Lore:Dwemer Language

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The Dwemer Language, or Dwemeris,[1] is the language once spoken by the Dwemer. This article is an attempt to summarize all that is known about it.

Overview[edit]

In comparison to the language of the Ayleids, very little is known about the language of the Dwemer. Most of it survives as names of various Dwemer ruins, often constructed from a limited number of roots connected together (for example Arkng-thand, Irkng-thand, Arkng-thamz). The trademark features of Dwemeris are compound words, often quite long, and consonant clusters containing as many as five consonants.

Dwemer texts are written in the Dwemer Alphabet. For more information, see the main article on the Dwemer Alphabet.

The only known consistent piece of Dwemeris is present on Calcelmo's Stone, which features a text written both in the Falmer language (which is very similar or even identical to Ayleidoon) and the Dwemer language, acting as the Elder Scrolls equivalent of the Rosetta Stone. Even so, the somewhat limited knowledge of Ayleidoon was not initially enough to translate the Falmeri text accurately enough to use it to analyse the Dwemer text, but this changed when the official translation was published by Bethesda.

Analysis of Calcelmo's Stone[edit]

Below is an attempt to decipher the Dwemer text from Calcelmo's Stone. Note that due to the lack of knowledge of Dwemer grammar or how exactly the compound words are constructed, it might not be very accurate.

Chun thuamer arkngd chend duathand, th ahvardn btham.
And so it was that your people were given passage to our steam gardens, and the protections of our power.
Amz thuamer ahrkanch kemelmzulchond aka Mora,
Many of your people had perished under the roaring, snow-throated kings of Mora,
th thuangz ahrk, th duum melz thuabtharng, th kanthaln duabcharn mzin thuastur, btharumz thua mer zel.
and your wills were broken, and we heard you, [your ?] and sent our machines against your enemies, to thereby take you [your people] under.
Abakch duumarkng tuathumz amakai, th abakch avatheled kagr tuamkingth mzan.
Only by the grace of the Dwemer did your culture survive, and only by the fifteen-and-one tones did your new lives begin.
Du chal fahl ngark, che du fahl bthun ur.
We do not desire thanks, for we do not believe in it.
Du chal fahl ngalft, che du [fahl?] bthun ur.
We do not ask for gratitude, for we do not believe in it.
Du abak chal thu abazun nchur duabthar, nchul duanchard.
We only request you partake of the symbol of our bond, the fruit of the stones around us. [our stones]
Th ur thuanchuth irknd, ur irkngth eftardn, thunch fahlz.
And as your vision clouds, as the darkness sets in, fear not.
Bthun abak dua mzual th nchuan duarkng, chun fahlbthar thuanchardch anum ralz, th eftar thuachendraldch kagren thua vanchningth.
Know only our mercy and the radiance of our affection, which unbinds your bones to the earth before, and sets your final path to the music of your new eternity.

It can be seen that the possessive pronouns are usually written together with nouns (thua-mer for "your people", dua-bthar for "our bond"). Another noticeable feature is the lack of prepositions. There also doesn't seem to be any consistent inflection.

When combined with other sources, the meanings of many words seem to be rather vague, with the actual meaning depending on the context. For example zel is said to mean "city"[2] but on Calcelmo's Stone it's translated as "under" in "...to take your people under" (which could be interpreted as "to take your people to our cities, to our domain"). In both cases the word seems to generally mean the domain of the Dwemer, or a Dwemer-inhabited area.

Similarly arkng[d] appears three times as "were given" (arkngd), "grace" (duum-arkng, "the grace of us" or "the grace of the Dwemer"), and "affection" (dua-arkng, "our affection"). It seems obvious that the word in general means giving, granting something, or the act of doing so.

Fahlbthar is translated as "unbind". This is more or less consistent with the word bthar also being translated as "allied"[2] or "bond" (dua-bthar, "our bond") while fahl generally seems to denote a negation ("no", "not", "un-"). Thus, bthar may generally mean "allied" or "bound". Compare the names of the Dwemer ruins Fahlbtharz ("not allied"? "unbound"?) on Solstheim and Nchu Duabthar ("symbol of our bond"?) in High Rock.

Similarly, the name of the ruins of Nchuand-Zel could mean "radiant city". A similar analysis could be performed for many more ruin names.

Words and Phrases[edit]

The list contains words explicitly mentioned and translated in various sources, as well as the word roots from Calcelmo's Stone which appear on it at least twice.

Abak
Only[OOG 1]
Arkng[d]
Give, gift, grace[OOG 1]
Arkngthunch
Graveyard[3]
Bthar
Allied[2], bound, bond[OOG 1]
Bthar-Zel
Allied City[2]
Chal
Ask, request, desire[OOG 1]
Du
We[OOG 1]
Dua-
Our[OOG 1]
Fahl[z]
No, not[OOG 1]
Fal'Zhardum Din
Blackest Kingdom Reaches[4]
Fell
City[5][6]
Kagr, Kagren
Tone, music[OOG 1]
Mer
People[OOG 1]
Razak
Precision engineer or tonal modulator[7]
Stur
Enemy[OOG 1][3]
Sturdumz
Ghost Invaders[3] (compare Stur "enemy")
Th
And[OOG 1]
Thua-
Your[OOG 1]
Tuathumz
Central pylon[8]
Volen
Hammer[6]
Volenfell
City of the Hammer[6]
Vvarden
Strong Shield[5] (compare ahvardn "protection")
Vvardenfell
City of the Strong Shield[5]
Zel
City[2], underground, domain of the Dwemer?[OOG 1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dwemer Inquiries, Vol II Their Architecture and CivilizationThelwe Ghelein, Scholar
  2. ^ a b c d e Katria's Journal in Skyrim
  3. ^ a b c Loading screen from Arkngthunch-Sturdumz in ESO: Morrowind
  4. ^ Dwemer Inquiries Vol III Their Architecture and CivilizationThelwe Ghelein, Scholar
  5. ^ a b c Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: MorrowindImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  6. ^ a b c Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: HammerfellImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  7. ^ Loading screen from Razak's Wheel in ESO
  8. ^ Description of the Dwarven Master Miter in ESO

Note: the following references are not found in-game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The official translation of Calcelmo's Stone