known to use the common tongue. The names they give themselves in the common tongue are often complicated because of the complexity of their own language, as can be observed in the names of Stalkers such as Lakhrahnaz, Khighorahk, and Haasghenahk.

TzHaar language[edit | edit source]

Main article: TzHaar Language
TzHaar-Ket-Grol chathead.png

The TzHaar that inhabit Karamja Volcano still regularly speak the TzHaar Language,[24] which was developed by the race during their long isolation during the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Ages, while they remained isolated from the surface. Since the race re-established open contact with the surface in the Fifth Age, the language has been studied by humans, although thus far with only minor success. According to Postie Pete, words in the TzHaar language are based more around the passion and emotion behind the word, rather than the literal translation.[25] Many TzHaar terms have been revealed in the past, most either through the Wise Old Man's translations[24][25] or via the Tzhaar tourist guide.

The TzHaar are unique in that they possess the ability to pass their knowledge directly on to their descendants. As a result, the minimal contact they had with the surface during their almost complete isolation was enough so that several TzHaar were able to learn the common tongue.[26] This has been passed on to the TzHaar of today, who will speak the common tongue to those visiting the city.

Vampyre language[edit | edit source]

Lord Alexei Jovkai chathead.png
The Vampyre alphabet.

Very little is known about the language of the vampyres, Zaros described that the vampyres were intelligent beings, when he first encountered them, thus it seemed they possessed a way of communication. Many years later the vampyres of Vampyrium joined the Zarosian Empire on Gielinor, where they most likely adopted the Infernal language of the upper class, along with the common tongue they use today. Although they have adopted these new languages, they still posses an alphabet of their own as well as their own naming traditions.

Werewolf language[edit | edit source]

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The werewolf race that inhabits Morytania is known to speak their own language aside from the common tongue. According to the werewolf Jerrod, young werewolves are only taught the common tongue when they reach adulthood, and until then speak only the werewolf language.[27] As the werewolves that inhabit Canifis are only observed to speak the common tongue, it is unclear when the language is used by adults. Gar'rth, Jerrod's nephew, was as of the year 164 of the Fifth Age only capable of speaking the werewolf language.

Wyvern language[edit | edit source]

According to Postie Pete, the wyvern species possessed a language of its own prior to its extinction. Given their close relationship to dragons, it is possible that the language was related to that of dragons or the dragonkin. Given that the wyvern race was largely unintelligent, it is likely that the language is fairly simple.[source needed] Postie Pete claims to speak wyvern, implying that it has not completely died out.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Some languages in RuneScape are based on languages in real life:
    • The elvish tongue is similar in many ways to the Welsh language.
    • The Infernal tongue is exactly the same as Latin.
    • The Icyenic language is based on Ancient Greek.
    • The Vampyric language or at least their naming traditions borrow from Romanian and Russian.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ a b Jagex. "God Letter 16 - Guthix Dispels Rumours, 5" (Archived from the original.) RuneScape God Letters.
  2. ^ Jagex. "God Letter 25 - Guthix Reiterates, 4" (Archived from the original.) RuneScape God Letters.
  3. ^ Jagex. "God Letter 25 - Guthix Reiterates, 6" (Archived from the original.) RuneScape God Letters.
  4. ^ Postie Pete, "Castle Wars", RuneScape. "So would you be if you could speak over 1000 languages."
  5. ^ T.S. Church. Betrayal at Falador, (67). Babel Interactive Ltd., 2008.
  6. ^ Jagex. T. S. Church's Twitter account. 6 April 2015. (Archived from the original on 22 December 2019.) T. S. Church: "Taxing my memory I think it was 'Wolf-Cub.' Kara was Wolf in my mind."
  7. ^ Jagex. Mod Chaose's Twitter account. 31 March 2015. (Archived from the original on 22 December 2019.) Mod Chaose: "I don't speak ancient Imcando, so I couldn't say."
  8. ^ Librarian, RuneScape. "Hugi, my parents named me that, it means 'personification of thought' in the ancient dwarvish tongue."
  9. ^ Jagex. "God Letter 26 - Saradomin Preaches, 8" (Archived from the original.) RuneScape God Letters.
  10. ^ Jorral, "The Slug Menace", RuneScape. "It's an early variation on a script used by the priests of Saradomin a long time ago. (...) It seems this text pertains to a great battle between the temple of Saradomin and something called the Mahey'ish Medron. (...) I think it's a corruption of an even earlier language and actually refers to something called Mother Mallum."
  11. ^ Hannibus, RuneScape. "It's a simple language, it conveys emotions more than words. They're creatures of experiences, dragons, their entire lives are built around the few memories of lucid moments."
  12. ^ Robert the Strong, "Dragonkin Primer", RuneScape. "The language of the Dragonkin is as blunt as they are. From what I can gather, the sentence structure is direct and simple. I believe it follows a structure like this: Subject - Adjective if required - Action modifier - Action - Object."
  13. ^ Haluned, "Meeting History", RuneScape. "We are not alone in these lands. I must report. These must be the humans Guthix spoke of. There are other beings in this world!"
  14. ^ Jagex. Postbag 35 - "Transcript:But how do you pruh-nounce Rell-doh?", Letter 4. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
  15. ^ Bob, RuneScape. "Cats were the second thing Guthix brought here, after sheep of course."
  16. ^ Jagex. "The Legend of Arrav, Part I, Section 2." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
  17. ^ Design - Both - Metals, written by Mod Jack, RuneScape. "the word is actually Icyene in origin as Icyene was the official language of the Saradominists of the Second Age."
  18. ^ Mizzarch, "Mizzarch's memory", RuneScape. "Another of Zaros's gifts was a shared language - that of the ancient Infernals - that was mandated for all humans and quickly supplanted the many and varied tribal dialects."
  19. ^ Jagex. Postbag 23 - "Transcript:Wise old musings and demonic drills", Letter 5. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
  20. ^ Jagex. Postbag 38 - "Transcript:What's the matter, Jad? Chicken?", Letter 5. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
  21. ^ Jagex. "The Fall of Six, Ruination." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
  22. ^ Jagex. "Roots in the Community." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
  23. ^ Grondaban, "Stalker notes (part 1)", RuneScape. "The resultant combination of both audible and inaudible sound from its many lipless mouths gave me a huge headache and caused blood to cascade from my nose."
  24. ^ a b Jagex. Postbag 14 - "Transcript:The woeful tale of the bunny ears.", Wise Old Tips. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
  25. ^ a b Jagex. Postbag 12 - "Transcript:Rats, Pirates and the Wise Old Man!", Wise old tips. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
  26. ^ Jagex. "The Excellent Log of the Journeys and Tribulations of Samuel Scourduel, Part II, Section 2." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
  27. ^ T.S. Church. Betrayal at Falador, (258). Babel Interactive Ltd., 2008.