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," 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.
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.
Ancient Dwarvish tongue
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 Age 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. In this case, kara means "wolf" and meir means "cub".
Another word known to come directly from the ancient dwarvish tongue is Hugi, which literally means "personification of thought". 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. The art of crystal singing is also deeply rooted in the elvish language, although the exact relationship between the two is unclear.
Cats are an intelligent race of felines with their own languages. They were brought into Gielinor by Guthix. 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.
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.
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 simplified version of the common tongue. In the modern day, the language is nearly forgotten. The Dorgeshuun of Dorgesh-Kaan have studied the language, and have documented it to a degree.
The 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. Some of the few goblin words still in use are the names of the 12 goblin tribes, such as the Thorobshuun and Garagorshuun.
The names of the tribes of other Yu'biuskian races are similar in nature to the goblin words, suggesting there may have been one universal language when Bandos found Yu'biusk.
The Icyenic language is a language spoken by the Icyenes from the world Hallow. As the Icyene are devoted followers of Saradomin, they have mostly adopted the common human tongue and don't use their native language a lot. 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.
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. 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.
The kurasks have a basic language, known to the human world thanks to Skuhavi, a Kurask banished for his interest in humans. 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.
The Mahjarrat tribe is known to possess a language of its own, which it brought to Gielinor from Freneskae in the Second Age. Perhaps because the Mahjarrat have been so deeply involved with other races during its 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." It is probable that this spell was cast in the Mahjarrat language, again indicating its potency in magic.
Mahjarrat language is said to be very harmful when heard by humans. According to Azzanadra, if a human would hear words in the Mahjarrat language, their "ears would melt from the side of their head."
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.
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.
A language spoken in Forinthry during the Second Age. 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, Old Forinthryan is riddled with "dialectic idiosyncrasies".
Old Gnomish is a language traditionally spoken by the gnome race. It was used regularly by the gnomes of the Gnome Empire up until the late Fourth Age, when the race began to experience more regular interaction with other races. Today, most gnomes still speak Old Gnomish, but the common tongue has largely become the dominant language of the race. Many Old Gnomish terms have been made common knowledge via dictionaries.
Instances of the language's modern use can be found throughout the Gnome Empire; for instance, gnome glider pilots still use maps bearing Old 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.
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 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.
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 will physically harm most races if heard. 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.
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.
The TzHaar that inhabit Karamja Volcano still regularly speak the TzHaar Language, 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. Many TzHaar terms have been revealed in the past, most either through the Wise Old Man's translations 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. This has been passed on to the TzHaar of today, who will speak the common tongue to those visiting the city.
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, but also 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.
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. 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.
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 probable that the language was derived at least partially from that of dragons or the dragonkin. Given that the wyvern race was largely unintelligent, it is likely that the language is fairly simple. Postie Pete claims to speak wyvern, implying that it has not completely died out.
- Some languages in RuneScape are based on languages in real life:
- ^ Jagex. "God Letter 16 - Guthix Dispels Rumours, 5" RuneScape God Letters.
- ^ a b Jagex. "God Letter 25 - Guthix Reiterates, 4 and 6" RuneScape God Letters.
- ^ Postie Pete, "Castle Wars", RuneScape. "So would you be if you could speak over 1000 languages."
- ^ T.S. Church. Betrayal at Falador, (67). Babel Interactive Ltd., 2008.
- ^ Jagex. T. S. Church's Twitter account. 6 April 2015. T. S. Church: "Taxing my memory I think it was 'Wolf-Cub.' Kara was Wolf in my mind."
- ^ Librarian, RuneScape. "Hugi, my parents named me that, it means 'personification of thought' in the ancient dwarvish tongue."
- ^ 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."
- ^ 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."
- ^ 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!"
- ^ Jagex. Postbag 35 - "Transcript:But how do you pruh-nounce Rell-doh?", Letter 4. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
- ^ Bob, RuneScape. "Cats were the second thing Guthix brought here, after sheep of course."
- ^ Jagex. "The Legend of Arrav, Part I, Section 2." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
- ^ 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."
- ^ Jagex. Postbag 23 - "Transcript:Wise old musings and demonic drills", Letter 5. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
- ^ Jagex. Postbag 38 - "Transcript:What's the matter, Jad? Chicken?", Letter 5. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
- ^ Jagex. "The Fall of Six, Ruination." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
- ^ Azzanadra, "The Temple at Senntisten", RuneScape. "That is the human name for it. (...) Were your ears to hear its true name, terrible and primeval as it is, they would melt from the side of your head."
- ^ Jagex. "Roots in the Community." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
- ^ Jagex. "God Letter 26 - Saradomin Preaches, 8" RuneScape God Letters.
- ^ 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."
- ^ a b Jagex. Postbag 14 - "Transcript:The woeful tale of the bunny ears.", Wise Old Tips. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
- ^ a b Jagex. Postbag 12 - "Transcript:Rats, Pirates and the Wise Old Man!", Wise old tips. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.
- ^ Jagex. "The Excellent Log of the Journeys and Tribulations of Samuel Scourduel, Part II, Section 2." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
- ^ T.S. Church. Betrayal at Falador, (258). Babel Interactive Ltd., 2008.