The Elven language, or "Elvish", was largely lost when Elvhenan fell to the Tevinter Imperium and its people were enslaved around two millennia before the Dragon Age. When the elves settled their second homeland, the Dales, they aimed to restore their lost language and lore, but the Dales fell after an Exalted March declared by the Chantry in the early Glory Age. Some clans, such as the ones encountered in The Stolen Throne, speak it fluently and exclusively. The Elvish of the Dragon Age is thus a fragmented remnant, a few words that are thrown into conversation rather than a working language used to conduct everyday life. The Dalish Elves, self-appointed custodians of the elven language and lore, use more Elvish than their City Elf brethren. Living among humans, the City Elves now retain only a few old Elvish words whose origin is almost forgotten, such as "shem" - derived from "shemlen", meaning "quickling", or "quick children" the old Elvish term for humans - and "hahren" - the leader of an Alienage, meaning "elder" in Elvish.
With the release of Dragon Age II, and Merrill's speech patterns, it has been determined that pronouns most likely carry an implied possessive. What this means for translation is that words like "ma" and "ar" can carry a "have" with them - "you have", "I have" - without actually needing to add in the "have" as a separate word.
Written Elvish Edit
The clan Keepers are the only ones who know the secret of writing Elven Language. The spelling system for Elvish contains an apostrophe to mark register tone, not to mark stress or to decorate text as per the usual usage of the apostrophe. It also indicates contraction points between two full words that cannot be reduced by adjoining letters.
Many of the words in the following list are extrapolations and deconstructions of words found in the games, done by parsing the order of meanings versus given words and comparisons of fragments to the meanings given.
Elvish phrases Edit
- Andaran atish’an (ahn-DAHR-ahn ah-TEESH-ahn): Enter this place in peace. A formal elven greeting. Literally: "I dwell in this place, a place of peace."
- Aneth ara (AH-neth AH-rah): A sociable or friendly greeting, more commonly used among the Dalish themselves rather than with outsiders. Literally: "My safe place".
- Ar lasa mala revas (ahr LAH-sah mah-lah ray-VAS): "You are (now) free."
- Arlathan (ahr-LATH-ahn): The major city of Elvhenan, original homeland of the elves, from the phrase "ar lath’an" meaning "I love the place". Alternatively, it could mean "place of meeting" from "arlath" meaning "meeting" as in "arlathvehn", and "an" meaning "place".
- Bellanaris Din'an Heem ("Make you dead." "Bellanaris Din'an" roughly translates to "eternal death," and "heem" is most likely a conjugation of the verb, "to become" (see "Him").):
- Dareth shiral (da-RETH shee-RAL): Used as a "farewell" it means, "Safe journey".
- Dirth'ena enasalin (DEHRTH eh-NAH en-ah-sah-LEEN): roughly translated as "knowledge that led to victory", the Elvish word for the Arcane Warrior or, more recently, Knight Enchanter disciplines
- Dirthara-ma (dehr-THAH-rah MAH): "May you learn." Used as a curse.
- Elvhenan (EL-vehn-ahn): Place of our people. The name of the elven civilization before the arrival of humans in Thedas. Also could be translated as: "Our hearts".
- Ara seranna-ma (AH-rah SEHR-ah-nah MAH): "Excuse me," as in after a sneeze or belch; this phrase may be differently conjugated depending on the speaker
- Halam'shivanas (hah-LAHM shee-vah-NAHS): The sweet sacrifice of duty
- Ir abelas (eer ah-ba-las): I am\I'm sorry.
- Ir abelas, ma vhenan (eer-ah-be-las ma ve-nan): "I am filled with sorrow for your loss, my heart."
- Ir tel'him (eer tel-HEEM): "I'm me again." However, a more literal translation would be: "I'm not transforming anymore." See "Deconstructing Elvish" for more details.
- Lathbora viran (Lath-BORA VEER-ahn): Roughly translated as "the path to a place of lost love," a longing for a thing one can never really know.
- Ma ghilana mir din'an (mah geeh-LAH-nah meer deen-AHN): Guide me into death.
- Ma melava halani (mah meh-LAH-vah hah-LAH-nee): You helped me.
- Mala suledin nadas (mah-lah soo-leh-DEEN nah-DAS): Now you must endure.
- Ma nuvenin (mah noo-VEY-nihn): As you wish.
- Ma vhenan (ma ve-nan): My heart (a term of endearment).
- Ma serannas (ma SEHR-ahn-ahs): My thanks (Thank you.).
- "Mamae? Mamae na mara san...": Spoken by the ghostly boy. "Mamae" probably means "mommy" or "momma"
- Mana. Ma halani.: Spoken by a Dalish Inquisitor in the quest Measuring the Veil. "Ma halani" is "Help me". In this context, "Mana" is an imperative verb, like "Stop" or "Wait".
- Melana en athim las enaste.: Now let humility grant favor.
- Tel'abelas (tel-ah-BEY-lahs): "I'm not [sorry]."
- Tel garas solasan: Come not to a prideful place.
- Telanadas: Nothing is inevitable.
- "Viran se lan'aan? Ir annala for ros... Nae! Ga rahn s'dael! Ga rahn! Ir emah'la shal! Ir emah'la shal!": Spoken by the ghostly elven mother in the crypt where you get the Juggernaut armour. See "Deconstructing Elvish", below, for details on both ghosts' possible meanings.
- Vir'abelasan (VEER ah-BEY-lah-SAN): The place of the way of sorrows. Refers to the Well of Sorrows.
Elvish Vocabulary Edit
- Adahl (ah-DAHL): tree/bush.
- Adahlen (AH-dah-len): forest.
- Alas (AH-lahs): earth, dirt.
- -An (AHN): suffix indicating place or location.
- Annar (AN-ahr): year.
- Ar (AHR): personal pronoun: I, me.
- Aravel (AHR-ah-vehl): A wagon used by the Dalish; literally a physical and spiritual path, a journey with purpose. Humans call them "landships."
- Arla (AHR-lah): home.
- Arlathvhen (ahr-LATH-vehn): Meeting of the Dalish clans, every ten years. Means "for love of the people."
- Asha (AH-sha): woman.
- Assan (ah-SAHN): arrow.
- Atisha (ah-TEE-shah): peace, peaceful.
- Athim: humility
- Banal (Buh-NAL): nothing, not, no
- Banalhan (Buh-NAL-Hahn): "The place of nothing," a name for the Blight or its place of origin.
- Banal'ras (Buh-NAL-Rahs): Shadow.
- Bel (BELL): many.
- Bellanaris: Eternity
- Bora (BOHR-ah): to throw, project, lose.
- Bor'assan (BOHR-ah-sahn): bow.
- Da (DAH): small, diminutive prefix.
- Dar (DAHR): to be.
- Da'len (dah-LEN): little child
- Dareth (dah-RETH): be safe.
- Din (DEEN): "not", or "isn't"; also used to indicate someone who has died: someone who is not.
- Dirth (DEHRTH): tell, speak. A term for knowledge, secrets.
- Dorf (DOHRF): grey.
- Durgen (DUHR-jen): stone.
- El (EHL): our.
- Elgar (EHL-gahr): spirit.
- Elvarel (EHL-vah-rehl): longer, more effort.
- Elvhen (EHL-vehn): "Our People". Elven name for their own race.
- Elvhenan (EHL-vehn-ahn): Place of our people. The name of the elven civilization before the arrival of humans in Thedas. Also could be translated as: "Our hearts".
- Emma (EM-mah): I am.
- -en (EHN): suffix indicating plural.
- Ena (eh-NAH): appear; emerge.
- Enasal (EHN-ah-sahl): joy in triumph over loss; a variation of joyful relief
- Enasalin (EHN-ah-sahl-IN): victory.
- Enansal (en-AHN-sahl): gift or blessing.
- Enaste (en-AH-steh): favor, approval.
- Era (EH-rah): story, tale, dream.[confirmation needed]
- Era'harel (EH-ra hah-REHL): demon-mage; similar to an arcane horror.
- Eth (ETH): safe.
- Falon (fah-LOHN): friend.
- Felas (FAY-lahs): slow.
- Felassan (FAY-lahs-AHN): slow arrow..
- Fen (FEHN): wolf.
- Fenedhis (FEN-ehd-is): common curse.
- Fenedhis lasa (FEN-ehd-is LA-sa): an expansion on Fenedhis, a common curse.
- Garas: come.
- Hahren (hah-REHN): Elder. Used as a term of respect by the Dalish, but more specifically for the leader of an alienage by the City Elves.
- Halam (hah-LAHM): the end, finished.
- Halamshiral (hah-LAHM-sheer-AHL): The end of the journey. Also the name of the capital of the second elven homeland in the Dales.
- Halani (hah-LAH-nee): help.
- Hamin (hah-MEEN): rest, relax.
- Hanal'ghilan (HAH-nal GHEE-lan): "the pathfinder;" Elvish name for the mythical golden halla said by the Dalish to appear during times of great need
- Harel (hah-REHL): To trick or deceive. Dreaded, frightening, causing fear.
- Harillen (hah-RILL-EHN): opposition
- Hellathen (Hell-a-THEN): noble struggle
- Him (HEEM): become
- In (EEN): with or inside; dwell.
- Inan (ee-NAHN): eyes. Literally: "inside place" or "dwelling place" - i.e. windows to the soul.
- Ir (EER): very, more; I'm/I am
- Isala (ee-SAH-lah): in need of.
- Las: grant
- Lath (LAHTH): Love.
- Len (LEHN): child.
- Lethallin; Lethallan (leth-ah-LEEN; leth-ah-LAHN): Casual reference used for someone with whom one is familiar. Lethallin is used for males, while lethallan is used for females, but this is not always the case.  Akin to "cousin" or "clansman" since "lin" is the word for blood. See talk page for more information.
- Lin (LEEN): blood.
- Ma (MAH): my, mine, OR you, your
- Mahvir (mah-VEER): tomorrow.
- Mamae (mah-MAY): Mother.
- Mana (MAH-nah): distant past; long amount of time.
- Melana (meh-LAH-nah): time.
- Melava (meh-LAH-vah): time, past tense.
- Mi (MEE): blade.
- Mi'durgen (MEE DUR-gen): diamond.
- Mien'harel (MEE-ehn hah-REHL): rebellion (or else a violent call for justice, depending on the interpretation), normally a city elf term; a concept that when humans push the elven population too far they must remind them that even a "short blade" must be respected.
- Na (NAH): your.
- Nan (NAHN): revenge; vengeance.
- Nehn (NEN): joy.
- Numin (NOO-min): cry, tears.
- Nuvenin (noo-VAY-nin): want, need.
- Revas (RAY-vahs): freedom.
- Revasan (RAY-vahs-ahn): "The place where freedom dwells". 
- Sa (SAH): one.
- Sahlin (sah-LEEN): now, in this moment.
- Samahl (sah-MAHL): laugh, laughter.
- Sa'vunin (sah-VOO-neen): a single day.
- Serannas (SEHR-ah-nahs): grateful, appreciative.
- Seth (SEHTH): thin, tenuous.
- Setheneran (SEH-thehn-ERR-ahn): Land of waking dreams. A place where the Veil is thin. Literally: "Tenuous waking dream place".
- Shem (SHEHM): quick, fast.
- Shemlen (SHEHM-lehn): Literally "quick children". The original name of the elves for the human race. It continues to see use as a slang term amongst the City Elves ("Shems") even though its meaning has largely been lost.
- Shiral (shee-RAHL): journey.
- Souveri (soo-VEH-ree): weary, tired.
- Solas (so-LAHS): Pride, to stand tall.
- Solasan (so-lahs-ahn): a prideful place.
- Su (soo): happen.
- Sulahn'nehn: joy/happiness.
- Sulahn (soo-LAHN): sing.
- Suledin (soo-leh-DEEN): endure, strength to withstand loss. See enasal for doing so successfully
- Sulevin (soo-leh-VEEN): certain, purpose.
- Tarasyl'an Te'las (Tah-RAH-sill-AHN Tell-AHS): the place where the sky was held back. Original elven name for Skyhold.
- Tan (TAHN): three.
- Tel (TEHL): not; often used to negate the noun/verb that proceeds it.
- Then (THEN): awake, alert.
- Theneras: dream.
- Tu (tooh): to make, to cause.
- U (ooh): alone.
- Uth (OOTH): long, forever, never ending, eternal.
- Uthenera (ooth-en-ERR-ah): Waking sleep; immortal. Uthenera was the name of the ancient practice of immortal elves who would "sleep" once they tired of life. Literally: "Eternal waking dream".
- Vallas (VALL-ahs): writing.
- Vallasdahlen (vahl-ahs-DAH-len): Life-trees. Trees planted in remembrance of those who dedicated their lives to the Dalish kingdom, that grew into a mighty wood.
- Vallaslin (vahl-ahs-LEEN): Blood writing. The art of tattooing adopted by some elves to more prominently (and some might say belligerently) display their worship of the traditional elven pantheon.
- Var (VAHR): our.
- Ven (VEHN): to go.
- Vhen (VEHN): "people of" or "belonging to the elves, the clans, elven society".
- Vhenadahl (vehn-AH-dahl): The tree of the people.
- Vhen'alas (vehn-AHL-ahs): The land itself, as in "the ground". Literally: "our earth".
- Vhenan (VEY-nahn): heart.
- Vir (VEER): way or path.
- Vunin (VOO-nihn): day.
The Elvish Eulogy Edit
- hahren na melana sahlin
- emma ir abelas
- souver'inan isala hamin
- vhenan him dor'felas
- in uthenera na revas
- vir sulahn'nehn
- vir dirthera
- vir samahl la numin
- vir lath sa'vunin
- elder your time is come
- now I am filled with sorrow
- weary eyes need resting
- heart has become grey and slow
- in waking sleep is freedom
- we sing, rejoice
- we tell the tale
- we laugh and cry
- we love one more day
—From Codex entry: In Uthenera
Suledin (Endure) an Elven Song Edit
The elven song Suledin is played during the dungeon escape portion of the Leliana's Song DLC. (This is yet to be confirmed, for the only thing close enough to Suledin in Leliana's Song is Inon Zur's "Captivity". It does include the lines "lath aravel ena" and "ir sa lethalin", but otherwise the lyrics are different - the ni-la/neela part, for example) The song is about enduring and emerging from sorrow, tied to the elves' loss of their ancient lands. It is adapted to personal struggles, as well.
Melava inan enansal
Time was once a blessing
I Am the One Edit
Played at the end credits of Dragon Age: Origins and included in the soundtrack, 'I Am the One' features elvish lyrics written by Inon Zur. A translation for the song can be found in Codex entry: "I Am The One".
Heruamin oh lonai
Constructing Elvish: Examples of Phrases Edit
- da'assan (dah-ah-SAHN): little arrow
- da'mi (dah-MEE): little blade
- da'vhenan (dah-VEY-nahn): little heart
- emm'asha (ehm-AH-shah): my girl
- emma lath (EHM-mah lath): my love
- ma sa'lath (mah sah-lath): my one love
- ma vhenan (ma VEY-nahn): my heart
- ma'arlath (MAR-lath): I love you
- ma emma lath (ma EHM-mah lath): you are my love
- vhenan'ara (VEY-nahn-AHR-ah): heart's desire
- elvhen'alas (el-VEHN-ALL-us): dirt elves
- len'alas lath'din (len-ALL-us LATH-deen): dirty child no one loves
- seth'lin (seth-LEEN): thin blood
- Ar'din nuvenin na'din. (ahr-DEEN noo-VHEY-nihn nah-deen): I don't want to kill you.
- Ar tu na'din. (ahr too nah-DEEN): I will kill you.
- Ar tu na'lin emma mi. (ahr too nah-LEEN EHM-ma mee): I will see your blood on my blade.
- Emma shem'nan. (EHM-mah shem-NAHN): My revenge is swift.
- Halam sahlin. (hah-LAHM sah-LEEN): This ends now.
- Ma emma harel. (mah EHM-mah hah-REHL): You should fear me.
- Ma halam. (mah hah-LAHM): You are finished.
Deconstructing Elvish Edit
Many words of Elvish are made up of contractions of smaller words. For instance, "Arlathan" means, "this place that I love". Deconstructing it, we arrive at Ar: I or me; Lath: love; and An: place. We know that this is correct, because: "lath" is used later in the eulogy poem to mean "love"; "an" is seen as a suffix in the word "Elvhenan", meaning "the place of our people", which is a direct extension of "Elvhen", meaning "our people". By elimination, "Ar" becomes the personal pronoun. In the same way, many other words can be deconstructed into their individual components.
While "ar" exists as a personal pronoun, often times in a sentence, that pronoun is dropped. For example, "Ir abelas," can translate to "I am filled with sorrow for your loss," or, more colloquially, "I'm very sorry," with "ir" meaning "I" and "abelas" meaning "sorrow." So the predicate itself is enough to imply that "I" am the one who is expressing the sorrow.
- "Mamae? Mamae na mara san...": The panicked phrases of a lost child. It is known that "mamae" means "mother", and "na" is "your", but "Mara" and "san" are a different matter. "Ma" (you) and "ar" (i, me) don't offer any clues. "San" looks like a contraction of "sa" and "an", so, one place. Since the boy seems to be in a panic, and it is clear that he's looking for her, it's reasonable to assume that this is the gist of his statement, as well. So, "Mother your [mara] one place...", so "mara" can be parsed as "i can't find" or "where is". A reasonable translation would be, "Mama, I can't find you..." or "Mama, where is the place..."
- "Viran se lan'aan? Ir annala for ros... Nae! Ga rahn s'dael! Ga rahn! Ir emah'la shal! Ir emah'la shal!": These sentences are spoken by the ghostly elven mother in the crypt where you get the Juggernaut armour. A possible translation: "How did you people find the path to this place? This place has been lost for centuries. No! Get away from our tree! Get away! You are desecrating my grave! You are desecrating my grave!"
- "Viran se lan'aan?": "Vir" and "an" mean "the path" and "this place", respectively, so "the path to this place". If "se" is assumed to be a pronoun (since "lan'aan" is a bit long for that), then, going off of "sa" as "one" and "-en" as a plural, one could extrapolate "se" as possibly a plural "you". In that case, since it is a question, it can be assumed that she is asking "How did you people find the path to this place?", since that is a reasonable thing to be asking. Then, "lan'aan" would mean "how to find".
- "Nae! Ga rahn s'dael! Ga rahn!": This is a very difficult part, because there's so little to go on. "Nae" might be "no", but "na" means "your". There is no precedent for "ga rahn", but "s'dael" could be broken down as: "sa" - one; "adahl" - tree; and "el" - our. Taking that on faith, the sentence might read something like, "No! Get away from our tree! Get away!"
- "Ir annala for ros...": "Ir" means "very", and "annar" means "years", so it is reasonable to assume that "annala" has to do with a measurement of time in years. Perhaps it means "centuries". So, it begins with "A very many years or centuries", and then "for ros" has no precedent. Taking it together with the last line, it is highly probable that it means "This place has been lost for very many centuries."
- "Ir emah'la shal!": "ir" (very). Deconstructing "emah'la": "emma" (my); "alas" (dirt, earth); "halam" (ending); "shiral" (journey) - all of these words contain elements similar to this compound word. It could possibly mean "the ground of my end", or, more loosely, "my grave". So, "My grave is very..." something. Perhaps "shal" means sacred, or desecrated. So, loosely, "You are desecrating my grave!"
- "Ir tel'him": "Him" means "become" or "transform," and "tel" seems to be often used to negate the verb/noun that follows - for example, tel'abelas translates into "I'm not sorry." So, here, "tel'him" could mean, "not changing/transforming." "Ir" usually means "very" or "more," but, in this case, it can be indirectly translated as "any more." So, put together, "ir tel'him" could translate into, "I'm not changing/transforming anymore," which would be another way of saying, "I'm me again."
- "Dar'Misu; Dar'Misaan": "Dar" means "to be", and they both have "mi" in common, so it is possible that "mi" is "blade", and "su" means "happen", and "u" means "alone". So, "dar'misu" could translate, roughly, to "this blade acts alone" or "this blade happens". "Sa" is "one" and "an" is "place". A possible translation: Dar'Misu: "to be a blade that acts alone" - daggers being the weapon of choice for rogues; Dar'Misaan: "to be a blade of one place" - long swords being the weapon of choice for a sword-and-shield defender.
- A dictionary of further possible translations and deconstruction of the language can be found here.