enslaved around two millennia before the Dragon Age. When the elves settled their second homeland, the Dales, they aimed to restore their lost language and lore, but the Dales fell after an Exalted March declared by the Chantry in the early Glory Age. The Elvish of the Dragon Age is thus a fragmented remnant, a few words that are thrown into conversation rather than a working language used to conduct everyday life. The Dalish Elves, self-appointed custodians of the elven language and lore, use more Elvish than their City Elf brethren. Some clans, such as the ones encountered in The Stolen Throne, speak it fluently and exclusively. Living among humans, the City Elves now retain only a few old Elvish words whose origin is almost forgotten, such as "shem" - derived from "shemlen", meaning "quickling", or "quick children" the old Elvish term for humans - and "hahren" - the leader of an Alienage, meaning "elder" in Elvish.
With the release of Dragon Age II, and Merrill's speech patterns, it has been determined that pronouns most likely carry an implied possessive. What this means for translation is that words like "ma" and "ar" can carry a "have" with them - "you have", "I have" - without actually needing to add in the "have" as a separate word.
It has been observed that "Elven is often a game of intents, not direct mapping of phonetic meaning. That means it's a mess" and that it tends "to meander".
- 1 Written Elvish
- 2 Elvish phrases
- 3 Elvish Vocabulary
- 4 The Elvish Eulogy
- 5 Suledin (Endure) - an Elven Song
- 6 I Am the One
- 7 Scratchings Found Under a Pillar in Skyhold
- 8 Mir Da'len Somniar - a Dalish Lullaby
- 9 Where Willows Wail
- 10 Constructing Elvish: Examples of Phrases
- 11 Deconstructing Elvish
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
The clan Keepers are the only ones who know the secret of writing Elven Language. The spelling system for Elvish contains an apostrophe to mark register tone, not to mark stress or to decorate text as per the usual usage of the apostrophe. It also indicates contraction points between two full words that cannot be reduced by adjoining letters.
Many of the words in the following list are extrapolations and deconstructions of words found in the games, done by parsing the order of meanings versus given words and comparisons of fragments to the meanings given.
- Amae lethalas: meaning unknown. 
- Andaran atish’an: Enter this place in peace. A formal elven greeting. Literally: "I dwell in this place, a place of peace."
- Aneth ara: A sociable or friendly greeting, more commonly used among the Dalish themselves rather than with outsiders. Literally: "My safe place".
- Ara seranna-ma: "Excuse me," as in after a sneeze or belch; this phrase may be differently conjugated depending on the speaker
- Ar lasa mala revas: "You are free."/"I give you your freedom."
- Ar lath ma: "I love you."
- Atish'all vallem: meaning unknown - greeting of the elven spirits in the Elven Mountain Ruins.
- Atish'all Vir Abelasan: "Enter the path of the Well of Sorrows."
- Banal nadas.: Nothing is inevitable.
- Bellanaris Din'an Heem: "Make you dead."
- Dareth shiral: Used as a "farewell" it means, "Safe journey".
- din'anshiral: A journey of death.
- Dirth ma, harellan. Ma banal enasalin. Mar solas ena mar din.: translation unknown. 
- Dirth'ena enasalin: "knowledge that led to victory" - the Elvish term for the Arcane Warrior or, more recently, Knight Enchanter disciplines
- Dirthara-ma: "May you learn." Used as a curse.
- Emma lath: My love.
- Ellasin selah: meaning unknown.
- Fen'Harel ma halam: "Dread Wolf ends you" A threat.
- Garas quenathra: "Why are you here?/Why have you come?" Spoken by the voices of the Vir'abelasan
- Ghil-Dirthalen: "One who guides seekers of knowledge true."
- Ghilan'him banal'vhen: "The path that leads astray": a derogatory term for Arcane Warriors among those elves who eschewed physical combat
- Ghilas dennar!: meaning unknown 
- Halam'shivanas: The sweet sacrifice of duty
- Ir abelas: I am sorry.
- Ir abelas, ma vhenan: "I am filled with sorrow for your loss, my heart."
- Ir tel'him: "I'm me again."
- Lasa ghilan: Grant/give guidance. Spoken by a Dalish Inquisitor to Solas with low approval in conversation with Solas.
- Lathbora viran: Roughly translated as "the path to a place of lost love," a longing for a thing one can never really know.
- Ma banal las halamshir var vhen.: You do nothing to further our people. 
- Ma ghilana mir din'an: Guide me into death.
- Ma melava halani: You helped me.
- Mala suledin nadas: Now you must endure.
- Ma nuvenin: As you wish.
- Ma vhenan: My heart (a term of endearment).
- Ma serannas: My thanks (Thank you).
- Mana. Ma halani.: Spoken by a Dalish Inquisitor in the quest Measuring the Veil. "Ma halani" is "Help me". In this context, "Mana" is an imperative verb, like "Stop" or "Wait".
- Masal din'an.: a threat, meaning unknown.
- Melana en athim las enaste: Now let humility grant favor.
- Mythal'enaste.: Mythal's favor. 
- Na din'an sahlin!: Your death now (Now you die)!
- Seran viar malas shivera mellavar!: meaning unknown 
- Sulevin ghilana hanin: Guide to certain glory / Guide of Glorious Purpose 
- Tel'abelas: "I'm not [sorry]."
- Tel'dellan sa Vir Dirthara!: meaning unknown 
- Tel garas solasan: Come not to a prideful place.
- Telanadas: Nothing is inevitable.
- "Viran se lan'aan? Ir annala for ros... Nae! Ga rahn s'dael! Ga rahn! Ir emah'la shal! Ir emah'la shal!": Spoken by the ghostly elven mother in the crypt where you get the Juggernaut armour. See "Deconstructing Elvish", below, for details on both ghosts' possible meanings.
- Vir sumeil: "We are close." 
- Virthar ma. Na din'an sahlin!: meaning unknown.
- Adahl: tree/bush.
- Adahlen: forest.
- Alas: earth, dirt.
- -An: suffix indicating place or location.
- Annar: year.
- Ar: personal pronoun: I, me.
- Aravas: journeys.
- Aravel: A wagon used by the Dalish; literally a physical and spiritual path, a journey with purpose. Humans call them "landships."
- Arla: home.
- Asha: woman.
- Assan: arrow.
- Atisha: peace, peaceful.
- Athim: humility
- Aval'var: Our journey.
- Awell: meaning unknown
- Banal: nothing, not, no
- Banalhan: "The place of nothing", a name for the Blight or its place of origin.
- Banal'ras: Shadow.
- Bel: many.
- Bora: to throw, project, lose.
- Bor'assan: bow.
- Da: small, diminutive prefix.
- Dar: to be.
- Da'len: little child, or "little one"
- Dareth: be safe.
- Dahl'amythal: : The tree of Mythal. According to Velanna, Dalish Keepers staffs are cut from it's like.
- Delltash: meaning unknown, perhaps used as a curse.
- Din: "not", or "isn't"; also used to indicate someone who has died: someone who is not.
- Dirth: tell, speak. A term for knowledge, secrets.
- Dirthara: learn, seek truth.
- Dirthera: tell.
- Dorf: grey.
- Durgen: stone.
- El: our.
- Elgar: spirit.
- Elgara: sun.
- Elvarel: longer, more effort.
- Elvhen: "Our People". Elven name for their own race.
- Elvhenan: Place of our people. The name of the elven civilization before the arrival of humans in Thedas. Also could be translated as: "Our hearts".
- -en: suffix indicating plural.
- Ena: appear; emerge.
- Enasal: joy in triumph over loss; a variation of joyful relief
- Enasalin: victory.
- Enansal: gift or blessing.
- Enaste: favor, approval.
- Enfanim: to fear.
- Era'harel: demon-mage; similar to an arcane horror.
- Eth: safe.
- Falon: friend.
- Felas: slow.
- Felandaris: demon weed.
- Felassan: slow arrow.
- Fen: wolf.
- Fenedhis: undefined common curse. Possibly the equivalent of "crap."
- Fenedhis lasa: an expansion on Fenedhis, a common curse.
- Garas: come.
- Ghilan: a guide.
- Ghilani: to guide.
- Ghilas: to go.
- Glandival: wish, to believe.
- Hahren'al: A gathering of hahrens during arlathvhen.
- Hahren: Elder. Used as a term of respect by the Dalish, but more specifically for the leader of an alienage by the City Elves.
- Halam: the end, finished.
- Halamshiral: The end of the journey. Also the name of the capital of the second elven homeland in the Dales.
- Halani: help.
- Hamin: rest, relax.
- Hanal'ghilan: "the pathfinder;" Elvish name for the mythical golden halla said by the Dalish to appear during times of great need
- Hanin: glory.
- Harel: To trick or deceive. Dreaded, frightening, causing fear.
- Harillen: opposition
- Hellathen: noble struggle
- Him: become
- In: with or inside; dwell.
- Inan: eyes. Literally: "inside place" or "dwelling place" - i.e. windows to the soul.
- Ir: very, more; I'm/I am
- Iras: where.
- Irassal: wherever.
- Isala: in need of.
- La: and.
- Las: grant, give.
- Lath: love.
- Len: child.
- Lethallin; Lethallan: Casual reference used for someone with whom one is familiar. Lethallin is used for males, while lethallan is used for females, but this is not always the case.  Akin to "cousin" or "clansman" since "lin" is the word for blood. See talk page for more information.
- Lin: blood.
- Ma: my, mine, OR you, your
- Mahvir: tomorrow.
- Mala: your.
- Mamae: Mother.
- Mana: distant past; long amount of time.
- Melana: time.
- Melanada: all time. 
- Melava: time, past tense.
- Mi: blade.
- Mi'durgen: diamond, literally 'blade stone'.
- Mien'harel: rebellion (or else a violent call for justice, depending on the interpretation), normally a city elf term; a concept that when humans push the elven population too far they must remind them that even a "short blade" must be respected.
- Mir: my.
- mirthadra: honored.
- Na: your; is
- Nan: revenge; vengeance.
- Ne: you.
- Nehn: joy.
- Numin: cry, tears.
- Nuvenin: want, need.
- Renan: voice.
- Revas: freedom.
- Revasan: "The place where freedom dwells". 
- Sa: one.
- Sahlin: now, in this moment.
- Samahl: laugh, laughter.
- Sa'vunin: a single day.
- Serannas: grateful, appreciative.
- Seth: thin, tenuous.
- Setheneran: Land of waking dreams. A place where the Veil is thin. Literally: "Tenuous waking dream place".
- Shem: quick, fast.
- Shemlen: Literally "quick children". The original name of the elves for the human race. It continues to see use as a slang term amongst the City Elves ("Shems") even though its meaning has largely been lost.
- Shiral: journey.
- Solas: Pride, to stand tall.
- Solasan: a prideful place.
- Somniar: to dream.
- Souveri: weary, tired.
- Sumeil: close, near.
- Suv: happen.
- Sulahn'nehn: joy/happiness.
- Sulahn: sing.
- Suledin: endure, strength to withstand loss. See enasal for doing so successfully
- Sulevin: certain, purpose.
- Tan: three.
- Taren: mind.
- Tel: not; often used to negate the noun/verb that proceeds it.
- Then: awake, alert.
- Theneras: dream.
- Tu: to make, to cause.
- U: alone.
- Uth: long, forever, never ending, eternal.
- Uthenera: Waking sleep; immortal. Uthenera was the name of the ancient practice of immortal elves who would "sleep" once they tired of life. Literally: "Eternal waking dream".
- Vallasdahlen: Life-trees. Trees planted in remembrance of those who dedicated their lives to the Dalish kingdom, that grew into a mighty wood.
- Vallaslin: Blood writing. The art of tattooing adopted by some elves to more prominently (and some might say belligerently) display their worship of the traditional elven pantheon.
- Ven: to go.
- Venavis: stop. 
- Vhen: "people of" or "belonging to the elves, the clans, elven society".
- Vhenadahl: The tree of the people.
- Vhen'alas: The land itself, as in "the ground". Literally: "our earth".
- Vhenallin: “friends of the People” 
- Vhenan: heart.
- Vhenas: home.
- Vir: way or path.
- Vissanalla: translation unknown
- Vunin: day.
The Elvish Eulogy
hahren na melana sahlin
elder your time is come
Suledin (Endure) - an Elven Song
The elven song Suledin is played during the dungeon escape portion of the Leliana's Song DLC. (This is yet to be confirmed, for the only thing close enough to Suledin in Leliana's Song is Inon Zur's "Captivity". It does include the lines "lath aravel ena" and "ir sa lethalin", but otherwise the lyrics are different - the ni-la/neela part, for example) The song is about enduring and emerging from sorrow, tied to the elves' loss of their ancient lands. It is adapted to personal struggles, as well.
Melava inan enansal
Time was once a blessing
I Am the One
Played at the end credits of Dragon Age: Origins and included in the soundtrack, 'I Am the One' features elven lyrics written by Inon Zur. A translation for the song can be found in Codex entry: "I Am The One".
Heruamin oh lonai
Scratchings Found Under a Pillar in Skyhold
from the codex entry On Skyhold
Var'landivalis him sa'bellanaris san elgar
Melanada him sa'miras fena'taldin (word missing)
Nadasalin telrevas ne suli telsethenera
Tarasyl'an te'las vehn'ir abelath'vir (word missing)
Our belief transformed into everything. (assertation/problem? uncertain)
All time is transformed into the final/first death (uncertain),
Inevitable/threatened victory and horrible/promised freedom in the untorn veils, (uncertain)
Where the sky is held up/back, where the people give/gain love that is an apology/promise from/to....(missing subject, uncertain)
Mir Da'len Somniar - a Dalish Lullaby
Found in Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume 2 and The Seer's Yarn.
Elgara vallas, da'len
Iras ma ghilas, da'len
Sun sets, little one,
Where will you go, little one
Never fear, little one,
Where Willows Wail
Tel’enara bellana bana’vhenadahl,
We/it lost eternity or the ruined tree of the People
Constructing Elvish: Examples of Phrases
- da'assan: little arrow
- da'mi: little blade
- da'vhenan: little heart
- emm'asha: my girl
- ma sa'lath: my one love
- ma'arlath: my love
- ma emma lath: you are my love
- vhenan'ara: heart's desire
- elvhen'alas: dirt elves
- len'alas lath'din: dirty child no one loves
- seth'lin: thin blood
- Ar'din nuvenin na'din: I don't want to kill you.
- Ar tu na'din: I will kill you.
- Ar tu na'lin emma mi: I will see your blood on my blade.
- Emma shem'nan: My revenge is swift.
- Halam sahlin: This ends now.
- Ma emma harel: You should fear me.
- Ma halam: You are finished.
Many words of Elvish are made up of contractions of smaller words. For instance, "Arlathan" means, "this place that I love". Deconstructing it, we arrive at Ar: I or me; Lath: love; and An: place. We know that this is correct, because: "lath" is used later in the eulogy poem to mean "love"; "an" is seen as a suffix in the word "Elvhenan", meaning "the place of our people", which is a direct extension of "Elvhen", meaning "our people". By elimination, "Ar" becomes the personal pronoun. In the same way, many other words can be deconstructed into their individual components.
While "ar" exists as a personal pronoun, often times in a sentence, that pronoun is dropped. For example, "Ir abelas," can translate to "I am filled with sorrow for your loss," or, more colloquially, "I'm very sorry," with "ir" meaning "I" and "abelas" meaning "sorrow." So the predicate itself is enough to imply that "I" am the one who is expressing the sorrow.
- "Mamae? Mamae na mara san...": The panicked phrases of a lost child. It is known that "mamae" means "mother", and "na" is "your", but "Mara" and "san" are a different matter. "Ma" (you) and "ar" (i, me) don't offer any clues. "San" looks like a contraction of "sa" and "an", so, one place. Since the boy seems to be in a panic, and it is clear that he's looking for her, it's reasonable to assume that this is the gist of his statement, as well. So, "Mother your [mara] one place...", so "mara" can be parsed as "i can't find" or "where is". A reasonable translation would be, "Mama, I can't find you..." or "Mama, where is the place..."
- "Viran se lan'aan? Ir annala for ros... Nae! Ga rahn s'dael! Ga rahn! Ir emah'la shal! Ir emah'la shal!": These sentences are spoken by the ghostly elven mother in the crypt where you get the Juggernaut armour. A possible translation: "How did you people find the path to this place? This place has been lost for centuries. No! Get away from our tree! Get away! You are desecrating my grave! You are desecrating my grave!"
- "Viran se lan'aan?": "Vir" and "an" mean "the path" and "this place", respectively, so "the path to this place". If "se" is assumed to be a pronoun (since "lan'aan" is a bit long for that), then, going off of "sa" as "one" and "-en" as a plural, one could extrapolate "se" as possibly a plural "you". In that case, since it is a question, it can be assumed that she is asking "How did you people find the path to this place?", since that is a reasonable thing to be asking. Then, "lan'aan" would mean "how to find".
- "Nae! Ga rahn s'dael! Ga rahn!": This is a very difficult part, because there's so little to go on. "Nae" might be "no", but "na" means "your". There is no precedent for "ga rahn", but "s'dael" could be broken down as: "sa" - one; "adahl" - tree; and "el" - our. Taking that on faith, the sentence might read something like, "No! Get away from our tree! Get away!"
- "Ir annala for ros...": "Ir" means "very", and "annar" means "years", so it is reasonable to assume that "annala" has to do with a measurement of time in years. Perhaps it means "centuries". So, it begins with "A very many years or centuries", and then "for ros" has no precedent. Taking it together with the last line, it is highly probable that it means "This place has been lost for very many centuries."
- "Ir emah'la shal!": "ir" (very). Deconstructing "emah'la": "emma" (my); "alas" (dirt, earth); "halam" (ending); "shiral" (journey) - all of these words contain elements similar to this compound word. It could possibly mean "the ground of my end", or, more loosely, "my grave". So, "My grave is very..." something. Perhaps "shal" means sacred, or desecrated. So, loosely, "You are desecrating my grave!"
- "Ir tel'him": "Him" means "become" or "transform," and "tel" seems to be often used to negate the verb/noun that follows - for example, tel'abelas translates into "I'm not sorry." So, here, "tel'him" could mean, "not changing/transforming." "Ir" usually means "very" or "more," but, in this case, it can be indirectly translated as "any more." So, put together, "ir tel'him" could translate into, "I'm not changing/transforming anymore," which would be another way of saying, "I'm me again."
- "Dar'Misu; Dar'Misaan": "Dar" means "to be", and they both have "mi" in common, so it is possible that "mi" is "blade", and "su" means "happen", and "u" means "alone". So, "dar'misu" could translate, roughly, to "this blade acts alone" or "this blade happens". "Sa" is "one" and "an" is "place". A possible translation: Dar'Misu: "to be a blade that acts alone" - daggers being the weapon of choice for rogues; Dar'Misaan: "to be a blade of one place" - long swords being the weapon of choice for a sword-and-shield defender.
- "Dirth ma, harellan. Ma banal enasalin. Mar solas ena mar din.": "Dirth" relates to knowledge,truth, and secrets and "ma" is used for both first person singulars and possessives so "Dirth ma" could mean "my truth" or "I know" with "harellan" translating to trickster or traitor. "Ma" is again you or I, "banal" is a negative so no, none, nothing, etc., and "ensalin" is victory so "Ma banal ensalin" is probably something like "You will not have victory" or, colloquially, "You will lose." The final sentence, uses "mar", similar to "ma", "solas" or pride, "ena" like "to lead to" or "will lead to", and "din" meaning death. Therefore, the whole thing should be something like "I know, traitor. You will fail. Your pride will lead to your death."
- The elven language as used in the games is actually a cipher.