The Language of the Markets

Cosmonaut Kitten

Revision 0.7 (unfinished)


Introduction                                              2

  • Goals

  • Lore

  • Other Uses

  • Flexibility

Phonology                                                   3

  • Consonant Inventory

  • Vowel Inventory

  • Scripts                                                             

  • Runic             

  • Using the Scripts                   

Starkstaf and Arkstaf                          5

  • Compound Runes

  • Arkstaf

  • Schools of Magic

Simple Sentences                                      5

  • Word Order

  • Articles

  • Adjectives and Adverbs

  • Verbs

  • A Note About "er"

  • Pronouns

Complex Verbs                                            6

  • Verb Tenses

  • The Vowel Wheel

  • Passive Verbs

  • Subordinate Clauses

  • Auxiliary Verbs

Complex Sentences                                 7

  • Table of Correlatives

  • Yes or No Questions

  • Negation

  • Proper Nouns

  • Compound Sentences

  • More and Most

Complex Sentences                                 8

  • Numbers

  • Colours

  • Creating Colours



Kas! Welcome to the language of Marksprek! Marksprek, or "The Language of the Markets" is a constructed trade language, designed to be a simple, regular, easy to learn, and most importantly, fun language, intended for use in   a  Dungeons and Dragons campaign!


Within a D&D campaign, for the most part, a language is just another skill that a character aquires during their adventures - or more likely, when the character is first created. However learning a new language and being able to communicate with new people is a fun experience in and of itself!

Marksprek is primarily designed to be learned by players via exposure. To achieve this, it is recommended that the DM learn Marksprek's simple grammar and a bit of vocabulary beforehand. As players go to buy or sell items or travel to foreign places, they will meet NPCs who share no other language with them and will thus learn Marksprek as neccassary.


Marksprek can be intergrated into the lore of a D&D campaign in many different ways. Below is how Marksprek has been integrated into my personal campaigns.

The History of Marksprek

Marksprek is a constructed language, created hundreds of years ago to break linguistic barriers and facilitate trade between people of many different mother tongues. As a result it is a very regular and unnaturalistic language.

Marksprek was created from the features of many natural languages in the region, making it easier to learn for those speakers. As a result it uses many words that are similar to those in Common (Germanic Languages) and uses a similar grammar, although it is different in many aspects.

Common is not a universal language within the campaign, but simply a language that is common to humans in the region. Other races may know common, but it is not known by all.

Although other languages are used in day to day life, Marksprek is still widely used by traders, merchants and customers out of tradition, easy of use and a need to overcome linguistic barriers.

While not designed to be a naturalistic language, Marksprek can be integreatd into the lore of your campaign however you choose as the DM.

Other Uses

Although Marksprek is a fully developed language, it can also occupy smaller parts of the game. The compound runes described in this book can be used for spell scrolls alone, the language could belong to a certain group small of people rather than all traders or perhaps it could be used once in puzzle. As a DM the language is limited only by your creativity.


Although I've fully laid out Marksprek here, if you don't like something about it, change it! The beauty of D&D is that you always have the power to change things to your liking. Feel free to add, remove or change roots, phonemes, sections of the grammar, the scripts etc. If you publish any changes, I'd appreciate being credited.

If you have any suggestions to make regarding Marksprek as it's seen here, feel free to reach out to me at

This document was created using The Homebrewery.


Marksprek has a small and easy to pronounce phonetic inventory. It contains 20 letters: 15 consonants and 5 vowels. It is larged based on the phonenetic inventories of various Germanic languages.

An IPA chart containing a pronounciation of all these phonemes can be found on Wikipedia here.

Consonant Inventory

All the consonants below are pronounced as they are in English, except for j which is pronounced as an English y and r which is trilled. g is never pronounced as English j.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative f s h
Trill r
Approximant l j w

Vowel Inventory

Marksprek has 5 vowels. These are not the same as they are in English but can be found in a number of other languages such as Spanish, Italian, Esperanto and Toki Pona.

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

When using the Latin script as seen above, the first letter in a sentence, as well as all nouns and pronouns are capitalised.


Marksprek has 2 scripts. A Latin script and a Runic script. The Latin script is written as seen above and can be typed with any English keyboard.

Marksprek's runes are based on the runic scipts of the Elder and Younger Futhark, however Marksprek's runes are distinct and based on phonetics. Each rune has a name in Marksprek as well as an associated significance derived from its name.


Latin Runic Name Significance
e erd earth
u uft death, the dead
o orn war, victory
a ark magic
i ig safety, protection
p put work, success
t tank knowledge, wisdom
k krab nature, the wild
m man a person or group
n nir youth, good fortune
b bel love, fertility
d dank giving thanks
g guld wealth, good trade
f fir fire
s stark power, strength
l luft air
j jakt food, a good hunt
r rask speed
w was water
h heb gods, holyness

Each rune is called a "staf" in Marksprek. Staf with elements to the right of the central line are pronounced futher forward in the mouth than those with elements to the left of the line. The type of element describes how the sound is produced in the mouth. This can be understood using the consonant inventory table.

Using the Scripts

When using the Runic script, single dots are used in between words in place of spaces and vertical lines are used in place of full stops.

Runes can be written left to write, top to bottom - or stacked on top of one another on vertical lines, written top to bottom, left to right.

The latin script is used more often in day to day trading, but the runic script is the older of the two. The runic script is often used for short enscriptions, names, songs and poetry.

Examples in this book will be given in the latin script but can easily be transcribed into runic using the Runic table.

Starkstaf and Arkstaf

Each rune in Marksprek has a name: a word that begins with the sound of the rune. For example the rune that makes the "o" sound is named "orn", which means "anger". However the rune "orn" also carries the significance of war or victory in battle. So, a soldier going to war may choose to carve the "orn" rune into their equipment to wish for victory in battle.

These types of runes, used not for their sound but rather their significance are called "Starkstaf", meaning "Power Runes". They're often carved into objects to instill them with a percieved power or can be used for casting spells.

For example, a trader might choose to carve the rune for wealth, "guld" into the covers of their record books, or a hunter might carve the rune for a successful hunt "jakt" into their bow.

Compound Runes

Often, several runes will be combined on a single line to form a compound rune. The combined runes are usually an initialism of a compound word, initialism of a name or several Starkstaf that have been combined. For example, by combining the "m" rune from Mark and the "s" rune from Sprek, we get a compound rune for Marksprek as seen below. There aren't any specific rules about how to combine runes, as long as both of the original runes are recognisable.


Compound runes can also be used for spells. These runes are called "Arkstaf", meaning "Magic Runes". Arkstaf use the Starkstaf meaning of the runes, and combine them to describe the spell. All arkstaf contain the "a" rune, meaning magic, as well as another rune to identify which of the 8 schools of D&D magic the spell belongs to.

The rune below is the compound rune for the spell "Fireball". The "a" rune meaning "magic" indicates that it's a spell and the "s" rune meaning "power" indicates that it's an evocation. The "f" rune meaning "fire" identifies it as the spell "Fireball".

Schools of Magic

School Arkstaf Runes Name
abduration ark + ig sekark
conjuration ark + put makark
divination ark + tank kunark
enchantment ark + heb hodark
evocation ark + stark starkark
illusion ark + man skinark
necromancy ark + uft uftark
transmutation ark + nir andark

Since the Arkstaf use the Starkstaf meaning of the runes and not their sounds, many of the names of the schools of magic will be different to the runes in their Arkstaf.

There are no real rules as to what runes identify a spell. For example, the rune for "Fireball" seen earlier can also describe another fire related evocation, "Fire Bolt".

Simple Sentences

Now that you can pronounce words in Marksprek, it's time to learn how to use those words in a sentence to form meaning. There is a Marksprek to English dictionary at the back of the book to help create and understand sentences.

Word Order

Because many words in Marksprek can be used in many various parts of speech, word order is very important in conveying meaning.

The subject (the person or thing that performs an action) of a sentence in Marksprek comes before the verb and the object (the person or thing that recieves an action) of a sentence comes after the verb. This is the same word order as a typical English sentence.

Kat et Bog

cat eats bird


As you may have noticed in the sentence above, Marksprek does not have any articles (the words "the", and "a/an" in English). As articles are absent from Marksprek, they will also be absent from the translations provided in this book.

Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives, descriptive nouns and adverbs are placed directly before their respective nouns and verbs as a compound word. This leads to some ambiguity although the meaning of the word can be inferred through context. All base words are one syllable in length.

Raskkat rasklap

fast cat / cheetah goes quickly / runs

Multiple adjectives or adverbs can be used with a single noun. They always group to the right.




kitten house
childish cathouse

Adjectives in Marksprek always group to the right. To say "kitten house" the word "af" must be used in the compound in much the same way "of" is used in English.


house of kitten


Verbs in Marksprek only change for tense, not person or number. The word "er" is the copula in Marksprek. It is equivilant to the English words "be", "is" "are" or "am".

Kat er god

cat are good

It can also be used with "Ik", meaning "it" to state that something exists.

Ik er Godkat

it is good cat

A Note About "er"

Please note that "er" should never be used before a verb as we might use "is", "am" or "are" in English to form a continous verb. Marksprek does not have a continous aspect, and as words can occupy many parts of speech, this can drastically change a meaning of sentence.

Kat et

cat eats

Kat er et

cat is eating
cat is food


Marksprek has a 6 personal pronouns. No personal pronoun in Marksprek has a gender or animacy distinction, only a plurality distinction. Pronouns begin with a capital letter.

Personal Pronouns

1st Person 2nd Person 3rd Person
Singular Mik (I, me) Dik (you) Ik (he, she, it)
Plural Mit (us, we) Dit (y'all, youse) It (they)

To indicate possesion, personal pronouns and names must be used with the word "af" for clarity.

katafmik er godkat

my cat is good cat

Complex Verbs

Verbs in Marksprek have the ability to be conjugated for past, present and future tense and the passive aspect.

Verb Tenses

Marksprek has 3 verb tenses - past, present and future. Conjugating for verb tense in Marksprek works similarly to some "strong" English verbs, such as sing, sang and sung.

While in English these verbs are somewhat irregular, in Marksprek it is quite easy. To change the tense of a verb, take note of the vowel that will change. A non-compound word will be one syllable in length and thus will only have one vowel. In compound words, the vowel that will change will be the vowel of the final syllable.

To put the verb into the past tense, change the vowel to the vowel anti-clockwise of it on the vowel wheel below. To put the verb into the future tense, change the vowel to the vowel clockwise of it on the wheel.

The Vowel Wheel

kat et

cat eats

kat at

cat ate

kat it

cat will eat

kat raskat

cat ate quickly

Passive Verbs

Passive verbs allow one to state that something has happened without explicitly mentioning the subject. In Marksprek, passive verbs are formed by compounding verbs with the word "get".

kat et bog

cat eats bird

bog getet

bird is being eaten

To use passive verbs in relative clauses, "wat" also acts as the relative pronoun. Where English can use many relative pronouns "which, who, whom, that", Marksprek only uses "wat"

mik sek bog wat getet

I save the bird that is being eaten

mik raskhalt kat wat et

i quickly stop cat that eats

Subordinate clauses

A subordinate or dependant clause is a sentence which provides another sentence with additional information, but could not stand alone as a sentence. In English we usually use "that" for introducing subordinate clauses, however "wat" is used in Marksprek.

mik sprik wat kat kan spel

i said that cat can play

Auxiliary Verbs

Verbs can be used to modify other verbs as auxiliary verbs by placing them before the original word.

mik wil mark et tot kat

i want to buy food for cat

When changing the tense of these verbs, only the first verb is changed.

mik wel mark et tot kat

i wanted to buy food for cat

Complex Sentences

There are six "correlative" words in Marksprek: 'wat', 'dat', 'det', 'alt', 'lit' and 'net'. They are used in compounds with other words to form correlatives and cannot be used by themselves. They can be compounded with any word, and are not limited to the columns in the table below.

Table of Correlatives

Thing Person Time Location Reason Manner
What watsak watman wattid watplat watgrund watwis
That datsak datman dattid datplat datgrund datwis
This detsak detman dettid detplat detgrund detwis
All altsak altman alttid altplat altgrund altwis
Some litsak litman littid litplat litgrund litwis
No netsak netman nettid netplat netgrund netwis

These correlative words can be compounded with any word, and they do not change the order of the sentence.

ik hab watkat

they have what cat?

ik hab datkat

they have that cat

Yes or No Questions

To form a yes or no question in Marksprek, the verb is moved to the start of the sentence.

Er Katafdik luk?

is your cat happy?

If a sentence has multiple verbs connected with "an", both are moved to the start of the sentence.

Spel an lap Katafdik?

does your cat play and walk?

Auxiliary verbs are moved to the start of a sentence, but not the verbs they modify.

Wil Katafdik et?

does your cat want to eat?


To negate a verb, the word "net", meaning "not" is compounded with the verb.

Kat netet Ik

Cat doesn't eat it

Kat netwil et Brod

Cat doesn't want to eat bread

Proper nouns

Proper nouns such as the names of people or places aren't in the Marksprek dictionary. To talk about these things, they should first be adapted to fit Marksprek's phonology by choosing the closest sounds. For example "Faerûn" becomes "Ferun".

These proper nouns are seperated with a dash when forming compound words, or are placed in a box when using the runic script.




Old Faerûnian

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences are two stand-alone sentences, seperated with a comma and one of the conjuctions found in the conjuction section of the dictionary.

Mik wil kop Kat, fran Mik bel It.

i want to get cat, because i love them

Mik kap Kat, om Ik er klen.

i will get cat, if they are small.

More and Most

To form a compartive adjective, we use the word "mer" mearning "more". To form a superlative adjective, we use the word "mest" meaning "most".

Mik gild Hond, ab Kat er mergod.

i like dog, but cat is better.

Numbers and Colours

Numbers in Marksprek follow a binquinary system, meaning that 2 and 5 are used as subbases. As a result, the numbers 6-9 are created by compounding smaller numbers with "5". This is done to reduce the amount of vocabulary needed to be learned and for lore reasons.

The History of Markspek's Numbers

When Marksprek was first created as a trading language, the dominant currency was the Electrum Piece (EP). An EP was worth 5 SP and a SP was worth 10 CP and thus Marksprek used the subbases 5 and 2. Although the EP is seldom used these days, the numbers have remained unchanged.


Nunber Marksprek Word Runic
0 Nul
1 On
2 Twen
3 Der
4 Fir
5 Fimf
6 Fimfon
7 Fimftwen
8 Fimfder
9 Fimffir
10 Ten
20 Twerten
30 Derten
40 Firten
50 Fimften
60 Fimfonten
70 Fimftwerten
80 Fimfderten
90 Fimffirten
100 Hund
1,000 Sund


Marksprek has 3 words for colour as well as a word for black and white. By compounding these words, A spectrum of different colours, shades and tints can be expressed with the accuracy needed for trade.

Colour Marksprek Word
Red Rod
Yellow Gel
Blue Blor
Black Swat
White Wit

Creating Colours

For secondary colours, the colour words can be compounded in any order with little difference in meaning. For tertiary colours, the doubled colour comes first. To create tints and shades, compound "wit" or "swat" to the beginning of the colour respectively.

Blorrod er Rodblor

purple (bluey red) is purple (redish blue)

Mik wil Hodklenafswatblorblorrod

i want the dark bluey purple hat

Babel-Storhus - The Tower of Babel


1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” 5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.


1 In Dittid, Werld hob on Sprek an Liksprek. 2 Als Welman gon tot Riktafsolheb, it san Land in Shinar an lef in Datplat. 3 It sprak, “Kom! Mit mek Hussten an althet It.” It brik Hussten, net Sten, an brik Swatstenwas net Stenwas. 4 Eft It sprak “Kom! mit mek Husland mid Storhus, wat gan tot Hebland, so Mit kan mak Nam tot Mit, od Mit ir en Welplat. 5 Ab God nedgon an san Husland an Storhus, wat Man mok. 6 God sprak, “Om It als on Krop wat sprek Liksprek, kum mak Ditsak, Man kan mak Altsak wat It wil mak. 7 Kom, Mit brot Sprekafit, so It netkon It.” 8 So God mokgan it fran Datpalt tot Altland in Werld, an it holt mak Husland. 10 Fran Datgrund, Ik getnom Babel —fran in Datplat God brit Sprek af Werld. Fran Datplat God mokgan It tot Altland in Werld.


1 In this time, the world had one language and the same language. 2 As many people went to the east, they saw a land in Shinar and lived in that place. 3 They said "Come! We will make bricks and heat them entirely." They used bricks, not stones, and used tar, not mortar. 4 After, they said "Come! We will make a city with a tower that goes the heaven, so we can make a name for us, or we will be in many places. 5 But God came down and saw the city and the tower that man made. 6 God said "If they as one group that speaks the same language, have come to make this thing, man can make everything that they want to make. 7 Come, we will break their language, so they will not understand them." 8 So God moved them from there to every place in the world, and they stopped making the city. 9 For that reason it is named Babel, —because in that place, God broke the language of the world. From that place, God moved them to every place in the world.


Word Meaning
and change, alteration: to change, to alter, to modify
ark magic, spell, sorcery, witchcraft: magical, arcane: to cast magic, to cast a spell, to enchant
ber up, high
bok book, text: to read
bruk to use
brut accident, mistake, breakage: to break, to destroy, to screw up
et food, meal: eat, drink, swallow, ingest, consume
flak furniture, table
gam old, ancient
gan movement, transportation: to leave, to walk, to travel, to move, to displace
geb give, send
gef monster, enemy
gek unusual, strange, foolish, crazy, cool (casually): to drive crazy, to make weird (makgek)
god good, positive, useful, strong, valuable: to improve, to fix, to repair
grund reason, cause
guld money, material wealth, currency, dollar, capital
hab to have, contain
halt stationary: to keep, to stay, to remain, to stop, to cease
hof need, requirement, duty: to need, to require, must, should
hol hole, gap, pit, mine, orphace, burrow
hor to hear, to listen, to pay attention to
hus building, home, house, room
ig container
kan ability: can, is able to, is allowed to, may, is possible, enable, allow, permit
klen small, little, young, cute, a bit, short: to reduce, to shorten, to shrink, to lessen
klet cloth, clothing, fabric, textile
klin blade, sword, knife, bladed weapon: sharp, bladelike: to stab, to slash, to knife, to cut
knul sex, sexuality: to have sex, to fuck
kom beggining, coming, newcomer (nirkomman): to come, to arrive, to begin
kop to get, to recieve
kret circle, ring, sphere
kun knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, understanding: to know, understand, know how to
lag slow: to slow down, to make slower (maklag)
land land, country, territory, area
lap to walk, to run, to go
Word Meaning
larm noise, sound: noisy: to make a noise, to make a sound
lat song, tune: to sing, to whistile, to hum
lik same
mak activity, work, deed, project: to do, to make, to build, to create, to work
mark market, shop, fair, bazaar: to buy (markkop), to sell (markgeb)
min memory: to remember
ned down, low
nir new, fresh, young, recent: to renew, to renovate, to make as good as new
not music: musical, rythmic: to play music, to write music (ritnot), to sing (spreknot)
oft common, often
op open: to open
ord word, sentence (ordsam)
plat place
rask speed: quick, fast, quickly: to speed, to travel quickly, to make faster (makrask)
rit writing: to write, to draw, to paint
sak thing, object, affair
sam collection or group of objects
san chance, possibility, luck
sek safe: to save, to protect, to guard
sen see, look at, watch, look, watch out, pay attention
set to place, to put, to set down
skin appear, seem, look
sklan to battle, challenge, compete against, struggle against, hit, fight
slap to sleep, rest
slet bad, negative, cheap, weak
slud the end, end of an object: to finish, to end, to complete
spel game, toy, leisure: to play
sprek language, talking, speech, communication: to communicate, to say, to speak, to talk
staf letter (of the alphabet), rune, alphabet (stafsam), runestone (stafsten)
stark energy, strength, power: energetic, strong, fierce: strengthen, energise, empower
ster shut, closed: to close
stil quiet, silence: quiet, silent: to quieten, to silence
stok stick, branch, pole, wand, cylinder,
stor big, heavy, large, long, tall, important, powerful: to enlarge, to lengthen
stren string, cord, rope, fibre: to tie, to knot


Word Meaning
stuk piece, fragment, component, part of
tank thought, idea: pensive: to think, to ponder, to contemplate
tek drawing, painting, image, art
tid time, period of time, moment, duration, situation
tog tool, implement, machine, device
uft death: to die, to kill (makuft)
wag to drive, to steer, to take transportation
wand wall
wel many, a lot, more, much, several, very
wil want, wish, hope, crave: to want, to wish, to hope
wis manner