Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

D&D Languages

Language

Updated for 5th edition

Language Typical Speakers Script
Abyssal Demons, chaotic evil outsiders Infernal
Aquan Water-based creatures Elven
Auran Air-based creatures Draconic
Celestial Celestials (angels, devas) Celestial
Common Humans, halflings, half-elves, half-orcs Common
Deep Speech Mind flayers, beholders
Draconic Kobolds, troglodytes, lizardfolk, dragons, dragonborn Draconic
Druidic Druids (only) Druidic
Dwarvish Dwarves Dwarvish
Elvish Elves Elvish
Giant Ogres, giants Dwarvish
Gnomish Gnomes Dwarvish
Goblin Goblinoids, hobgoblins, bugbears Dwarvish
Gnoll Gnolls Common
Halfling Halflings Common
Ignan Fire-based creatures Draconic
Infernal Devils, Tieflings Infernal
Orc Orcs Dwarvish
Primordial Elementals Dwarvish
Sylvan Fey creatures (dryads, brownies, leprechauns) Elvish
Terran Xorns and other earth-based creatures Dwarven
Undercommon Drow, Underdark traders Elvish

Animals, Plants, Vermin, and Oozes typically do not have languages.

Constructs, Deathless, Undead, and Elementals are usually created and understand the language of their creator.

Aberrations are just freaky, and may or may not speak any known language.

This list isn’t intended to be a list of all D&D languages. For one thing, it doesn’t include all race-specific languages. The grell language, for example, is only spoken by the grell. One source says that other creatures cannot learn the grell language. There are a few other languages that are  race-specific, such as the Slaad. I will not attempt to keep this list updated with every monster in the multiverse that has their own race-specific language.

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33 responses to “D&D Languages

  1. Brandon Vipperman December 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Awe, I was hoping for fonts to use…

  2. Anonymous January 28, 2015 at 11:11 am

    this list of languages doesn’t say anything about tieflings…

    • Ronny January 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Tieflings can speak, read, and write Common and Infernal.

    • Anonymous February 11, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Tieflings speak abyssal

      • Ronny February 12, 2017 at 10:48 am

        There is a Unearthed Arcana with optional rules for abyssal tieflings that can speak, read, and write Abyssal instead of Infernal. The tiefling in the Player’s Handbook only have Common and Infernal.

    • Anonymous February 14, 2017 at 11:57 am

      shows tiefling under infernal right there

      • Anonymous June 23, 2017 at 10:58 am

        You sir, are inept. Players Handbook (the core rulebook) says tieflings speak, read, and write Common and Infernal. There was an additional variant LATER released offering a different kind of tiefling that INSTEAD knows Abyssal; they are not the same branch of tiefling. This page specifically refers to the Player’s Handbook version.

  3. Anonymous March 29, 2015 at 11:01 am

    You’re forgetting Thieves’ Cant.

    • Ronny March 29, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      I can see where you could make an argument for including thieves’ cant in this list, but I never thought of it s a true language. As per the Player’s Handbook, it is “a secret mix of dialect, jargon, and code that allows you to hide messages in seemingly norm al conversation. Only another creature that knows thieves’ cant understands such messages.”

  4. Robbed June 30, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Can a player learn more languages other then the starting ones in the new 5e books?

    • Ronny June 30, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Hi, Robbed.
      When creating your character, you can replace tool proficiencies with languages on a one-for-one basis.
      Some class features let you learn additional languages. With the Cleric Knowledge Domain you learn two languages of your choice. 13th level Monk learns to touch the ki of other minds so that he understand all spoken languages. Rangers learn one language of their choice that is spoken by their favored enemies. A (rogue) thief learns skills useful for reading unfamiliar languages. And, of course, there are magical spells and items.
      The Linguist Feat allows you to learn three languages of your choice.
      As a house rule, if I had a player that wanted to do it, I think that I would allow a character to learn another language in his down time. For each language I would have him subtract his intelligence score from 40 to determine the number of days required and the cost would be 2 gold pieces for each day. And I might limit the number of languages he could learn this way to a maximum of his INT modifier.
      One thing that others have done is to allow some type of intelligence check. I am not in favor of this. If the player has some good in-game reason to know another language I would find a way to let him learn it. I wouldn’t risk him not learning it because he made a bad roll of the dice.

  5. Iovas January 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    What classifies as a secret language? Trying to build a rogue with a sailor origin

    • Ronny January 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      A secret language is just a language that you are not permitted to teach to an outsider. I think that Druidic and thieves’ cant are the only ones in the basic rules, but your DM may have others in his world.
      Unless your DM says otherwise, thieves’ cant is the secrete language of thieves. If your rogue is or was previously a thief he will know that. If your character is or was a pirate your DM may allow you to know thieves’ cant, or perhaps there is a special dialect of thieves’ cant that pirates use.

  6. Anonymous August 2, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Deep speech is usually spoken by aberrations not just beholders and mind flayers. Plus Primidorial is composed of the Terran, Aquan, Auran and Ignan dialects, they are not desperate languages.

  7. DL October 23, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    What about others that are race-specific, such as Gith or Slaad? Probably not worth adding them all?

  8. KG October 25, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Hey, is there a way for me to find translators? I have D&D-inspired characters in a story/forum game I’m involved in, and I need translators to show how they speak. Any ideas?

    • Ronny October 26, 2016 at 8:31 am

      I would just recommend a Google search for each particular language to see if anyone has worked it out for whichever language you need. I know I have seen one for Draconic (it may have been called Draconian). In this chapter of my “Dragon Hunt,” I go into some detail on a small portion of that language:
      https://olddungeonmaster.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/dragon-hunt-chapter-1-part-5-rebuilding-the-cabin/
      My guess is that you may find quite a lot on popular races, like Elvish and Dwarvish and not so much on the more obscure ones. Also try searches on other names for the languages, such as Elven, Elf-speak, etc.
      Another option would be to use a real language that sounds somewhat like you think the target language would sound (make sure it is a language that none of your players know).
      Good luck and please share your findings.

  9. Anonymous February 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    vinxa ihk wer chart coita zi klael 🙂

  10. Jess August 1, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Hello!
    I am currently playing as a tabaxi in 5e and know Elvish, Common and Celestial, but I was wondering if as a result I would be able to read languages with Elven script, such as Aquan, Sylvan and Undercommon?

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