The Almanac of Ye Olde Heresy Online
Or a Guide to the Old World, as compiled by Vaz the Great
(well, this section is done by me, Dafistofmork the Greater)
Hello, and welcome to the heresy online Almanac. This chapter expains how to speak the language of the Dwarfs, or Khazalid as they call it. I will begin by expaining a little of the background of Khazalid, so that you will understand the honour I am to bestow upon you by unveiling the secrets of the Dwarf tongue.
Originally Posted by Previous Dwarf Army Book
The ancient high language of the Dwarfs is called Khazalid. It is a deeply conservative language that has not changed noticeably in many thousands of years either in its spoken form or written ‘runic’ form. The Dwarfs are very proud of their tongue which they rarely speak in the company of other races and never teach to other creatures. To humans it is the ‘secret tongue of the Dwarfs’, occasionally overheard, but never properly understood.
The Dwarf language includes very few words of obviously human or Elvish origin. By contrast there are many loan words from Khazalid in the tongue of Men. This is most obviously so the case of words to do with traditional Dwarvish craftskills of masonry and smithying, skills which Men learned from Dwarfs many centuries past. These loans from Khazalid mean that some Dwarf words sound very similar to equivalent human words.
Of course, some Khazalid words are all too familiar to the enemies of the Dwarfs- namely the fearsome battlecries, oaths, and curses of the Dwarfs at war. Of these the most famous is the cry of ‘Khazukan Kazakit-ha’ or its shortened form of, ‘Khazuk! Khazuk! Khazuk!’ which means ‘Look out! The Dwarfs are on the warpath’. It is also usual for Dwarfs to call upon their ancestor gods during battle. It is said that the guttural sound of Dwarfs bellowing Grungni’s name is enough to make an Elf’s knees knock and a Goblin turn a sickly shade of yellow!
The sound of Khazalid is not much like human speech and very unlike the melodious sound of Elvish. Comparisons have been drawn to the rumble of thunder. All Dwarfs have very deep, resonant voices and a tendency to speak louder than strictly necessary. This can make Dwarfs sound rowdy and irascible- which for the most part mirrors Dwarvish temperament. Khazalid vowel sounds in particular are uncompromisingly precise and heavily accented. Consonants are often spat aggressively or gargled at the back of the throat as if attempting to dislodge a recalcitrant gobbet of phlegm. A drinking hall full of loud, drunken Dwarfs sounds like a frightening place even when the fists are not flying- which isn’t often.
The vocabulary of Khazalid ably reflects the unique preoccupations of the Dwarf race. There are hundreds of words for different types of rocks, for passages and tunnels, and most kinds of precious metals. Indeed, there are hundreds of words for gold alone, reflecting on its qualities of colour, lustre, purity and hardness. When Dwarfs gather for an evening’s drinking, which is most evenings, a popular entertainment is the Gold Song. During the Gold Song the Dwarfs sing about gold and each drinker sings a verse in turn. Each Dwarf must use a different word for gold when he sings his verse, and any Dwarf who repeats a word already sung or who is unable to think of another word pays a forfeit. As the forfeit is inevitably to buy another round of drinks a Dwarf will often invent a new word for gold rather than admit defeat. If this new word goes unchallenged then he avoids the forfeit and another word for gold is invented.
In their dealings with others dwarfs choose their words carefully. A Dwarf will not venture an opinion on anything that he has not considered deeply, and once his mind is made up you can be sure his view is as immovable as a mountain. Dwarfs don’t change their opinions except in the face of overwhelming necessity- and not always then. Many would rather die stubbornly than admit a mistake that costs them their life! For this reason Dwarfs take oaths and promises vary seriously indeed, and this extends to their business affairs even those with other races. In all the Dwarf language the word Unbaraki is the most condemning of all- it means ‘oathbreaker’.
Given how seriously Dwarfs treat words their sense of humour tends to be especially unnerving. A common jest takes the form whereby two or more Dwarfs conspire to make another feel uncomfortable by pretending to know something about his circumstances, state of health, or past life that in reality they do not. This can go on for hours, days or many years and is generally reckoned to be very funny indeed. More commonly a Dwarf might make some provocative statement, wait for another to take offence, and then start a fight. Surprisingly these things tend to be in good humour, much back slapping and mutual congratulations with honour considered to have been satisfied all round.
The next section will be on the runic script, or the Klinkarhun