Goblin Speech

by | May 7, 2013 | Behind the Pages | 0 comments

One of the things that readers have found most interesting about the goblins of Firehurler is their language. While many races have their own languages, the goblins come as close as you can get to being unpronounceable to humans without actually crossing that threshold.

The Sounds

The goblin language is largely guttural, with the hard consonant sounds anchoring syllables. Vowels, while not unheard of, are reserved for words and names of significance, particularly those of the dragon-gods. Goblins do not use the soft diphthongs “sh” and “th” that human languages employ.

In imagining the sounds of the goblins language, consider the sounds you make when teaching a child the sounds that individual letters make: “k”, “t”, “p”, etc. Now speed up your recitation. Now add in compound sounds like “tk”, “zg”, and “lr”. The result is a snapping, popping, clicking language that has nearly no flow to it.

While humans (and most other creatures with vocal chords) have troubles speaking the goblin tongue, the goblins have similar troubles with more vowel-rich languages. The goblins find such languages exhausting to speak, given all the hooting an bellowing involved.


The goblins have a longstanding history with dragonkind. For countless ages the dragons have protected the goblin race in exchange for service and worship. Over time, the goblins incorporated the draconic language into their own and eventually the draconic elements superseded the original goblin. Due to the aforementioned limitations in goblin vocal capabilities, the goblin tongue is much more of a clipped, abbreviated version of the dragons’ language. All dragons can understand goblin speech, even if they only knew their own language. To dragons, the goblins sound boorish and unintelligent due to their “poor” verbal skills.

Read the story, The Two Goblins


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