Dwarven runes

The dwarves spoke several languages but in present day they are no longer spoken[1], and only a few phrases remain in common usage. Some of the words have roots which predate the time when dwarves made contact with elves or humans.[2]

Dwarves also invented the "common tongue" in order to trade with each other.[1] In present day it is exceptionally rare for someone to not be fluent in the common tongue. However the dwarves of Kal-Sharok have a regional dialect which draws more on an older manner of speech because of their significantly less contact and interaction with the surface.[2]

Dwarven runes are used on signs by the dwarves as well as by the humans on the surface. In the latter case, they are used instead of the native language, as it is common for peasants to not be able to read.[3]

Words and phrases Edit


Ancient dwarven text2

Ancient dwarven

  • Aedros Atuna: An underground river which never sees the sun. Its clay is used by dwarven artisans for crafting.[4]
  • Amgarrak: "Victory"[2][5]
  • Amgeforn (ahm-geh-forn): "Sacrifice"[2][6]
  • Amgetoll: "Duty"[2]
  • Ascendant: A surface dwarf who leaves Orzammar traditions and embraces life on the surface.[7]
  • Atrast nal tunsha (a-TRAST NAWL TON-shah): A formal farewell. Possibly an archaic form of atrast tunsha, since it is only spoken by Caridin. May translate as "may you always find your way in the dark".[8]
  • Atrast tunsha (a-TRAST TON-shah): A formal farewell.[9][10]
  • Atrast tunsha. Totarnia amgetol tavash aeduc.: Words of a formal dwarven rite for the dead.[9]
  • Atrast vala (a-TRAST VA-la): A formal greeting. Literally, "speak" or "find your tongue".[11]
  • Atredum na satolva.: Meaning unknown.[12]


  • Best of the vein: A farewell.[13]
  • Blow off the dust to find the vein of silver: Literally, looking for the positive in a negative situation.[14]
  • Brand: A pejorative term used for a casteless dwarf, referencing the face tattoo they are branded with, distinguishing them from the rest of their kin.


  • Cloudgazer: Surface dwarves who have lost their Stone sense.[2]


  • Deep crawler: "Spider"[15]
  • Deep lord: A pejorative term for dwarven nobles.
  • Deshyr: "Assembly lord"[16]
  • Duster: A pejorative term used for a casteless dwarf, referencing their home of Dust Town.[2][17]
  • Dust to dunkels: A phrase evidencing great certainty.[18]
  • Dwarva: The word dwarves use to refer to themselves. The human word most likely derives from it.[19]


  • Full of sod: Being foolish.[20]


  • Gangue: "Stone waste" or "Impure spirit-of-the-stone."[21]
  • -gat: "Unto"[22]
  • Gwah: "Salt"[23]


  • Isana: A term for lyrium. Also called "singing stone".[2]


  • Kal Repartha: "A place where we may meet in peace". The inscription of Paragon Fairel's tomb in the Hissing Wastes.[24]
  • Kallak: "War"[2][25]
  • Kalna (KAL-nah): A surface dwarf who insists on maintaining caste and rank.[7]
  • Kalnath: Family.[22]
  • Kalnath-par kallak, Kalnath-gat parthas: Family through war, Family unto peace.[22]


  • Mathas gar na fornen pa salroka atrast.: Meaning unknown.[26] According to Leliana it roughly means "At my side find your way in the dark".[27]
  • Mathas gar na fornen pa tot isatunoll.: Meaning unknown. According to Leliana it roughly means "I regret the sacrifice of my kin, but it means we will find our way home".[27]
  • Mud splasher: A nickname for nugs.[28]


  • On loose sand: Literally, in a dangerous situation.[29]


  • -par: "Through"[22]
  • Partha: "Peace"[25]



  • Salroka (sal-ROW-cah): "Friend", literally means "one at my side". Most commonly used by the casteless.[2]
  • Sha-Brytol: "Revered Defenders"[30]
  • Stalata Negat: Meaning unknown. Part of the title of a book of dwarven history, "Stalata Negat: The Stone Unheld: A Commentary on the Roll of Years".[31]
  • Stone-blind: A derogatory term for surface dwarves.[32]
  • Stone-met: A greeting.[13]
  • Sun-touched: A pejorative term for surface dwarves.[33]


  • Tezpadam: "Deepstalker"[34]
  • Thaig (TAIG): A dwarven colony. Generally founded by, and named after, a particular house.
  • Time is rusting: "Time is wasting"[35]
  • Topside: The surface.[2]



  • Valos Atredum (VAH-lows a-TRAY-doom): May translate as "the favor of the Ancestors", "the voice of the Ancestors", or "the Ancestors' blessing".[37]
  • Veata (VEE-et-ah): "Stop" or "halt"[38]


  • What's shaping? : A friendly interrogative, akin to "what's going on?"[39]
  • Wim and Wam: "Whine and plead"[2]

Notes Edit

  • There are also traces of the dwarven language in human places. "Gwaren" comes from the combination of two dwarven words, gwah (salt) and ren (pool).

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 BSN David Gaider (January 14, 2011). "The Official Fenris Discussion thread" . The BioWare Forum. Retrieved on June 12, 2014.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 40
  3. Dragon Age: Asunder, p. 128
  4. Mentioned by Varric Tethras in Dragon Age II.
  5. In the opening sequence of The Golems of Amgarrak, narrated by Jerrik Dace.
  6. Codex entry: Amgeforn the Lonely Vigil
  7. 7.0 7.1 Codex entry: Surface Dwarves
  8. Part of Caridin's last words at the end of A Paragon of Her Kind if the Warden aids him.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Codex entry: Third Legionnaire's Journal
  10. Used by Valta while addressing the deceased Lieutenant Renn.
  11. Notably spoken in the Dwarf Noble Origin, as well as by Boermor.
  12. From a letter from Oghren to his child. Source: Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 91
  13. 13.0 13.1 Spoken by Gatsi.
  14. Mentioned by Sigrun.
  15. Dragon Age: Origins: Prima Official Game Guide, p. 152
  16. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 17
  17. Used ubiquitously in Orzammar.
  18. Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, p. 321
  19. The History of the Dwarves. BioWare wiki.
  20. Spoken by a dwarven spirit in Kal-Hirol.
  21. Codex entry: Demons of the Stone
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 As evidenced by the translation of the message during An Offer of Help, on Their Terms.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, p. 274
  24. Codex entry: A Journal on Dwarven Ruins
  25. 25.0 25.1 Based on the Kallak description.
  26. Spoken by the Nexus Golem.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 86
  28. 28.0 28.1 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 162
  29. Spoken by Beraht.
  30. As translated by Shaper Valta during The Descent.
  31. Codex entry: Stalata Negat
  32. Codex entry: Common Curses
  33. Codex entry: The Casteless
  34. Codex entry: Deepstalker (Origins)
  35. Spoken by Rica Brosca.
  36. Codex entry: A Journal on Dwarven Ruins
  37. Based on the Valos Atredum description.
  38. Spoken by the dwarven guard outside of the surface entrance of Orzammar.
  39. Sigrun will sometimes speak this phrase when clicked on in the party in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening.