Draconic is the language of dragons, an impressive serpentine race and one of the oldest living races. The dragon god Io is credited with creating the draconic script, lokharic. Draconic is one of the oldest languages in the mortal world and dragons believe that every other mortal tongue was derived from draconic.
Draconic is so ancient that some believe that ignidracos, one of the ancestors of true dragons created the language. Apart from dragons, reptilian races and races with dragon ancestry also speak draconic. Typical speakers of this language will then include Dragons, Dragonborn, Lizardfolk, Wyverns, Troglodytes, and Kobolds.
As expected of every language spoken widely, draconic has several dialects. Common dialects of draconic are Tymantheran and Yipyak. The language has remained mostly unchanged since its creation. The only known variant of draconic is Aragrakh.
As a language spoken by several races, it is expected that there would be minor variations in the language as spoken by the different races although they all have a common base. Variations in the tongue can be observed even among the different types of dragons. Amongst chromatic dragons, different dialects were spoken with minute variations from the original tongue in what can be called regional accents.
Metallic dragons, on the other hand, all spoke with a uniform tongue. Dragons living in Laerakond also had a unique dialect which they called Aklave. The Aklave dialect is quite similar to the Torilian dialect that if you can speak one fluently, you would understand the other. The Dragonborn race has its draconic dialect known as Tymantheran likewise, the Kobolds spoke a form of draconic called Yipyak.
Dragonborn of Tymanther spoke a regional dialect of draconic called Tymantheran. It is said to be more nasal and sounds softer than the original draconic. Tymantheran words have elongated syllables and are based on the Aklave, the draconic dialect from Abeir.
Kobolds speak draconic with an accent that sounds like the yapping of a dog, hence the name yipyap.
Is Draconic a Real Language?
Yes, it is the language of dragons, races with dragon ancestry, and reptilian races in D&D. It is an ancient mortal language from which every other mortal language was derived as believed by dragons.
How Does Draconic Sound?
Dragons are serpentine so it is expected that they make hissing sounds. Draconic therefore sounds like hissing but can also sound like a beast clearing its throat. Draconic words are emphasized on the first syllable and speakers of the language are known to convey important ideas by emphasizing the beginnings and ends of words.
This emphasis is used by dragons to make threats, give commands, warn or simply make points. The language has rich phonology with more contrasting sounds than English but with fewer vowels.
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Below are the alphabets of the draconic language as well as that of the English language. This is for easy translation of words from draconic to English, and vice-versa.
English Alphabet: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Draconic Alphabet: E b c d e f g h se j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Draconic is based on the Iokharic script which is shown in the image below. It has 27 alphabets and writing in Roman letters is possible.
How to Pronounce Draconic Letters
(A, a) is always pronounced /a/ except in the digraph (ae) which is pronounced /æ/. This alphabet may be doubled to lengthen the vowel (⟨aa⟩ – /aː/) but the digraph (ae) cannot be lengthened.
The draconic pronunciation of the letter (B, b) is /b/.
Pronounced /kʷ/ on its own, but in the digraph ⟨ch⟩, it is pronounced /x/. When preceded by (K, k), (C, c) is pronounced /x/.
Letter (D, d) is pronounced simply as /d/.
(E, e) is usually pronounced /e/ except when followed by (a) where it is pronounced as (i). In draconic, letter (E, e) may be doubled to lengthen the vowel (⟨ee⟩ – /eː/).
The letter (F, f) is pronounced /f/ and when doubled, it is pronounced /fː/.
(G, g) is usually pronounced /g/ and occurs in the following digraphs: (gh) which is pronounced /ɣG, (gn) pronounced /ɲ/, and (ng) pronounced /ŋ/.
(H, h) is pronounced /h/.
The letter (‘) is a draconic letter pronounced /ʔ/. It is never used at the start of a word and is written as an apostrophe in the roman transcription of draconic.
(I, i) is normally pronounced /i/, but decays to /j/ when it occurs before a vowel. This letter may be doubled to lengthen the vowel (⟨ii⟩ – /iː/).
Pronounced /ʒ/ except in the digraph ⟨jh⟩ which is pronounced /ʝ/.
(K, k) in draconic is pronounced /k/, but is pronounced /kʰ/ but in the digraph (kh).
The letter (L, l⟩ is pronounced /l/. In the digraph ⟨lh⟩ in which it also occurs, it is pronounced /ɬ/.
(M, m) is pronounced /m/ in draconic.
(N, n) is pronounced /n/ but when followed by (K, k) is pronounced /ŋ/. It also occurs in some in digraphs where the pronunciation changes. In ⟨gn⟩, pronounced /ɲ/; and in ⟨ng⟩ pronounced /ŋ/.
The letter ⟨O o⟩ is usually pronounced /o/. In the digraph ⟨oe⟩ however, it is pronounced /ɘ/. It is possible to double this letter to lengthen the vowel (⟨oo⟩ – /oː/). Digraph ⟨oe⟩ cannot be lengthened.
Letter (P, p) is pronounced /p/. It also occurs in the digraph (ph) which is pronounced /pʰ/.
This letter is pronounced /q/, except in the digraph (qh) which is pronounced /qʰ/.
(R, r) pronounced /r/, except in the digraph (rh) which is pronounced /ʀ/. (R, r) can be doubled which in this case is pronounced /ʁ/.
(S, s) is pronounced /s/ but occurs in the following digraphs where the pronunciation changes. (sj), pronounced /ç/; (sv), pronounced /sʷ/; (sh), pronounced /ʃ/. You can double (S, s) either alone or in any of these digraphs to lengthen the sound. In this case, ⟨ss⟩ = /sː/, ⟨ssj⟩ = /çː/, ⟨ssv⟩ = /sʷː/, ⟨ssh⟩ = /ʃː/.
The letter (T, t) is pronounced /t/ but occurs in the digraph (th), pronounced /θ/. Letter (T, t) can be doubled and is pronounced /tʰ/ in this case.
Letter ⟨U, u⟩ is pronounced /u/. When doubled to lengthen the vowel it becomes (⟨uu⟩ – /uː/).
In draconic, the letter (V, v) is normally pronounced /v/ but it exists in the digraph (vh) which is pronounced /ʍ/.
(W, w) is pronounced /w/.
(X, x) is pronounced /ks/.
Letter (Y, y) is pronounced /j/ but is pronounced /ai/ when adjacent to a consonant.
The letter (Z, z) in draconic is pronounced /z/.
English translation of some popular draconic words is provided below. If you wish to translate more words, you can use the draconic translator on www.draconic.twilightrealm.com/ to do so. This translator has draconic translations of close to 8000 English words.
Writing in draconic is usually from left to right with one sentence per line. It is possible to write very short sentences on the same line, separated by large space. A sentence that is longer than a line will be wrapped and indented.
When writing draconic in roman letters, hyphens are often used to separate morphemes in compound words but this is not possible in the native Iokharic script as compound words are simply written with nothing between the morphemes. In draconic, numerals are written using the base-10 place system, however, the most significant digit is written on the right, rather than the left.
Now you can understand the draconic language of D&D 5e better as translations of some common draconic words to English have been provided in this post. Also, a link to a draconic translator is provided if you need to translate more words.