As one of the oldest living races native to the world, dragons speak one of the most ancient mortal languages. When the mortal races beheld the gods, each heard the divine Supernal language in its own unique fashion depending on its shape and demeanor. Thus the foundational languages of the world arose, including Draconic.
Io created the Draconic script, Iokharic, so his mortal children could record their impressions of the world he hoped they would inherit. Both the language and the script survive to the present day.
Dragon-related races, including dragonborn and kobolds, also speak Draconic and use Iokharic. Some individuals among these races take great pride in their use of the same tongue that rumbles from the scaled lips of ancient wyrms, although others curse their lineage. Most, however, rarely give it a thought.
As with all languages, variations and dialects based on the order or race of the speaker abound within the Draconic tongue. Students of dialects can potentially discern a dragon’s variety, scales unseen. Though accents are sometimes thick, such variation rarely hampers communication. Languages derived from Supernal are robust enough to resist natural alternations that would render distant populations of speakers unintelligible to each other.
The audible footprint of Draconic grates on the ears of other creatures and includes several hard consonants and sibilants. It employs sounds that humans describe as hissing (sj, ss, and sv), as well as a noise that sounds like a beast clearing its throat (ach).
Draconic words have emphasis on the first syllable. Speakers of Draconic express important ideas by emphasizing the beginnings and the ends of words. Writers who use Iokharic mark important words with a special symbol of five lines radiating outward like the rays of a star or like the heads of Tiamat. Dragons might use this form of emphasis when referring to themselves, as well as when commanding, threatening, warning, or making a point.
Dragons have a long history of impressive, terrible names capable of generating fear when merely spoken. A dragon’s name has no intrinsic power; rather, the dragon associated with a name is so fearsome that any listener familiar with the dragon’s exploits might be stricken with associative fright. Listeners shudder when they hear of the exploits of Dragotha, the undead dragon. They cry out in amazement to learn of the dragon Ashardalon, who replaced his own heart with a demon heart. Who can forget Cyan Bloodbane, who nearly destroyed the ancient elven nation of Silvanesti on the world of Krynn?
Dragon names can do more than engender fear. They can also inspire dreams of valor. A wealth of myths, legends, and heroic stories name dragons defeated by brave knights, powerful wizards, and lucky or sly commoners. By their nature, dragons command attention when named. People throughout the world feel dragons’ actions, schemes, and even dreams. From a wyrmling named Aussir raiding sheep to mighty Ashardalon feasting on preincarnate souls, dragons’ names command attention. To many, such names embody the magic inherent in the world.
Dragons come from many different orders. Even within those groups of similar dragons, different naming conventions apply. Some dragons receive their names from their parents even before they hatch. Others name themselves only after living long enough to find a need for a name. Some dragons might receive names from other creatures that know of their exploits. A dragon might take a new name midway through its life, either to commemorate a great victory or to combat the ennui of a life that can stretch for a succession of centuries.
This section presents a selection of English words and their Draconic counterparts.