One of the best languages in DnD, a lot of players have struggled when it comes to understanding Abyssal vs Infernal in DnD. On paper, they both appear to be similar, but that’s not exactly the case. Because it’s important to understand languages, as well as the best languages in DnD, I figured it’d be a good idea to break down the differences between these two. Read below to get started!
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The Abyssal Language in DnD
Abyssal is a common language in DnD. Before we take a look at who speaks it and what it sounds like, let’s take a quick look at the origins of the language.
Origin of the Abyssal Language: The Primordial Language
Before understand the Abyssal language, we need to first take a look at the Primordial language. Primordial, as the name suggests was the language of primordials and elementals in DnD. Abyssal came from the Primordial language as a result of being warped and twisted by the evil of the Abyss.
Now that we understand where the Abyssal language came from, let’s take a look at who speaks this language. It’s understandable that it’s often confused with Infernal because Abyssal used the Infernal alphabet (the Barazhad alphabet), but it’s a different language.
While this may sound confusing at first, I’d compare it to many of the languages we’re familiar with. For example, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, German, Portuguese, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Danish, Welsh, Swedish, Icelandic, Finnish, and Turkish, use the Latin alphabet. If you speak English to someone who only knows German, the German-speaker wouldn’t be able to understand.
Who speaks Abyssal in DnD
Many people ask, “Do demons speak Abyssal DnD?” The answer is yes, demons speak Abyssal. but there is some specificity to keep in mind. Depending on the rank of the demon, Abyssal would sound different, almost like having different accents.
So, what would Abyssal sound like?
Like we hinted at above, depending on who’s speaking, it’ll sound different:
- Lower-ranking demons: would sound similar to barking dogs
- Upper-class or more refined demons: would sound like a mixture of ocean waves and swarming bees
It’s important to keep in mind that the Tanar’ri (the dominant demon race in the Abyss), being involved with this speech, made it quite unpredictable. So again, an upper-class demon (like a Balor) could sound rougher will a lower-class demon (like a bar-Igura) could sound smoother.
*Click here for a reference on the Abyssal language.
The Infernal Language in DnD
Infernal is another common language in DnD among creatures in the Underworld. Let’s first take a look at its origin, and then who speaks the language and what it sounds like.
Origin of the Infernal Language
Infernal, the language of a subtype of devils in the Nine Hells known is baatezu, was brought to Toril via contact with other evil beings from other planes. A complicated history, but it makes sense based on who spoke the language and what it sounds like.
Who speaks Infernal in DnD
The baatezu, a subtype of devils in the Nine Hells spoke Infernal. A few examples of the types of devils who spoke the language include:
- Spined devils
- Pit fiends
What does Infernal sound like DnD?
Infernal is tied closely to the 4-part caste system of the baatezu. And, although each caste had the basic language in place, they each had different words, phrases, etc.
So, it sounds different and meant different things based on who is speaking the language from which baatezu caste. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Least baatezu: Sounds simple, harsh-tongued and is well-suited for shouting commands in battle.
- Lesser baatezu: Equal to any mortal language when it comes to the complexity, and is used to express abstract concepts (hate, rage, honor, etc.). It sounds less gravelly than the least baatezu. The majority of non-devils who know Infernal learned the Lesser baatezu version.
- Greater baatezu: Sounds stilted, formal and grating, but also melodic. This language is full of interesting patters that meander misleadingly before snapping to an unexpected point. When speaking, planning was necessary based on the intelligence and subtle cues involved. Almost impossible for mortals to learn, it was said that greater baatezu speaking could understand entire sentences based on the beginning alone.
- Court language of Baator: Used by only pit fiends and archdevils, this language had such intense patterns that listeners could be dragged into hateful despair just by the sound of it.
Click here for a reference of the Infernal language.
So, what’s the difference between Abyssal and Infernal in Dnd?
By now, the difference between Abyssal and Infernal in DnD should be clear: Abyssal is the language of demons and Infernal is the language of Devils. So, the individuals speaking the language were different, but the languages also sounded very different. Within the different languages, there were different dialects as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve compiled a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions when it comes to Abyssal vs Infernal in DnD.
Are Tieflings Infernal or Abyssal?
Tieflings are of Abyssal heritage. This makes sense because Tieflings would usually go by their Abyssal family surname.
Can Tieflings speak Infernal?
Based on Tieflings being of Abyssal heritage, that, by definition, would mean they would speak Abyssal.
Who speaks Undercommon in DnD?
Similar to the Common language, Undercommon is a trade language spoken by most of the intelligent races in the Underdark. Here is a list of the races who speak Undercommon:
- Mind flayer
What language do demons speak in DnD?
Like we mentioned above, demons speak Abyssal.
What language do devils speak in DnD?
Like we mentioned above, Infernal was the language of the baatezu, a subtype of devils.