D&D 5E Best Languages to Know

Rolling up a new D&D character and thinking about which languages are useful to know? It took some time to gather the data to find the D&D 5E best languages to know, but I’m confident that the following list, backed by the data I found, is extremely useful.

The Best Languages to Know in DnD 5E


Tips & the Methodology in Finding the Best Language in DnD

Before I get started, the Methodology. In order to get this data, I scraped quite a few threads on Reddit, Quora, etc.

I’ve also played D&D for some time, so I’ve got a little experience when it comes to knowing which language is best in D&D. After analyzing the data, it became clear that these are the priorities when deciding which language to know in your D&D campaign:

  • How common is the language? This is important because if you’re interacting with creatures that are commonly found in the world, it makes sense to know their language.
  • Does the race also speak common? This pairs with the first point. If you’re commonly interacting with a race AND they don’t speak Common, it makes a lot of sense to know that language.
  • Does the language cover a lot of races or just one? The example here would be Undercommon, as most Subterranean races speak it so you’re covering a lot of bases.
  • How rare is the language? As a part of this, the common question is, does it make sense to take a language that PC races use? Many argue it doesn’t make much sense because another character in your party may know the language and you can always take a spell like Comprehend Languages.
  • How much do you know about your campaign? Really, this may be the most important question, primarily when it comes to where your campaign will take place. If your campaign is primarily in the Feywild, then obviously take Sylvan.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing your character’s languages is what sort of campaign you’ll be playing. If you’re planning on running or playing in a homebrew world, then you’ll want to make sure your character knows any relevant languages for that setting. For example, if your campaign is set in Eberron then knowing Draconic would be very useful. If you’re planning on playing in a published adventure like the Curse of Strahd, then you might want to consider taking a language like Infernal or Undercommon.

Another thing to consider is what sort of character you’re playing. If you’re playing a social character like a bard or diplomat, then it might be useful to take languages that will give you an advantage when communicating with others. For example, taking Elven would be very useful for a character who plans on spending a lot of time in the Feywild.

Having said all that, let’s get started with the first language.

Top-Tier DnD Languages

The languages in this tier have wide-ranging uses and are extremely solid picks.

The best language to know in DnD: Draconic

First up on the list is Draconic. This, by far, was the overwhelming winner in every thread I read (as well as my personal belief from playing DnD). This is the language of Dragon-related races (Dragons, Lizardfolk, Kobolds). Because Dragons like to hear themselves talk, it’s good to know their language so you can touch their ego a bit. Draconic is one of the best languages in DnD because:

  • While most dragons also speak Common, some don’t. It’s never fun to be confronted by a potentially aggressive, potential enemy because you can’t communicate with them (and that’s especially true with dragons!)
  • Dragons are highly intelligent creatures and view themselves as superior beings. A character capable of talking to a dragon could go a long way and lead to some interesting advantages.
  • Draconic isn’t only useful when you, potentially, encounter a dragon. Other races
  • Additionally, learning Draconic will give you access to the great body of draconic literature. This can be immensely helpful if your campaign has any sort of dragon-related plotline.

Undercommon/Deep Speech

Undercommon is the language of the Underdark and is a Frankenstein language created from Dwarvin, Goblin, Drow, and more. Undercommon is a good language to know because:

  • Most creatures in the Underdark can speak it
  • It’s one of the best languages for espionage due to its secrecy
  • Your character can learn it as a bonus language if they’re already proficient in Drow Sign Language or Dwarvish.
  • A lot of the Underdark is unexplored, so your character could be the first to discover new things!
  • Many different races speak Undercommon, so it’s a good way to communicate with a wide variety of people.
  • Your character can learn a lot about other cultures by learning their language.
  • Extremely common. You’d be able to speak with most Subterranean races, and they usually don’t speak Common as well.
  • Basically, if you’re going to the Underworld

Giant

Understanding and speaking giant is useful because, as the name suggests, giants are huge creatures that can be found all over the world. If your character is looking to find and communicate with a giant, this language will come in handy.

  • There are many types of giants with varying intelligences. Because of that, it can be difficult to understand what a giant is saying if you don’t know the language.
  • Giant is also a good language to know if your character wants to become a giant themselves. While it’s not necessary, speaking the language will give you an insight into their culture and make the transformation process much smoother.
  • Many adventures are centered around giants. Being the one character in your party that understands the language will go a long way!

Goblin

Goblin is the language of, you guessed it, goblins! This language is often used by characters who are looking to make deals with goblinoids or who are looking to get information from them. Understanding and speaking Goblin is helpful because:

  • Goblins are one of the most common monsters you’ll have to confront while playing D&D. Because of that, learning Goblin might be one of the best choices you can make. Assuming you make the correct check, it never hurts to overhear an enemy’s conversation, especially if they assume you don’t understand them!
  • There are a lot of Goblins, as well as 3 types of Goblinoids, and they often don’t speak Common as well.

Mid-Tier DnD Languages

Infernal/Abyssal

This is an interesting one because these two languages will serve you well if there are a lot of demons in your game. Some wonder if it makes sense because they’ll often speak telepathically.

  • Essentially, this makes sense for anything off-plane.

Click here to learn about Abyssal vs Infernal in DnD.

Celestial

The Language of, you guessed it, Celestials (but also good priests of all nations). If you want to seem like a good person in your campaign, it’s a great language to use when meeting strangers.

  • See Infernal/Abyssal. Anything off-plane, this will be useful.

Primordial

The language of the Elementals in DnD. This can be an interesting choice, especially depending on the campaign and if Elementals are seen quite a bit.

  • Most Elementals do not understand common
  • Tacking on to the point above, it’d be a bad situation if you summoned an Elemental and it didn’t know what you were saying!

Sylvan

Sylvan, the Language of Fey (as well as some other humanoids like Centaurs), this could be handy if you plan on seeing Fey in your campaign.

  • Are you going to the Feywild? If so, speaking Sylvan is a must-have (you could also look for Primordial or Elvish).

Bottom-Tier DnD Languages (Still Potentially Worth It)

Although these languages are on the bottom tier, they’re still mentioned as being considered higher over other languages, especially (most) PC languages.

Elvish

Elvish is the language of the elves and is known for being very beautiful and poetic. If you are looking to add some flair to your character, learning Elvish might be a good choice. Knowing Elvish is particularly useful when:

  • You want to be able to read ancient texts written in Elvish.
  • You need to communicate with other elves.
  • You want to impress other characters with your knowledge of a foreign language.

Dwarvish

This is the language of the dwarves and is often used by characters who are looking to forge weapons or armor. Dwarvish is a great language for your character to know if:

  • You are looking to create or purchase armor or weapons.
  • You want to be able to read ancient texts written in Dwarvish.
  • You need to communicate with other dwarves.

Orcish

Orcish is the language of orcs and is known for being guttural and difficult to understand. However, if your character is looking to intimidate others or get information from orcish characters, this could be the language for you.

  • Above Elvish, Dwarvish, Gnomish (PC-race languages). Only one race, but it’s quite common and they usually don’t speak Common.

Gnoll

See the explanation for Orcish. Although Gnolls will often be your enemy, there is something to say about the frequency there.

  • Even if they won’t reason with you, at least you’ll have some idea of what they’re plotting.

Bonus: Thieves’ Cant

Thieves’ Cant may not be a real language, but it’s extremely useful because not many people know how to speak it. If your character is looking to get ahead in the criminal underworld, learning Thieves’ Cant could give you a leg up on the competition.

Leave a Comment