(External) history of drow language

A/N: „External” means that the history concerns the development of the conlang as it happened in our world, not in the fictional world.

I can’t find the date when „Chosen of Eilistraee” went online – anyone knows?


1991: “Drow of the Underdark” by Ed Greenwood published. The first known words (and several proverbs) of the drow language are contained in Chapter 10 and take five pages in total. This explains the absence of drow words from the Icewind Dale Trilogy (1st edition published 1988-1990) and the Dark Elf Trilogy (1st edition published 1990-1991)

1992: the first novel of the “Legacy of the Drow” tetralogy by R.A. Salvatore published – “The Legacy”. First use of drow words in a novel – by Vierna and Jarlaxle. First use of Jarlaxle’s catchphrase.

1992: Menzoberranzan boxed set published. Contains several drow words, mostly proper names.

1993 – 1996: “Starless Night”, “Siege of Darkness” and “Passage to Dawn” continue the presence of drow language in novels.

1994: Menzoberranzan computer game contains several drow words in the dialogue.

1995 – 2003: “Starlight and Shadows” trilogy by Elaine Cunningham. Continues the use of drow words in a novel, introduces several new words.

1996: The Temple of Lloth (NWN roleplaying guild) commissions a newer wordlist, available on the net to this day. First rules of grammar for drow language – they are used to this day. The dictionary also contains words by theme (titles, numbers etc.) and a list of sample phrases and proverbs.

1996: Drowic Classroom goes online. First pronunciation rules for the drow language.

1998: “Baldur’s Gate” cRPG published. Features Viconia, who has several drow words in her dialogues.

1999: “Baldur’s Gate II” cRPG published. Viconia has even more to say. Worth noting is the fact that the words she uses are not limited to the original word list from 1991 DotU. Also, the drow from Ust Natha use proverbs from TOL dictionary and there is even an entire dialogue in drow (the warband near the Underdark exit).

2001: House Maerdyn translator goes online, drawing from the TOL dictionary.

2002: “Icewind Dale II” cRPG published. Contains drow voicesets for player character, which use whole sentences of drow language. Also, the language is present in Malavon’s dialogues.

2002 – 2005: “War of the Spider Queen” by several authors. Introduces the concept of high drow language and the word Yorthae “Chosen of Lloth”.


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