It has been observed that "Elven is often a game of intents, not direct mapping of phonetic meaning. That means it's a mess" and that it tends "to meander".
Written Elvish Edit
Though a number of ancient sites, including the Temple of Mythal, have recently been found to contain examples of Elvish writing, these are few and far between, and jealously guarded by the Dalish. Some Circles have also come to possess old elven texts. In the Dragon Age, clan Keepers are generally the only ones who know the secret of writing Elvish.
Elvish phrases Edit
- Amae lethalas: meaning unknown. See "Deconstructing Elvish" below for possible translation.
- Andaran atish’an: Enter this place in peace. A formal elven greeting. Literally: "I dwell in this place of peace."
- Aneth ara: A sociable or friendly greeting, more commonly used among the Dalish themselves rather than with outsiders. Literally: "My safe place".
- Ara seranna-ma: "Excuse me," as in after a sneeze or belch.
- Ar dirthan’as ir elgara, ma’sula e’var vhenan: meaning unknown.
- Ar lasa mala revas: "You are free." More literally, "I give you your freedom."
- Ar lath, ma vhenan: "I love you, my heart"
- Atish'all vallem: meaning unknown.
- Atish'all Vir Abelasan: "Enter the path of the Well of Sorrows."
- Banal nadas: Nothing is inevitable.
- Bellanaris Din'an Heem: "Make you dead."
- Dareth shiral: farewell; literally "Safe journey."
- Din elvhen emma him?: meaning unknown.
- Dirth ma, harellan. Ma banal enasalin. Mar solas ena mar din: meaning unknown.
- Dirth'ena enasalin: "knowledge that led to victory" – the Elvish term for the Arcane Warrior or, more recently, Knight Enchanter disciplines.
- Dirthara-ma: "May you learn." Used as a curse.
- Ellasin selah: meaning unknown.
- Falon’Din enasal enaste: a prayer for the dead.
- Fenedhis lasa: unidentified common curse.
- Fen'Harel ma halam: "Dread Wolf ends you." A threat.
- Garas quenathra: "Why are you here?/Why have you come?" Spoken by the voices of the Vir'abelasan
- Ghil-Dirthalen: "One who guides seekers of knowledge true."
- Ghilan'him banal'vhen: "The path that leads astray": a derogatory term for Arcane Warriors among those elves who eschewed physical combat.
- Ghilas dennar!: meaning unknown.
- Halam'shivanas: The sweet sacrifice of duty.
- Ir abelas: I am sorry.
- Ir abelas, ma vhenan: "I am filled with sorrow for your loss, my heart."
- Ir tel'him: I'm me again.
- Lasa ghilan: Grant/give guidance.
- Lathbora viran: Roughly translated as "the path to a place of lost love," a longing for a thing one can never really know.
- Ma banal las halamshir var vhen: You do nothing to further our people. 
- Ma harel, da’len: You lie, child.
- Ma harel lasa!: You lied to me.
- Ma ghilana mir din'an: Guide me into death.
- Ma melava halani: You helped me.
- Mala suledin nadas: Now you must endure.
- Malas amelin ne halam, Abelas: ”I hope you find a new name.”
- Ma nuvenin: As you say.
- Ma vhenan: My heart; a term of endearment.
- Ma serannas: My thanks/Thank you.
- Mana. Ma halani: Special dialogue option for Lavellan or Solas during Measuring the Veil. "Ma halani" is "Help me". In this context, "Mana" is an imperative verb, like "Stop" or "Wait".
- Masal din'an: a threat, meaning unknown.
- Melana en athim las enaste: Now let humility grant favor.
- Mythal'enaste: Mythal's favor.
- Na abelas: meaning unknown.
- Na din'an sahlin!: Your death is come!
- Na melana sahlin: Your time is come.
- Seran viar malas shivera mellavar!: meaning unknown 
- Sulevin ghilana hanin: Inscription on Path to Glory. Possibly: Guide of Glorious Purpose.
- Tel'abelas: I'm not [sorry].
- Tel'dellan sa Vir Dirthara!: meaning unknown.
- Tel garas solasan: Come not to a prideful place.
- Telanadas: Nothing is inevitable.
- Var lath vir suledin!: Paraphrase says “I won’t give up on you.” More literally, “our love will endure.”
- Vir sumeil: We are close.
- Virthar ma: meaning unknown.
Elvish Vocabulary Edit
- Abelas: Sorrow; to be sorry.
- Adahl/Adhal: tree.
- Adahlen: wood.
- Alas: earth, dirt.
- -An: suffix indicating place or location.
- Annar: year.
- Ar: First person pronoun: I, me.
- Aravas: to journey.
- Aravel: A wagon used by the Dalish; also a physical and spiritual path, a journey with purpose. Humans call them "landships."
- Arla: trap.
- Arlathan: The major city of Elvhenan, original homeland of the elves, from the phrase "ar lath’an" meaning "This place of love".
- Arlathvhen: Meeting of the Dalish clans, every ten years. Means "for love of the people."
- Asha: woman.
- Assan: arrow.
- Atish’an: peace.
- Athim: humility.
- Awell: meaning unknown.
- Banalhan: "The place of nothing", a name for the Blight or its place of origin.
- Banal'ras: Shadow.
- Bel: many.
- Bor'assan: bow.
- Da: diminutive prefix; small.
- Dar: to be.
- Da'len: little child, or little one.
- Dareth: safe.
- Dahl'amythal: : tree of Mythal. Dalish Keepers’ staves are cut from its like.
- Din: The dead.
- Din'anshiral: A journey of death.
- Dirth: tell, speak. A term for knowledge, secrets.
- Dirthera: tell.
- Dor: grey.
- Durgen: stone.
- Elgar: spirit.
- Elgara: sun.
- Elvhen: "Our People". Elven name for their own race.
- Elvhenan: Place of our people. The name of the elven civilization before the arrival of humans in Thedas.
- Emma: within, full of.
- -en: suffix indicating plural.
- Enasal: joy in triumph over loss; a variation of joyful relief
- Enasalin: victory.
- Enansal: blessing.
- Enaste: favor.
- Enfenim: to fear.
- Eth: safe.
- Falon: friend.
- Felandaris: demon weed.
- Felassan: slow arrow.
- Fen: wolf.
- Fenedhis: undefined common curse.
- Garas: come.
- Ghilan: a guide.
- Ghilana: to guide.
- Ghilas: to go.
- Glandival: to believe.
- Hahren'al: A gathering of hahrens during the Arlathvhen.
- Hahren: Elder. Used as a term of respect by the Dalish, but more specifically for the leader of an alienage by the City Elves.
- Halam: end.
- Halamshiral: The end of the journey. Also the name of the capital of the second elven homeland in the Dales.
- Halani: help.
- Hamin: rest.
- Hanal'ghilan: "the pathfinder," Elven name for the mythical golden halla said by the Dalish to appear during times of great need.
- Hanin: glory.
- Harillen: opposition.
- Hellathen: noble struggle.
- In: in.
- Inan: eyes. Literally: "inside place" or "dwelling place," i.e. windows to the soul.
- Ir: I am.
- Iras: where.
- Irassal: wherever.
- Isala: need.
- La: and.
- Lath: love of being; also, to be in love.
- Len: children.
- Lethallin; Lethallan: Casual reference used for someone with whom one is familiar. Generally, 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: blood.
- Mala: your.
- Mamae: Mother.
- Mana: meaning unknown. See “Mana. Ma halani.”
- Melana: time.
- Melanada: all time. 
- Mi: blade.
- Mi'durgen: diamond, literally 'blade stone'.
- Mien'harel: rebellion; 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.
- Mir: my.
- mirthadra: honored.
- Na: is.
- Nadas: Inevitability; something that must be. Also used as an expression of obligation, i.e. "must."
- Nan: revenge; vengeance.
- Numin: cry.
- Nuvenin: say, as in “as you say.”
- Renan: voice.
- Revas: freedom.
- Revasan: "The place where freedom dwells".
- Ris: little.
- Sa: one/one more.
- Sahlin: now, “is come”.
- Samahl: laugh.
- Sa'vunin: one more day.
- Serannas: thanks.
- Seth: thin, tenuous.
- Setheneran: Land of waking dreams. A place where the Veil is thin. Literally: "Tenuous waking dream place".
- Shem: quick.
- Shemlen: 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: journey.
- Solas: Pride, to stand tall.
- Solasan: a prideful place.
- Somniar: to dream.
- Somniari: dreamer.
- Souver: weary.
- Sumeil: close, near.
- Sulahn'nehn: rejoice, joy.
- Sulahn: sing.
- Sulevin: purpose.
- Tan: three.
- Taren: mind.
- Then: awake, alert.
- Uth: long, forever, never ending, eternal.
- Uthenera: immortal, waking sleep. Uthenera was the name of the ancient practice of immortal elves who would "sleep" once they tired of life. Literally: "Eternal waking dream".
- Vallasdahlen: Life-trees. Trees planted in remembrance of those who dedicated their lives to the Dalish kingdom, that grew into a mighty wood.
- Vallaslin: 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.
- Venavis: meaning unknown. Possibly “stop.”
- Vhen: people.
- Vhenadahl: The tree of the people.
- Vhen'alas: The land itself, as in "the ground". Literally: "our earth".
- Vhenallin: friends of the People.
- Vhenan: heart.
- Vhenas: home.
- Vissanalla: translation unknown.
- Vunin: day.
Suledin (Endure) Edit
Suledin is "an elven song about enduring and emerging from sorrow, tied to the loss of their ancient lands, but commonly adapted to express personal struggles as well."
Melava inan enansal
Time was once a blessing
Mir Da'len Somniar Edit
A traditional Dalish Lullaby found in the children's book "The Seer's Yarn", collected by Seer Agata.
Elgara vallas, da'len
Iras ma ghilas, da'len
Sun sets, little one,
Where will you go, little one
Never fear, little one,
Where Willows Wail Edit
Tel’enara bellana bana’vhenadahl,
We/it lost eternity or the ruined tree of the People
Constructing Elvish: Examples of Phrases Edit
- da'assan: little arrow
- da'mi: little blade
- da'vhenan: little heart
- emm'asha: my girl
- emma sa'lath: my one love
- ma'arlath: my love
- ne'emma lath: you are my love
- vhenan'ara: heart's desire
- elvhen'alas: dirt elves
- len'alas lath'din: dirty child no one loves
- seth'lin: thin blood
- Ar'din nuvenin na'din: I don't want to kill you.
- Ar tu na'din: I will kill you.
- Ar tu na'lin emma mi: I will see your blood on my blade.
- Emma shem'nan: My revenge is swift.
- Halam sahlin: This ends now.
- Ma emma harel: You should fear me.
- Ma halam: 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, oftentimes 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..."
- "Amae lethalas": The elven guardian spirit's response to the Inquisitor saying Fen'Harel's secret greeting correctly. "Amae" could be a dirivitive of "mamae", which means mother, making "amae" translate to something like parent, guardian, or watcher. "Leth" has no direct translation, although it is known for its use in the phrases "lathallin"/"lethallan", a term used to refer to someone that the speaker is familiar with. Thus, "leth" may be translated into known, familiar, or regular. "Alas" has a clear translation of dirt or earth, therefore "lethalas" could mean something akin to 'familiar place' or 'known area'. Furthermore, "amae lethalas" could mean 'parent/guardian of [this] known place' or 'parent/guardian of [our] familiar area'. If the elven guardian was speaking of itself, the translation might be exaggerated to '[I am] the parent/guardian of [this] familiar 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.
- "Dirth ma, harellan. Ma banal enasalin. Mar solas ena mar din.": "Dirth" relates to knowledge,truth, and secrets and "ma" is used for both first person singulars and possessives so "Dirth ma" could mean "my truth" or "I know" with "harellan" translating to trickster or traitor. "Harellan" may be being used here as an epithet, given the subject. "Ma" is again you or I, "banal" is a negative so no, none, nothing, etc., and "enasalin" is victory so "Ma banal enasalin" is probably something like "You will not have victory" or, colloquially, "You will lose." The final sentence, uses "mar", similar to "ma", "solas" or pride, "ena" like "to lead to" or "will lead to", and "din" meaning death. Therefore, the whole thing should be something like "I know you, Traitor. You will fail. Your pride will lead to your death."
- The elven language as used in the games is actually a cipher.
See also Edit
- Codex entry: In Uthenera
- Codex entry: On Skyhold
- Codex entry: Tracing from Temple Doors
- Codex entry: Torn Notebook in the Deep Roads, Section 3
- Codex entry: "I Am The One"