Pandaren (language)

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The Pandaren language script as shown at BlizzCon 2011

Pandaren was the original language of the pandaren race before they were enslaved by the mogu and forced to speak the mogu language.[1][2][3] Now considered a dead tongue, the "old tongue" can no longer be spoken or understood by most common pandaren and is considered a "language of emperors and scholars".[4]


When Lei Shen, first emperor of the mogu, first began conquering the other races in the land later known as Pandaria, he saw great potential in the pandaren, and for this reason he did not trust them. After he conquered the land, the pandaren were forbidden to learn to read or write. Their leaders and philosophers were executed. All pandaren art and literature was burned. Anyone caught speaking anything but the mogu tongue was considered to be a conspirator, a charge often punished with death.[1][3]

All of the work of the earliest pandaren artists and writers has been lost forever. Ages later, other great pandaren scholars would be born, but the language they spoke was not truly their own.[1]

Modern usage

Mists of Pandaria This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

The "old tongue", the "language of emperors and scholars" that common pandaren can no longer speak or understand, is mentioned by Lorewalker Amai at the Wandering Isle. Lorewalker Ruolin sings the Song of Liu Lang, an ancient pandaren song that tells a story about Liu Lang and his adventures on the back of Shen-zin Su. Pandaren children who listened to the song could not understand any of the words.[4] The song is also sung by Lorewalker Cho at the Wanderer's Festival.

There are several unique words and expressions used by pandaren, that may or may not represent pandaren speech:

  • Pandowan: A term for the young Pandaren who are training on the Wandering Isle[5][6] (likely based on the term 'Padawan' from the Star Wars series, meaning an apprentice or student).[7]
  • Pandriarch: Likely based on the term "Patriarch". Used in the names of the ancestors of the Goldendraft, Windfur and Bramblestaff families.
  • Paw-paw: Seems to be the pandaren equivalent of the word "Papa" (father).[8]

Player characters

Player characters speaking Pandaren in-game have their words translated into "om" (< 2-letter words) and "nom" (> 2-letter words) to non-pandaren, producing little more than "om nom nom" joke speech.

Since patch 7.0.3, pandaren can now use their racial language to communicate with pandaren of the opposite faction.[9] Before, only pandaren of the same faction understood the Pandaren language, so there were effectively two Pandaren languages in the game, one for each faction.

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

Untranslated words


Pandaren naming practices are simlar to those of humans: each pandaren has a given name and a surname. The names themselves, of course, are different.

  • Male Names: Chen, Jinto, Kesha, Masha, Mushi, Polo, Sinjo.
  • Female Names: Huan, Jiang, Lian, Mei, Ping, Shui, Zi.
  • Surnames: Earthsong, Greentouch, Honeybrew, Lightgrace, Reedwine, Sweetbarrow, Swiftpaw.

Patch changes

  • Legion Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Pandaren players can now use the Pandaren language for cross-faction communication.


  1. ^ a b c The Pandaren Problem
  2. ^ Unity at a Price
  3. ^ a b Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 82: Fearing that the pandaren's peaceful philosophies would undermine his rule, Lei Shen forbade them from learning how to read or write, or even how to speak any language other than the mogu tongue. To disobey was to be killed in slow, brutal fashion.
  4. ^ a b Lorewalker Amai#History lesson
  5. ^ Pearl of Pandaria, pg. 11
  6. ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter
  7. ^ Wiktionary: Padawan
  8. ^ Quest:Trapped!#Notes
  9. ^
  10. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 76
  11. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 16
  12. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 80
  13. ^ a b Manual of Monsters, pg. 78