The Shou language, also called High Shou or Kao te Shou, was the language spoken by the Shou people inhabiting Shou Lung.[4][3][6] It was of the Shou Chiang languages group,[1][2] and came from the same root tongue as the T'u Lung language.[3]


It was the official language of the empire, by custom and imperial edict. It was spoken by all Shou, from all social classes and professions, including the Emperor, a commonality that helped to unify the nation.[4]


The official dialect was in fact Kao te Shou, or High Shou, as spoken by the Emperor and the scholars and officials of the Mandarinate that governed the Empire, as well as others of high education. High Shou was viewed as the model that all other dialects of Shou and their speakers were expected to strive for.[3]

However, in practice, there were many dialects for each of the provinces,[4] some of which became well known and familiar nevertheless, such as the Chukei Kao of Chukei province. Chukei Kao sounded blunt and harsh to most ears, unlike the softer voices of Wang Kuo province.[3] Regardless, all the dialects were similar enough that easy and clear communication was possible.[4]


The written form and alphabet of the Shou language was called Shou Chiang.[4][3] The Shou language was also written using the Draconic script.[8][9][5][note 1]



  1. This appears to be a contradiction, in that Kara-Tur sources state that the Shou employs the Shou Chiang alphabet, while Forgotten Realms state that it uses the Draconic alphabet. The simplest explanation is that both are used, similar to Chinese being written in both Chinese characters and romanized in Roman letters as, for example, Pinyin. This "draconization" of Shou may aid in communication with Faerûn.


  1. 1.0 1.1 David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 17. ISBN 978-0880388689.
  2. 2.0 2.1 David Cook (1990). The Horde (Cards). (TSR, Inc), p. 9a. ISBN 978-0880388689.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Curtis Smith and Rick Swan (1990). Ronin Challenge. (TSR, Inc), pp. 86, 87. ISBN 0-88038-749-1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 156. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), p. 26.
  7. James Wyatt (January 2004). “Kara-Tur: Ancestor Feats and Martial Arts Styles”. In Chris Thomasson ed. Dragon #315 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 61.
  8. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 85. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  9. Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 108. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.