There is a character (Classic Half Orc Barbarian) in my group that can read, write and speak Orcish but in the PHB Page 123 (Language) it shows the Orcish script is Dwarvish.

Can the player also read & understand the dwarven script, or will he read a very strangely written text in Orcish? ie. an english speaking person reads a french text in french = same alphabet but incomprehensible?


1 Answer 1


Script refers to the characters used. To an Orc, text written in Dwarvish would have familiar letters, but otherwise would make no sense to him.

Your comparison between English and French is spot-on: both have the same script, but being able to read English does not help you understand French. Compare this to for example English and Chinese: not only do you not understand, even the very symbols used to write the text with are alien to you.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the clarification, I couldn't say for sure if that was a correct conclusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Exo Waltz
    Sep 28, 2015 at 9:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since this was asked in 2015 there's been a Jeremy Crawford tweet confirming this answer: Knowing an alphabet doesn't teach you a language. For example, knowing the Roman alphabet, which is shared by many of the world's languages, has yet to teach me French, alas. sageadvice.eu/2018/04/04/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Mattamue
    Dec 4, 2018 at 4:50

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