Zhâburi – A Black Speech of Mordor

One Speech to rule them all

Month: October, 2018

Letters of Tolkien: 153 & 144

I’ve read some of Tolkin’s letters to find out more on what Tolkien thought about the religion of the Shadow. Anyway I found two things of interest for this project. One positive and one a little more problematic. I the text on Orcs I describe orcs as

rational, egoistical beings whose societies vastly differ from anything made by Man. We may recognise traits similar to our own but they are always from the side that we are ashamed of. The Orc is the utility maximising individual who always and only work for themselves.

This was a conclusion I came to by inference of a lot of different material because it was coherent with a lot of other interpretations. The important point is that I don’t remember reading this before and I have both bin a proud of the conclusion and worried that is was wrong. But in Letter 153 (p. 190) Tolkien writes that Orcs

are fundamentally a race of ‘rational incarnate’ creatures, though horrible corrupted, if no more so than many Men to be met today.

In Letter 144 I found something troublesome instead. I my analysis of The Black Speech I’ve made a clear distinction between The Black Speech on the one hand and Orcish on the other were the Orc Curse Uglúk u bagronk sha pushdug Saruman-glob búbhosh skai is categorised as Orcish but not as The Black Speech. In Letter 144 (p. 178) Tolkien writes (my emphasis underlined)

The Black Speech was only used in Mordor; it only occurs in the Ring Inscription, and a sentence uttered by the Orcs of Barad-dûr (Vol. II p. 48)

This is not a fatal problem but I must rewrite some things in my analysis.

Note: in the first version of this text I referred to Letter 151 instead of Letter 153.

The Theology of Sauron


Zigûr Mâghni Mâron –B. Axén

Sauron created a religion of Melkor in Middle Earth during the second age and The Black Speech really ought to have a liturgical function and it should reflect the theology of Sauron. So one of my goals in creating Zhâburi is to find out how Sauron viewed the Creation of Arda and Melkor’s place in it and so on. When I worked on the adaption of words from Valarin I had to make some choices and when writing an explanation for the wordlist some of it things fell into place.

Some of the names of Valar have Valarin forms and these are used for the Zhâburi form. The other names are just adapted from the Elvish names with the exeption of Melkor and Eru. Note that Zhâburi does not distinguish between higher Ainur such as Valar and Maiar nor Aratar – the higher Valar but instead all are included in ‘azhan’. If one wants to use these categories the Quenya words are used in the plural form (Zhâburi does not distinguish between singular and plural): Valar, Aratar;  Maiar (not *Mazhar). This is to mark out that these categories are part of another cosmological and philosophical paradigm.

The word Quenya word ‘vala’ comes from the primitive elvish root BAL (Vala = Balan/Belain in Sindarin). In Quenya there is the word Máhan, a synonym for Aratar, adopted from Valarin ‘mâchanâz’ which becomes mâghan in Zhâburi but designate any high authority (most often of the Shadow) and not the Valar per se. Melkor is called Mâghanashi (the one authority) in Zhâburi B. In Zhâburi (A) Eru is called Ashi (The One) but this is really just a translation from Quenya Eru with all its cosmological baggage. In Zhâburi (B) Eru is reduced by the name Manashi from a subject to an object with no agency; to a proto-substance with the potential of form. Thus the language indicates that Arda was formed by the Ainur (Azhani) led by Melkor (Mâghanashi) the supreme Ainu. 

Here is a sketch of the creation myth according to Sauron

In the beginning there was Azgi (Nothingness, the Void) and then came Ashi (the One, Eru). A movement started within Ashi and Azhani (Ainur) came these Wills separated from Ashi and there were Azhani and Manashi (proto-substance). Azhani was manyfold and of different might and all had different goals and they started to form Manashi according to each own will. The mightiest of them, Mâghanashi (Melkor), rised above all other Azhan to bring order so that they may form Manashi according to one will and order. Many of Azhani flocked to Mâghanashi but more went against him and chief among these was Mânav (Manwë) who was almost equal in might with Mâghanashi.

Here is the word list of Azhani

Zhâburi English Comment
Aghûl Aulë From Valarin A3ûlêz
Arûn Melkor, Morgoth An Adûnaic name for Morgoth, perhaps coined by Sauron when he introduced the worship of the dark god to the Númenóreans, translated as “Lord” (Sauron Defeated: 376)
Arôm Oromë From Valarin Arômêz
Asat Este Phonetical adaption
Azhan Ainu, Ainur From Valarin ayanûz “ainu”
Irim Irmo Phonetical adaption
Mâghanashi Melkor, Morgoth The One Authority
mâghan, mâghn- authority From Valarin ‘mâchanâz’ “authority”. Maghni “the authority in general”; The form ‘Maghani’ is  used for the high authority of the shadow like Sauron or Nazgûl or other.
Manashi Eru The unique proto-form and substance “see ‘man’ under the Words from Valarin and ‘ashi’ individulizer
Mânav Manwë From Valarin Mânawenûz
Mâron Mairon (Sauron) Phonetical adaption
Nâm Mandos/Námo Phonetical adaption
Nas Nessa Phonetical adaption
Nîn Nienna Phonetical adaption
Tuluk Tulkas From Valarin Tulukastâz
Ulub Ulmo From Valarin Ulubôz
Vân Vána Phonetical adaption
Vâr Vaire Phonetical adaption
Varad Varda Phonetical adaption
Zhavan Yavanna Phonetical adaption